Five Chinese New Year Fire Rooster options in London:
Chinese New Year is early this year and starts on January 28th 2017. The year of the Fire Rooster, we should be looking forward to a year with a general level of restraint but with a move towards honour and integrity. And, it’s a year when people should be more polite and less stubborn. While the New Year begins on January 28th, celebrations start the night before and will last until February 2nd. It’s traditional during this period for Chinese families to dine with their own extended family – both in homes and in restaurants. And, here in London our Chinese restaurants all take the occasion as a serious excuse for feasting.
The main parade, complete with dragons, music, martial arts nd acrobatics displays starts at 10am on 29th January. The parade weaves its way from Trafalgar Square, up to Chinatown in Soho and is always a lively event. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants in the area, but they will be VERY busy on 29th January. If you haven’t booked by now, you need to be prepared to queue, though that probably won’t matter if you are enjoying the celebrations. For more about what is happening, check out the Visit London site.
Here are my own top tips for where to feast and when to go.
One of my own personal favourites, Yauatcha Soho, not only have their own Dragon, who will be in Soho on the 29th, but also has a wonderful selection of ten petite gateaux each decorated a vibrant shade of red, alongside a red cocktail using the Chinese spirit baijiu and a red dim sum platter, available from 16th January until 11th February.
I went along to the launch of Yauatcha Life, a new annual lifestyle magazine which celebrates the culture, heritage and tradition of Yauatcha through photography, art and features by Fuchsia Dunlop, Gizzi Erskine and Miranda York amongst others.
Hakkasan Hanway Place
If you are looking for a sublime Chinese New Year feast, then this year’s menu from Hakkasan comes highly recommended. We were lucky enough to preview the Year of the Rooster Feast a few days before it launched to the public and I’ve been searching ever since for someone to take me there again!
Hakkasan Hanway Place is a few minutes from Soho, tucked away from the crowds. But, it is bound to be busy this coming weekend, so do call ahead to check availability. The shouldn’t be missed New Years Feast runs until 11 February . Priced at £88 or £108, depending on how hungry you are and with a special cocktail, this is somewhere to enjoy a special, contemporary style Chinese feast.
Min Jiang, Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington
For a more traditional lunch or dinner, why not head to Min Jiang. Last year I really loved the Chinese New Year feast there, on the 10th floor, looking out over Kensington Gardens.
I particularly enjoyed the shared prosperity salad and although I am no authority, I’ve been told that this is the place to visit for authentic Chinese fine dining. This year’s feast is priced at £98, with their famous Beijing Duck available as an extra course.
Ting, Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, London
For one of the finest views in London, Ting, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard has teamed up with the television chef and author Ching He Huang, to create a special Chinese New Year menu to welcome the Year of the Rooster with some healthier and lighter options.
The menu, which will run for the whole of the Chinese New Year period until Friday 3rd February, has been developed by Ching in co-operation with resident Executive Chef Gareth Bowen, and offers a selection of ‘Bamboo Baskets and Bowls’ based on traditional, lesser-known Chinese New Year dishes. The menu is available throughout the day from Tuesday 24th to Friday 3rd February.
I went along to preview some of the dishes and to hear from Ching herself. And, I met my first Dragon for the Year of the Fire Rooster.
The Chinese Cricket Club, Crowne Plaza London – The City
Over in the City, we’ve been trying the Chinese New Year menu at The Chinese Cricket Club too.
Head chef Ken Wang has created a special three-course a la carte menu and there’s also a choice of two special Baijiu cocktails too. Made with the world’s most popular white spirit, Baijiu, known as Chinese firewater, you could try the Baijiu Sling, a mix of Tanqueray gin, cherry herring, Cointreau, Baijiu, Grenadine and pineapple juice; or the Baijiu Spitz, a heady fusion of Baijiu, Kamm & Sons, a dash of elderflower, lemon and Prosecco.
Enjoy the feasting while you can – London has plenty of options – and what better excuse than a New Year’s Celebration
Kung Hei Fat Choy!
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