Since P.F. Chang’s opened just off Leicester Square around 18 months ago it’s been packed every time I’ve walked past and with good reason. Having frequented the Asian restaurant on several occasion I’ve never been disappointed with a meal. It’s buzzing without seeming too overrun and the vast menu has something for every palate.
The bold new 2019 menu brings fresh dishes to the table, a range of Japanese, Chinese and Korean dishes inspired by Philip Chiang’s craveable favourites and ‘farm-to-wok’ philosophy, all made with locally-sourced ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.
We visited on a February Wednesday evening and even at 6pm it was getting busy. The bar area at the front of the restaurant, surrounded by high tables, was full of those indulging in a post-work cocktail, while the bigger tables towards the back attracted a mixed clientele of date nights, shoppers in need of refreshment and smattering of families. Our table, tucked towards the back, could have done with a little more space given its proximity to its neighbours, but with a fantastic view of the open kitchen we had the perfect panorama of the P.F. Chang’s experience.
Those who don’t quite yet have the summer body nailed will be pleased to hear the new menu contains some lighter dishes, such as the peanut lime chicken salad, but if you’re there to indulge there’s plenty to choose from.
Start with the infamous Original Dynamite Shrimp - crispy tempura battered shrimp, with spicy Sriracha aioli sprinkled in spring onions - not one of the new additions, but not one to miss. I adored the sticky, tangy honey chicken, battered (again) and served on a bed of moreish crispy rice sticks; like your favourite Chinese takeaway but so much better. Wok-seared tempura cauliflower with a sweet and spicy Korean Gochujang sauce was a delicious side while the sesame chicken was another favourite, a colourful combination of sliced chicken breast, broccoli, red bell peppers, onions, and a three-sauce mixture, perfectly accompanied a pretty great fried rice. In fact there wasn’t a dish among them we didn’t devour.
P.F. Chang’s doesn’t scrimp on portion sizes, and if anything there’s a *slight* possibility we may have over-ordered thanks to our piggy eyes being bigger than our bellies; luckily there’s such thing as a doggy bag for such situations.
The only disappointment on the evening of our visit was the service was painfully slow. Despite being busy we still expected it would be slightly easier to catch our waiter’s attention than it was, and the fact that one of our starters - the one we were most looking forward to - arrived as we were part way through our mains was a bit of a bum steer. Nevertheless, we couldn’t fault the taste and only wish we’d left space for dessert from their Pastry Lab.
It’s also worth noting that not only is their sushi sublime, but there are also a number of limited edition menus launched throughout the year, with special highlights including Chinese New Year and Valentine’s menus. Last year they even had a delightful floral themed transformation to celebrate the start of Japanese Cherry Blossom season, so keep your eyes peeled for news of their next special event.
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There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.