Restaurants & Bars 7

Tao Tao Ju, Chinatown, London

limster | Jan 17, 201204:05 PM

A newish place on Lisle street, with a Chinese-Malaysian chef.

Excellent eel with XO sauce -- the texture of the eel is very well controlled, tender but with a pleasant shading of medium dense gelatinous chewiness (I've had a superior example year ago, but that was a chef who had helmed the Beijing Grand Hotel, so perhaps not a fair comparison). The eel pieces are lightly covered in crumbly batter, deep fried, but without a greasy sensation. Then a gloss of spiciness, along with the smoky savoury flavour of XO sauce, perhaps even bits of the the dried scallop flavour among bites; this is refreshingly contrasted with chopped green onions, the richness and the spice cut by the mild sharpness of the green onion. Deft work in the wok.

Also good were stir-fried jie4 lan2/gailan/Chinese broccoli.

Banana deep fried in kataifi shells were pleasant and the textural snaps from the ultracrispy shredded filo shell somewhat novel, compared to more generic batters. Somewhat undersweetened in parts where the powdered sugar did not reach.

Well made competent wan tan ho, but not as hearty as the version at C&R, where the egg is just barely and perfectly cooked by the hot gravy.

The assam stingray looked intriguing, would probably be back to try that.

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