• Haozhan, Chinatown
Very pleasantly surprised. Excellent deep frying of the soft shell crab. Crisp, slightly juicy on the inside, with no oily residual flavour. Decorated with fried basil leaves (perhaps drawing from Fujian Hakka) and fried batter crumbs.
The Taiwanese 3 cup chicken is a simple homey dish, but showcases serious high octane wokking -- piece of meat are succulent, perfectly cooked and seasoned.
The Haozhan tofu is an elegant, modern Chinese dish -- a scallop topped with tobiko on a square of nori, beneath that cube of fried bean curd, a lovely interplay of oceany flavours and a nice textural contrast of firm scallop, crackling nori and soft bean curd.
Good honest pumpkin flavour in the pumpkin cream dessert.
I didn't realize that they had a nice tea selection until later, so I don't know if they handle the teas properly with the right types of cups and water temperatures, but will certainly have another whirl there when I get the chance.
• Little Lamb Hotpot, Chinatown
A solid if pricey experience. The Sichuan style ma-la hotpot has a reasonably complex stock, but virtually no tingle from sichuan peppercorns. This looks like la branch of one of the many Beijing hotpot places, so it may not come as much of the a surprise (Beijing's cooking is very different from Sichuan). They do have the right condiments, such as sweet pickled garlic and sesame sauce. Probably more economical to go there with a group. The chewy mongolian noodles are not a bad starch to get.
• Wonderful Pastisserie, Chinatown
Their name, not my description. Excellent custard in the dan4 ta3/egg custard tarts. Rich yolky flavour, if a tiny shade dried out from sitting in the heated case. The crust could be more flaky, but that's a quibble. The green tea bun is nothing special, mostly sweet with not much other flavour.
• Inn Noodle, Tottenham Court Road
Pretty good handpulled noodles. There's still a little bit of chew in the tagliatelle like noodles that they serve with the Ja2 Jiang4 Mian4 (apologies, don't remember the translation, I think its called beijing noodles but not 100% sure, hope the description will help). This is a NE Chinese noodle dish with a meat sauce flavoured with bean paste. The sauce was basic in this instance but wasn't bad. Comes with a bowl of clear soup that's more Cantonese. Would be back to try more including the Lanzhou style hand pulled noodles which are more spaghetti like. Nice whiff of jasmine in the tea.
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