This is what you see first as you walk into China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel on London’s Park Lane. An oasis of dark woods, low-lighting and hidden treasure. The more you look around, the more quirky titbits you notice – the attention to detail is incredible.
China Tang celebrates its’s eighth year of business in September, which is a big achievement in the fickle world of high-end London dining. I’ve been in there before and seen Kate Moss dining with Sir Phillip Green and another time I saw Sarah Ferguson with her daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. But you don’t have to be super posh to visit as Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy are fans and reality star Kim Kardashian has popped in for a bite. And if it’s good enough for Kim, it’s good enough for me…especially the bar, which is the second thing you notice when you walk in. It takes your breath away!
The restaurant and bar have been designed to an antique 1930s style, an era of decadence and intrigue, and the cocktail menu is both of these things with mouth-wateringly delicious oriental inspired ingredients. Check out the cocktail menu here and lust over drinks made with jasmine flower water, chai and kumquat syrup and yuzu shochu.
And talking of lust, there was lots to fall in love with in the way the main dining room is decorated. Again there are tons of hidden luxuries such as bronze statues (and a silver teapot) that you don’t notice until you look around the room in more detail. It’s simply beautiful and I can tell why the celebrities love hanging out here so much.
Another reason it’s popular with celebrities (or anyone that wants to enjoy dinner without being on their best behaviour) is because there are three private rooms! You can have all the luxuries of the restaurant such as the impeccably quick and discreet waiters and the almost-orgasmically tasty food without having to be polite as the doors slide across and shut you off from prying eyes. This is one of the rooms – the Ping! You can even hire all three and host a dinner for up to 60, which Tatler magazine did for Chinese New Year.
At this point you may be filled with envy about this gorgeous place, but it isn’t that much more expensive than your local Chinese if you go at the right time. Seriously? Yes! How would you feel if I told you there was a deal for a set lunch including dim sum, duck and pancakes, noodles and a glass of wine for just £23?
Go on a date and your other half would believe you had spent a fortune and love you forever…but it would set you back less than £50! Check out that set lunch menu here. And as photos show you more than words, check out some of the dishes I sampled on my visit below including a selection of dim sum:
I loved the prawn dumplings and the morning glory vegetables but the thing that had me almost moaning in pleasure was the stir fried beef in black pepper. I cannot remember the last time I ate beef this succulent. It is addictive! Note that is not because of any chemicals they’ve added – on each page of the menu they proudly state that there is NO MSG. It’s all natural spices and flavours.
Talking of flavours, the chilli sauce (right) packs a real punch! It is made with dried scallops to an in-house recipe and you could tell it was home-made. I wish I knew this recipe as I would serve it with everything and I can tell you if China Tang ever bottled it up and sold it then I’d be first in line to buy it!
I also advise being adventurous with dim sum. The chef brought out some vegetarian canneloni (top left), which is broccoli with almonds wrapped up and steamed. I might not have ordered off the menu but I really enjoyed when it was in my mouth. Again, the sauce it comes with is mind-bogglingly brilliant. If I hadn’t been with company, I may have dipped a spoon in the sauce and eaten it like soup…
To take advantage of the set lunch for £23 visit the Dorchester Hotel website for booking details or phone 020 7629 9988Read more »