Le Chinois is an upscale Cantonese restaurant in the prestigious Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge, headed up by Executive Chef Anthony Kong. Located at the heart of the fashion designed Mecca of Sloane Street, the restaurant appeals to both hotel guests and discerning shoppers alike.
The bar and dining room decor walk a fine line between modern and classic. Just up the whitewashed stairs from the lobby, this open and tranquil space feels a bit like being in an atrium, with its spectacular soaring glass ceiling providing the perfect glimpse of the last rays of the summer sun.
When you peruse the sophisticated new sharing menu, it’s easy to see how Anthony Kong and his team have earned Le Chinois its two AA rosettes. The menu embraces both modern and traditional dishes including delights such as soft shell crab tossed with fluffy egg yolk, Mapo tofu, black cod with a champagne sauce, a deluxe dimsum platter and barbecued char siu pork.
We opened the meal with a delicate steamed scallop displayed proudly on a bed of vermicelli with a Shaoxing broth that was an utter coup. There really is something very special about prising an enormous scallop from its shell. We followed the scallops with intensely savoury squid tossed with peppercorns and adorned with chillies and garlic shards - an ideal starter to whet the appetite.
You know you’re dealing with a refined menu when you see wagyu beef rear its head, and when it arrives sizzling in ginger and spring onion, we knew it was going to melt in our mouths. Paired with the ubiquitous Sichuan dry-fried green beans with minced chicken (the only way I ever want to eat beans again) and steamed jasmine rice, we had all we required for the perfect meal. Upon recommendation we also tried the prawns with Singaporean chilli sauce, which were wonderfully fresh and plump but the sauce needed a tad more oomph.
For a wonderfully refreshing endnote, we tucked into the sago with fresh diced mango, a delicious silky tapioca pudding of sorts that we adored. We also couldn’t resist a portion of good old-fashioned banana fritters.
The Spanish Pez Rio Macabeo Sauvignon Blanc is very reasonable at £25 a bottle and its fresh acidic apple and pineapple notes complimented the seafood but still cut through the richness of our main course. The range of wines and spirits on offer is vast, ensuring it caters for all moods, tastes and occasions.
Le Chinois is no doubt accustomed to some well-heeled clientele, yet it manages to emanate a casual and welcoming ambience with resident guests popping down for a bowl of noodles alongside guests celebrating with more lavish dishes such as lobster and Peking duck.
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Royal China is a popular chain of gourmet Chinese restaurants, with six restaurants in London and three restaurants internationally. Across all branches there is one menu for diners to peruse. Royal China is renowned for its dimsum, which is served until 5pm with an evening dimsum platter offered only in the Fulham branch.
The smallest of the restaurants in the group, The Fulham branch has a distinctly intimate feel.The restaurant’s exterior is dark and inconspicuous with a black and gold-themed décor including a quirky wave and bird mural design and an ornamental arrangement on the bar. Quirky decorations aside, the professional and knowledgeable staff and the crisp white tablecloths help to create the impression of a well-oiled machine.
Throughout our meal a head waitress cast a watchful eye over the dining room and even spotted my napkin as it slipped off my lap without my knowledge. The staff were also quick to help with the menu, something I’ve found very helpful thanks to my new-found indecisiveness when it comes to ordering!
Without hesitation, we ordered the steamed chilli pork dumplings (£6.80) to get our dim sum fix and they were perfect silky mouthfuls of umami.
Next up was the pork chop with salt and chilli (£8.20), which I always use as a benchmark of a good Chinese given its combination of the well-seasoned coating, moist and tender meat and the zingyness from the fresh chillies and spring onions that adorn it. For me, it’s the perfect dish and they do it very well here.
To accompany our meal, we needed a bit of veg for colour, so we opted for the sautéed green beans with minced pork (£10.80), a popular Sichuan dish and one of my favourites, which was gorgeous.
I adore chilli and I really crave spicy food, so our main course was selected to incorporate this. The Sichuan prawn (£13.50) was a touch too sweet and sticky and lacked those qualities we associate with the province (numbing peppercorns, chilli bean paste), but the extra punch of the birds-eye chillies (at our request) was a welcome touch.
The Chiu Chow chicken (£10.80) was beautifully smoky and savoury and the classic Cantonese-style roast duck (£11.20) was rich with glazed skin and doused in the most moreish sweet soy. Steamed rice (£3) with a hit of chilli oil on the side was all that was needed to soak up the delightful juices.
For our chosen libation for the evening, we selected the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (£20.50), a very palatable wine that's smooth yet tart enough to cut through the strong flavours of the food we selected. We found that the wine list and the drinks menu was varied in both region and price to cater for your every whim.
And finally, to end where we began, we ordered Vietnamese pancake rolls filled with pork and prawns (£5.80) as our 'dessert'. If some people adhere to the motto ‘life’s short, eat dessert first,’ then is this really that unacceptable?
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
805 Fulham Road
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