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Min Jiang – Chinese with a view:
Sometimes I am slow off the mark. I arrived at the Royal Garden Hotel just as a scrum of South African Rugby players, still in full kit, descended from their coach. And, gentle reader, I shared the lift with some of them. Not a single selfie, though! I was far too shell-shocked by the presence of such rugged company…
My invitation to reviewJiang came thanks to Michael Ball from Traverse who had apparently been tasked to recommend a few suitable travel bloggers to Min Jiang. Something of a blind date, all I knew was that there were three other bloggers going along. So, when I arrived I was delighted to bump into Krista from Passport Delicious since we know each other well. Cocktail time for sure, while we enjoyed the stunning view from the tenth-floor restaurant.
Our lunch companions arrived and were none other than Daryl and Mindi from 2FoodTrippers. I’d met them online some months earlier – and finally bumped into them at World Travel Market. It was lovely to spend some time with them in the elegant and relaxed setting of Min Jiang.
Decorated in a contemporary Chinese style, the bar area has truly splendid views out across Kensington Gardens and, if I hadn’t been all too aware of the quality of food to come in the restaurant, I’d have happily sat there all day.
We were offered a large selection of Dim Sum and appetisers and somehow managed to eat everything that was put in front of us
I was particularly impressed by the Min Jiang steamed Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings – you can see them in the bottom right-hand corner) with a juicy meat filling. And with the service – I’ve never successfully managed to pick up a soup dumpling – if you break the wrapper, the effect is spoilt because the soup escapes into the bottom of the steamer plate. Our server helpfully picked mine up for me with my chopsticks and popped it onto my spoon. The result, a burst of warm, piquant and rich soup as I bit into the dumpling. Perfect!
The Prawn Cheung Fun was delicious and moist with plenty of prawn filling and a tasty sauce over the rice flour wrapper
But the star dim sum for me was the Deep-Fried Yam Croquette with Seafood – light as a feather, crispy on the outside with a soft, melting seafood filling.
Min Jiang is famous for its wood-fired Beijing Duck, which is prepared using an ancient recipe. Each duck takes 48 hours to prepare – stuffed with apples and dried to ensure a crispy skin before being roasted in the special wood-fired oven.
Along with your first serving of duck, you will be offered paper thin pancakes and shreds of cucumber and leek, together with a trio of garlic paste, pickled carrots and radish and a rich Hoisin sauce.
And, the crispiest skin from the neck of the duck is regarded as a delicacy, served separately with a little dish of dipping sugar.
Once the meat has been carved, the remainder of the meat is taken away to use as the base for a second serving – in our case, Fried Noodles with sliced duck
There was more to come, in the form of a spicy plate of Sauteed Gon Bao Tiger Prawns
A show-stopping sticky and spicy diced rib eye of beef with black pepper sauce
And a pretty dish of asparagus with lotus root and black pepper
We’d been drinking a light, fruity pinot noir throughout the meal but at this point, as we waited for our desserts we were served a particularly delicious glass of muscat.
Thankfully, dessert was light – Egg Custard Tarts and Poached Black Sesame Dumplings, which looked to me like tiny white hedgehogs but are actually made with rice dough filled with a sweet black sesame filling. The custard tarts were also delicious – almost like their Portuguese cousins, with a crisp flaky pastry shell, filled with a delicate, creamy, sweet and fragrant egg mixture.
A delicious feast, with the benefit of some excellent company and astonishing views. Min Jiang combines first class traditional Chinese dishes with immaculate service all in the stunning setting of the tenth floor, Royal Garden Hotel, looking out over Kensington Gardens. There are set menus available from £40 per person, or the a la carte offers a whole duck (two courses for 3-4 people) at £60 along with a menu where appetisers range from £8 to £16.50 and mains are generally from £18 to £26.
I dined as a guest of Min Jiang, but all views are my own.
Looking for a good Chinese restaurant in London? Why not pin this post for later
Royal Garden Hotel,
2-24 Kensington High Street,
Kensington, London W8 4PT