Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Restaurants - HK Diner - Chinatown

HK Diner
22 Wardour Street, W1D 6QQ
http://www.hkd.pureelements.co.uk

An amazing, authentic Cantonese restaurant, this is one of my favourite and most frequented restaurants in London's Chinatown. The decor, ambiance and service is characteristically busy and no-nonsense, but the seating arrangement is mostly in booths which adds a small element of privacy to the restaurant. The food here is great - large, hearty portions - perfect for this time of year.

There are two menus, one in English serving up the usual mixture of stir-fries, sweet and sour pork, set menus etc.; and another one in Chinese on one side and English on the other - and this is where all the Cantonese gems can be found.

Chinese menu

English menu - with mostly the same dishes


I must say, I am always drawn to the same dishes containing braised meat with rice or noodles. I try to venture away from it, but it is just so good it always draws me back in. My favourite is the stewed beef rice  - tender meat and perfectly gelatinous tendons in a deep, rich sauce over a bed of rice. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! Apologies though, I'm sorry to say that this is where I will have to stop. Unfortunately this happened to be one of my more adventurous days (to a degree) - but I will be back soon and will review the dish when I have the photos!

As I said, an adventurous day, but only really in terms of changing the meat - I went with a traditional claypot dish - 'Stewed Pork Belly with Preserved Cabbage' (£9.00). The fatty pork was succulent and melted in the mouth, and although preserved vegetables can be a bit overpowering, here they added a great depth of flavour to the rich sauce. A fantastic dish. I will definitely be torn between this and the beef ho fun next time I'm here.



Stewed Pork Belly with Preserved Cabbage

Next up was a noodle soup. The soup broth at HK Diner is very good indeed, and it forms a solid base for a large variety of soup dishes. Here J. had chosen wantons and roast duck (£7.50), and although not strictly on the English menu it's just a case of asking for some small change. Anyway, it's hard to fault a good soup. The wantons were tasty and well steamed. The duck was good too, although not the best you will find in Chinatown - but the meat was good and the skin crispy.

Roast duck, wanton and noodle soup


Overall a really great meal, hits the spot when what you are after is something hearty and nourishing. The mains are reasonably priced (£7-10) and there is also a range of Asian drinks and desserts including bubble tea. Our lunch for two came in at around £20. Definitely a recommendable place to eat. Don't be put off by the few reviews that seem to be hung up on the lack service quality. The focus of a good, cheap Chinese restaurant is on the one important thing - the food.



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