The best restaurants to celebrate Chinese New Year in London and the UK
Where to go to sample the most authentic flavours of China and celebrate the Year of the Rat
To celebrate two festivals at once – Chinese New Year and Burns Night – London’s most elegant oriental restaurant Park Chinois is serving a special dumplings and whisky menu for one night only on 29 January.
The meal will open with a whisky cocktail on arrival before guests settle in for a four-course Chinese feast, paired with whiskies from the private collection of renowned whisky brand Dalmore, including the Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III and the Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve.
Led by Chef Liang Koon Cheun and hosted by Dalmore’s Global Whisky Ambassador, the menu includes dishes considered celebratory at this time of year, such as the Eight Treasure Soup and Roasted Suckling Pig.
The dinner is limited to nine guests and costs £200 per guest, however, the restaurant will be doing other New Year celebrations, including lion dances, Chinese drumming and a menu of celebratory classics.
Park Chinois, 17 Berkeley St, Mayfair, W1J 8EA, parkchinois.com
This Chinese New Year, Hakkasan will once again celebrate with a limited-edition menu. Dishes this year include golden treasure pockets with abalone and wild mushrooms, decorated with gold leaf and presented as money bags to reflect wealth, and a wok-fried Scottish scallop with taro mousseline and brown butter black bean sauce - the scallops apparently symbolise new opportunities.
The meal finishes with a salted caramel ganache with mandarin, chili and cocoa, all of which which arrives in the shape of a lucky Chinese knot to signify good fortune for the year ahead.
The Chinese New Year menu will be available from 22 January – 2 February 2020. Dishes can also be ordered a la carte.
Hakkasan, 17 Bruton St, Mayfair, London W1J 6QB; hakkasan.com
China Tang, Park Lane
For an absolutely classic English Chinese restaurant experience, there is are few places better than China Tang, located in the lower level of the magnificent Dorchester hotel. Stroll through the opulent foyer, down the gilded art deco stairway and into the restaurant’s atmospheric dining room, bedecked as it is with gold fittings and assorted 1930s/1940s-style Chinoiserie. The menu may still feature some slightly creaky dishes like prawn toast and deep-fried spring rolls, but the Peking duck, carved expertly at your table, is as delicious as it has ever been.
This year, Head Chef Chong Choi Fong has designed an eight-course banquet menu, featuring a range of opulent Chinese New Year specials including dragon whisker langoustine, steamed grouper wrapped in lotus leaf and and e-fu noodles with truffle and wild mushroooms.
China Tang at The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA; chinatanglondon.co.uk
As to be expected from a restaurant holding a Michelin star, the dining experience at Yauatcha is second-to-none, offering top-of-the-range, contemporary Chinese dining including expertly-crafted dim-sum and handmade sweets.
Yauatcha turns 15 this year, but “it still manages to feel fresh and contemporary, with its bright ground floor and moody basement, featuring low banquettes, an aquarium bar and a star-lit ceiling”, says the Michelin guide.
In celebration of Chinese New Year, the restaurant's pastry team has created ten petits gateaux each decorated a vibrant shade of red, alongside a red cocktail using the Chinese spirit baijiu and a red dim sum platter, available from 16 January until 11 February.
15-17 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 0DL; yauatcha.co.uk
Imperial Treasure, Trafalgar Square
It really is possible to dine like an emperor this Chinese New Year at one of London’s newest fine-dining Chinese restaurants. Diners can celebrate with an exclusive Cantonese-style menu, featuring unique delicacies and mouthwatering dim sum, alongside a unique Asian-inspired cocktail.
Sample flavours from the East and feast on dishes such as; steamed whole turbot with soya crumble; golden fresh oyster with salted egg yolk; and Chinese New Year cake topped with a delicate gold leaf, traditionally served to bring luck and success in the coming year.
While those interested in more traditional Cantonese dishes should look out for the chilled sliced Australian abalone and braised whole Hokkaido sea cucumber with superior oyster sauce.
Imperial Treasure, 9 – 10 Waterloo Place, St James’s, London SW1Y 4BE; imperialtreasure.com
A Wong, Pimlico
This Pimlico restaurant has a bright dining room with a view over the big open kitchen, and a more atmospheric area just to the left.
The eponymous Wong brings together cuisine from all over China, and his menu is divided into snacks, dim sum (only available at lunch), wok, dishes (only available at dinner) and dessert.
While all of the menu is sumptuous, the dim sum offering is especially so, featuring what food critic Jay Rayner described as “the best dessert in London”. Wong’s Duck-egg Bun “contains a liquid centre of aromatic duck-egg custard: the silkiest custard, the most aromatic custard, simply the best sweet custard it will ever be your luck to try”, he writes.
A Wong, 70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE; awong.co.uk
Silk Road, Camberwell
Something of a South London institution this Camberwell hotspot serves up the epitome of unpretentious Sichuan cooking.
Newcomers are pointed to Silk Road’s traditional set menu which features among its number local favourite Chicken Plate. Perfect for any harsh winter the plate “is actually a bowl brimming with sweetish broth and intensely flavourful (if knobbly) poultry cuts, topped with fantastic huge, fatty noodles”, says The Telegraph’s Harry de Quetteville. “It would feed a troop of Genghis’s light horse for about a month; the large plate, I can only imagine, would fuel an entire division”, he adds.
Silk Road, 49 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR
A Mayfair institution, Kai has been wowing customers for over 20 years, offering a contemporary take on some traditional Chinese classics.
Along with Hakkasan, HKK and Yauatcha, it is one of only a handful of Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants in London and boasts a number of high-profile awards including Highest Ranked Chinese Restaurant by The Sunday Times (Britain's Top 100 Restaurants) 2012 and 2015.
From miso soup paired with goji berries and boosted by a spicy kick to shredded lamb shank served with a yellow lentil purée and a splendid pan-fried sea bass with oyster sauce the kit, "the kitchen showed an inventive streak from the off” says Time Out.
It may be pricey, but when even side dishes are lavished with an impressive level of attention – a deeply savoury scattering of garlic and salted radish on a plate of crunchy broccolini, or fried rice anointed with ginger and sesame oil – “this is not the place to sleepwalk into ordering your usual favourites”, says the Daily Telegraph.
Kai Mayfair, 65 South Audley Street, London, W1K 2QU; kaimayfair.co.uk
This restaurant in central Oxford is a true family affair. It takes its name from a portmanteau of those of the owner's granddaughters – Sofia and Jodie – and promises to 'serve up food a Chinese grandmother would put on the table'. The rustic and comforting cuisine, which comes with similarly authentic levels of spice, mainly derives from the culinary traditions of three regions; rich, sauce-heavy dishes from Shanghai, hot and vibrant flavours from Sichuan and the more ubiquitous Cantonese cooking.
6-9 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, OX1 2EW; sojooxford.co.uk
This seaside city may not be the first that springs to mind when it comes to Chinese cuisine, but over the past three decades this family-run business has quietly served up some of the best from its location in the heart of The Lanes. Indulge in the tradition of yum cha and while away an afternoon with endless cups of jasmine tea and tasty dim sum dishes, from traditional char siu buns to warming bowls of beef or fish soup served with tangy mooli.
9 Prince Albert Street, Brighton, BN1 1HF; gars.co.uk
Featuring modern interiors that take their inspiration from the history of body art, a similarly modern approach is seen on the menu at Tattu, with its contemporary take on Asian cuisine. Unusually, it also has plenty to offer non-meat eaters, including a dedicated set menu with tempting plates of aubergine and pumpkin dim sum and mains of shitake mushroom noodles and vegetarian chicken with black beans, asparagus and beansprouts.
3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB; tattu.co.uk
Happy Gathering, Cardiff
Once described by The Times as “the best Chinese restaurant in Cardiff”, Happy Gathering regularly ranks among the top spots for traditional Cantonese food in Wales.
“Still trucking on after all these years and still the best in South Wales”; this stalwart Cantonese, amusingly located in its namesake Canton, is just “so consistent” says Hardens.
Offering a little taste of Hong Kong, the restaurant offers plenty of authentic dishes and dim sum, with the sliced steak Cantonese style a particular favourite.
Happy Gathering, 233 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff; happygatheringcardiff.co.uk
Yuet Ben, Liverpool
Liverpool's Chinatown was the first to be established in Europe and remains home to some of the finest Chinese restaurants to this day. Among the most longstanding is Yuet Ben, which was founded in 1968 by Yuh Ho, who honed his skills in Dalian before settling in the UK. Now run by his daughter Theresa, it still offers crowd-pleasing, tried-and-tested dishes from northern China, with its set menus providing some of the best-value fare to be found in the city.
1 Upper Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 9DU; yuetben.co.uk