Welcome back to Ask Eater, a column from Eater London in which the site’s editor and contributors answer specific or particularly troubling questions from readers and friends. Have a question for us? You can ask it here:
Hi Eater London,
I’m looking for a Chinese restaurant which is suitable for 8 to 10 people. To avoid that awkward passing of dishes along and across, it would be great to instead find somewhere that has a Lazy Susan. I just want to snatch food without asking people to pass the plate. You know how it is.
Thanks in advance,
First of all, exciting! No cuisine benefits from the addition of people more than Chinese, a cuisine designed for communality long before Polpo invented the concept of sharing food. And it has all of the benefits of small plates and none of the...small plates. The more people you can get around a Lazy Susan the better to be honest.
So where to hold this feast? Since you didn’t specify what type of Chinese cuisine let’s just assume you’re open to everything and run through the gamut.
Sichuan Grand literally has a synonym for ‘big’ in the name to indicate how palatial the room is, but aside from that it is also the most interesting London Sichuan opening since Kaki. Its Instagram account tentatively boasts that it is “Possibly the best Sichuan hotpot in the UK, if not, one of the best” as if fearing a lawsuit from a rival, but the dry pot dishes and whole grilled sea bass with mixed vegetables are also excellent grazing options that lend themselves to a huge group order.
A lot of contenders for this one: Golden Dragon, Phoenix Palace, Joy King Lau can all accommodate banqueters but Yi-Ban has the advantage of a long dining room with wide, sunlit windows built as if it was overlooking a sea view or a beautiful landscape, except it’s actually overlooking London City Airport. The dim sum here is more than perfunctory, the crispy prawn rolls a particular highlight, but the real thrill is seeing an absolutely rammed dining room at 11am in the middle of nowhere watching planes take off, pretending that this is completely normal behaviour.
Chang’s Noodle has long been the Holborn stalwart around which the whole new Chinatown that stretches from Coptic to Red Lion St has been built around. It is still inexplicably never really that busy, meaning booking large tables at short notice is rarely a problem. The food here is split between adequate Sichuan dishes and heartier central Chinese ones, particularly milky Henan lamb soups, handmade belt noodles and dumplings. Make sure to order at least 10 (ten) rou jia mo “for the table”/yourself.
Talking of Red Lion Street, Mr Wang’s is about to become the latest addition to this small stretch of Bloomsbury which already boasts a Chongqing chain hot pot joint and the only Jiangsu restaurant in London. This is the unlikeliest by far: a Chicago chain serving Louisiana style seafood boils a la that Ugly Delicious episode you probably watched and malatang (and possibly some kind of awesome hybrid between both). Could be life-changing or astonishingly bad but the only way to find out is to bring everyone and share in the pain or joy.
Somewhere on the fourth floor of Wong Kei you’re being parred by a waitress in Cantonese, the food is...sub-optimal, you’re surrounded by tourists who are questioning their life decisions. But, there’s plenty of room and the tea is free and the chilli oil makes everything taste great and the bill is about £10 even with the sake which you had no idea Wong Kei served.
Actually forget the others, just go here.