Min Jiang in Kensington
In a cultural melting pot such as London, one can find every type of cuisine without even batting an eyelid. The real challenge presents itself when you want something authentic. Cue Min Jiang in The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, the self-proclaimed “most authentic Chinese restaurant in London”. The restaurant resides on the tenth floor, overlooking Hyde Park and boasting an impressive panoramic view of London. The dining room itself is understated, the tables decked with white table clothes, and blue China vases and mirrors quietly remind you that you are in a Chinese restaurant.
The menu is simple, with a few unfamiliar Chinese terms that our waiter was happy to decipher. We started with the Legendary Wood-fired Beijing Duck, which was outstanding. The skin was perfectly rendered and crisp yet the meat was wonderfully moist and juicy. Served with the traditional pancakes, plum sauce and julienned vegetables, it was an ideal start to our meal. Along with that, we had the Bi Feng Tang Soft Shell Crab with Garlic and Chilli, which was another classic done beautifully. The crabmeat was sweet and worked well with the heat and wasn’t overpowered by the crunchy exterior.
The mains were not to be outdone. I ordered the Diced Rib-eye of Beef with Black Pepper Sauce with a side of Egg-fried Rice with Edamame. The meat was tender and well cooked, and the wonderfully thick sauce was balanced with a spicy sweetness. The egg-fried rice was an ideal accompaniment, while the edamame beans added a pop of freshness. My partner ordered the Braised Pork Belly in a Rich Sauce with Chinese Buns, which looked interesting on arrival. However, the dish was a slight let down: despite the meat being soft it lacked in flavour and was a very unusual red colour. There was the side of Fried Noodles with Sliced Duck (the remainder of our duck from the starter), which was a tasty dish with succulent duck meat and crunchy bean sprouts.
On the verge of being full to burst, we shared the Min Jiang Sichuan Pancake with Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. Filled with red bean paste and pan fried, they had a lovely crisp exterior and soft core. The red bean paste is tasty and wonderfully unusual as it is almost savoury. The vanilla ice cream was glorious with the dish, as it added that necessary sweetness.
All in all, Min Jiang is a great place for an occasion. The view, along with the food and the atmosphere make it the ideal place to take a Chinese food aficionado. The staff are attentive, warm and knowledgeable. Min Jiang claims to be London’s most authentic Chinese restaurant and to be honest I would say they could well be!
Min Jiang: 49/60
To book a table at Min Jiang, 2-24 Kensington High Street W8 4PT, call 020 7361 1988 or visit here.