Just Opened London‘s top 5 openings of the week landed in my inbox just as I was sending some restaurant ideas over to friends for dinner last week. Coincidence or perfect timing maybe as it meant I didn’t have to do as much research, either way we lucked out with a delicious dinner in an urban and cool new restaurant. Cha Chaan Teng is a Hong Kong inspired diner a short walk away from Holborn station which opened its doors just two weeks ago. To celebrate their launch they are offering £5 cocktails which I can vouch for as being divine and £3 beer.
Often when you go to a new opening you have to forgive a few teething problems; renovation not being fully completed, poor service and/or menu disasters. But our experience at this week old restaurant suffered none of the above and in fact laid on a delicious feast with top service. Slightly on the quiet side when we were first seated at a table near the open kitchen the restaurant quickly began to fill as the evening went on. I have this habit of studying the menu to wherever I’m going well in advance, to say I like to know what I’ll be ordering is an understatement but due to the newness of Cha Chaan Teng I was defeated trying to find the menu anywhere online! A complete surprise when I finally got one in my hands but luckily a pleasant one.
The menu is composed of a selection of Appetisers, Macaroni broth soups, Mains, Sides and Bao buns. Bao buns are a favourite of mine after first being introduced a couple of years ago in Flesh and Buns and I can most definitely say the Spicy Beef Short Rib Bao was the best I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong I love all of the individual elements at Flesh and Buns but the fact it was delivered to my table no more than ten minutes after we’d ordered and fully assembled ready to be eaten was a plus in my book.
As a table we decided to order a selection of dishes to share with the BBQ Hoisin & Coca Cola Ribs first on the list. The stack of ribs were covered in a rich, sticky, sweet sauce that complimented the tender slow cooked meat that fell off the bone. Messy but finger licking good – despite being provided with a bowl of water!
The Crispy Duck Leg was beautifully presented, served with French toast and drizzled with orange maple syrup. Now you will have most definitely read in one of my previous blogs how much I love duck but never feel that the portion is very big or that you get good value for money. This dish goes completely against all of that as the three of us sharing had a decent amount of tender and soft crispy duck meat from the leg as well as a wedge of French toast that was soaked with duck juices. A pretty rich dish don’t get me wrong but extremely good and the orange maple syrup balanced the more dense elements perfectly.
We also ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork Shoulder which had been deep fried and was served with peppers, onion, pineapple and crunchy five spice crackling. Posh Chinese that not only delivered on flavour but quality ingredients too. I would highly recommend a side of the Salted Duck Egg XO fried rice which has a slight sticky texture and uber rich flavour.
We were pretty full after our meal but Santino, our great Glaswegian waiter who helped us choose most of the dishes we ordered and enjoyed throughout the evening, sold in the Hedgehog Cinnamon Doughnut Bun. The Hedgehog Doughnut has an egg yolk in the centre of the bun which has been frozen and then dipped in custard and sugar. The egg yolk is then put in the centre of the dough and deep fried so that it warms through and goes creamy oozing out of the bun. Simply served with a side of condensed milk dipping sauce this topped off an already great meal!
If you’re in the area pop by and try out some refreshing cocktails in their plush and modern bar area or even a few Bao buns at the Bao bar. I’m sure you’ll end up staying all evening and enjoying a feast of deliciously rich food in this Chinese Cafe, a first of it’s style in London.
Cha Chaan Teng, 36-38 Kingsway, Holborn, London, WC2B 6EY
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Photo credit @ldn_lau