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Two New Restaurants Reflect Change in Chinatown

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JinLi and Modern Shanghai will open in the new Central Cross development this winter

Preparations Are Made For Chinese New Year Of The Dog
Chinatown London
Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

London’s Chinatown is changing.

Shaftesbury PLC, the landlord which owns the vast majority of the Chinatown estate in central London, has announced the first two restaurants which will open in Central Cross, a 48,000 square foot “mixed-use development” at its eastern entrance.

As first reported by MCA, Sichuan restaurant, JinLi and casual noodle and dumpling brand, Modern Shanghai, will open new restaurants at the location this winter. Both have existing restaurant businesses in Chinatown, but will each create new, more contemporary concepts, seemingly aimed at a younger audience, which includes students. Eater understands that as well as introducing more new social media-friendly brands — see the recent launch of Filipino ice cream parlour, Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream at Central Cross — Shaftesbury is working to bring more restaurants reflective of current trends in China.

How JinLi will look
Chinatown London [Official Photo]

The the first in that vein is JinLi Chinatown, right, which will accommodate 150 covers, offering a menu of “modern” Sichuan dishes and classics, prepared with a “twist.” Sliced pork and sizzling rice Crust; Yuxiang shredded pork; and JinLi fragrant rabbit. Dishes will be listed on a digital, not paper, menu.

Secondly, Modern Shanghai, a 4,000 square foot property, will have a “simple modern design to reflect the feel of Shanghai,” featuring wood panelling, grey marble tables, and gold trim finishings throughout. Chefs preparing fresh dumplings and noodles, will work from behind an open display kitchen at the front of the restaurant. The menu will include the brand’s signature xiao long bao (giving big name new opening and xlb specialist Din Tai Fung something to think about) as well as roast duck noodles, wun tun noodles, and a selection of what it calls “grilled Chinese tapas.”

Head of group restaurant strategy at Shaftesbury, Julia Wilkinson, said: “We are thrilled to announce two key restaurant signings, an exciting milestone in the evolution of Chinatown London. JinLi Chinatown and Modern Shanghai are both creative new concepts from existing Chinatown operators that perfectly reflect our strategy to introduce new flavours to Chinatown London, offering the very best Chinese and East Asian cuisine in the capital.”

Yi Fei, JinLi’s owner, said that there was no better place for the brand to expand and innovate. “2018 has been a significant year for our brand’s expansion...This location will offer innovative and exclusive new dishes, with the aim of playing a big role in redefining London’s Sichuanese culinary landscape...We look forward to delivering a refined and modernised Sichuanese dining experience, without losing the essence that has been enjoyed by generations after generations.”