London: August 2020.
Andrew Wong proposes a sensory tour around the culinary world of China. The menu, Taste of China, is inspired by his travels around provinces. Every dish reveals characteristic flavours of the Chinese classics with a refreshing modern twist. The complexity of every dish is mind-blowing, the play of textures, spices, umami and acid takes you on a rollercoaster of flavour.
As the menu progresses, we travel through the eight Chinese cuisines (Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, Zhejiang). We get to experience the clean flavours of the Cantonese cuisine in the dim sum, the fresh herbs and tangy flavours of the south through the Yunnan beef or the spicy and savory notes of Sichuanese cuisine reflected on dishes like Wong’s Gong Bao chicken. We even got to send a postcard in the middle of our journey (not kidding!).
Taste of China
- Barbecued pork jerky / Char sui / Grated foie gras / smacked watermelon
- Dim sum duo
- Crab claw with cured scallop and wasabi (c. Zhou Dynasty)
- Chengdu street tofu, soy chilli, peanuts, preserved vegetables
- Shanghai steamed dumplings, ginger infused vinegar
- ‘Memories of Peking Duck’
- Anhui province red braised fermented wild seabass
- Barbecued forbidden city sweetcorn, wagyu beef meat paste and truffle
- Braised abalone, shitake mushroom, sea cucumber and abalone butter
- Shaanxi pulled lamb ‘burger’ with Xinjiang pomegranate salad
- Yunnan seared beef with mint, chilli and lemongrass served with a pulled noodle cracker
- ‘Soy chicken’ with ginger oil and Oscietra caviar wrap
- Coconut water ice, bird’s nest, blackberries, dried mulberries, yoghurt and mochi
- Poached meringue with fruit textures
- Petits fours
The surprise factor in the menu is built in an incremental way. We were trying to select a few highlights, but we thought that it would be unfair to the quality of the other dishes. For £108 per person, we find that the value at this level of refinement is very difficult to match.
As a final curiosity, this was our first time trying “bird’s nest”, a traditional Asian ingredient produced by edible-nest swiftlets and it is made of solidified saliva. They are particularly esteemed in Chinese cuisine due to their rarity and high nutritional value. What was our opinion? Well…, we are still trying to decide. Maybe we should go back and try it again.