Min Jiang Restaurant is like no other Chinese I’ve ever tasted.
I’ll admit, I’ve only ever had Chinese as a takeaway, and I haven’t been to China, so my knowledge of the cuisine is obviously limited and nothing near specialist. I did find out though, that there’s a lot more to ‘Chinese’ than sweet and sour pork balls with a few greasy prawn crackers on the side.
I couldn’t remember the last time I actually even had Chinese, so when the opportunity came to review the super plush Min Jiang Chinese Restaurant, in one of the fanciest area of London, Kensington, off I went.
First impressions of Min Jiang Restaurant
Located on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, I nearly walked past it. Up I went in the lift, stood next to some super posh couple with my pink hair and ripped denim jacket. Bet they had a nice ‘what’s-she-doing-here conversation after. Min Jiang is fa-ancy.
The views from the bar and restaurant on arrival were awesome. You could see across the length of Hyde Park, where I’d just walked past the picnickers and after work sunshine drinkers from Marble Arch, right up to the Shard.
Cocktails came as a welcome, naturally. I went for the Canton Ginger – vodka, amaretto, fresh lime, fresh ginger, apple juice, topped with ginger ale – but tasted three others from my fellow bloggers Pommie Travels, SheGetsAround and Wanderluce. I could’ve sat there drinking cocktails all night and been happy enough, but onward with the food.
My Min Jiang crew
Min Jiang create a range of popular Sichuan and Cantonese dishes in their set menus, which is what we were there to try.
Just to say, before we begin with the menu, we had a few nibbles with our cocktails and whatever they’d done to those mushrooms above, they were yum.
Each course was paired with a wine, which yes, I was ecstatic about. I love when food takes you on a journey, when the wait staff know exactly what goes with what and these guys had whole stories behind their wine selections to enhance the flavours.
We also had carefully selected tea between each course, to cleanse the palate.
Dim sum and Champagne on a Wednesday night, who’da thought?
The carefully crafted dim sum balls were paired with Louis Roederer Champagne. Perfect for sipping after the hot balls burst in your mouth. Served in the traditional wooden round box I couldn’t get enough of them, except I had to calm myself, because one must be polite in these situations.
Duck is Min Jiang’s speciality. Each one takes 48 hours to prepare and is prepared by certified Duck Masters (yep, didn’t know that was a thing either) and carved at the table.
It’s then served with pancakes and finely shredded cucumber and leek. I’ve since read that you should ask your waiter to prepare your pancake for you as there is quite the technique to it. We opted for the DIY approach and ended up with sauce all over the table – so much so they offered to put napkins down before the next course so we weren’t dining in our own mess.
The four of us scoffed the ‘wood fired Beijing duck’ in no time. Our friendly waiter had recommended we dip the duck skin in the sugar provided, which at first recommendation seemed strange but at first taste, made a lot of sense.
The main course featured:
– Sauteed Gong Bao Tiger Prawns
– Diced Rib Eye of Beef with Black Pepper Sauce
– Sliced Pork Belly with Bean curd and Steamed Buns
– Steamed Tenderstem Broccoli
Yeah, I was stuffed.
To top the feast off we had Min Jiang Sichuan Pancake with Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream.
And then I pretty much had to roll myself to the tube to get home, not before finishing my dessert wine, of course.
On the Wednesday I went the restaurant was buzzing – packed with people enjoying the fare and the view. Min Jiang is pretty much next to Kensington Palace so you never know who you might find enjoying a midweek Chinese with the (Royal) family…
In London you can travel the world via your taste buds, with no need for a passport or expensive flights. I’ve never been that into Chinese food, mainly because, as I now realise, I’ve only ever had it from the takeaway.
Min Jiang-style Chinese food, is as the Chinese food connoisseur would want you to try it, not the sweet and sour pork balls from the local Chinese as I know it. If you have some cash to splash and would like to enjoy a more authentic Chinese in lovely surroundings with beautiful views, go for it!
– I was invited to try the Min Jiang Restaurant in return for a review.
Min Jiang’s set menus are available from £60 per person, which include most of the above. Minimum of 4 people required for the set menu. Cocktails start at around £9 each, which, London prices in Kensington isn’t actually too bad!