Min Jiang is one of those Chinese restaurants I’d take friends to impress (particularly those from Asia). Because in my opinion, it serves the best duck in town. I’d even go as far as saying theirs is better than the usual London favourites Gold Mine and Four Seasons (the latter having been rather disappointing over the years in terms of food and service).
Located at the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, not only does this restaurant serve great food, it also has immaculate views of the city via Hyde Park.
Watching London from ten storeys up (or higher) during golden hour is a moment I wish everyone could experience. As the city winds down from work hysteria, this magical glow seems to blanket the capital with a certain sense of calm. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
And actually, so are the cocktails at Min Jiang.
(From L-R): Oriental Fizz (£12.50 – vanilla vodka, lychee, champagne) for Katy; Passion Fruit Martini (£10 – Passoa, mandarin vodka, passion fruit, pineapple) for Aftab; Okatini for me (£12.50 Oka sake, vodka, lychee); and a surprise concoction for Jasiminne.
Once we were at the table, we were briefed about Min Jiang’s new Duck & Champagne menu. Their renowned Beijing duck is offered with a bottle of Louis Roederer bubbly in half (£80) or whole (£99) portions.
The Theophile Roederer non-vintage brut was a fairly good aperitif. There’s a floral hint on smell and a lovely full-bodied taste. It’s well-balanced and rather zingy enough to whet one’s appetite.
Two steamed dim sum platters (£15) appeared and they could not have disappeared sooner (er, after photos of course). Selection included har gau, pumpkin and mixed seafood, crab meat dumpling, and pork and prawn siu mai. Each parcel was exceptionally delicious and distinct. A beautiful start.
And then we got to the famous Beijing duck.
Min Jiang usually requires 24 hours notice if you want their duck. To me, it’s a testament of two things I stand for: fresh produce and less waste. The duck usually comes in three servings: skin, then the breast for pancakes, then you have a few options for the rest.
The crispy, fatty, salty duck skin is served with white sugar for dipping. This may sound like all sorts of sins combined, but is absolutely right on the taste.
The theatrics of duck carving is truly fascinating. Here’s our chef du partie slicing the bird.
Et voila! Sliced duck ready for eating served with condiments including pickled daikon, ginger, garlic paste, hoisin sauce, spring onions, cucumber and plum sauce. We wrapped these in steamed pancakes and it was just a melt-in-your-mouth party.
The rest of the duck was served with noodles. I usually ask the leftovers served in minced lettuce wraps, but this was yum too.
Min Jiang still definitely serves the best duck in London. It’s juicy but not fatty, rich in flavour but easy on the belly. Please take someone special here. Because it’s so good and you can’t miss out!
As if that wasn’t enough, we sampled more of Min Jiang’s dishes.
But first, we sample a 2014 Domaine de la Chaponne Morgonne. It’s fragrant and medium-bodied, which complements the rich spiced sauces of Chinese cooking.
It wouldn’t have been a Chinese treat without pork belly. Sliced pork belly with beancurd and steamed buns (£20) came for another DIY treat.
The pork is soft and tender, and the beancurd gave it a much needed texture.
The beef with black pepper sauce (£24) was another winner. My gosh, that rib-eye was so good and the sauce wasn’t overpowering at all. The beef was so moreish we ended up asking for more steamed buns to eat it with.
The Gong Bao prawns (£22) were tasty too, but possibly my least favourite of the night. There’s a visual mindf*ck of heat due to the abundance of dried chillies on the plate but it wasn’t as fiery as I had hoped.
Min Jiang also gave us some gai lan stir fried in garlic sauce (£10). Because 5-a-day. Haha!
For dessert, we had the black sesame dumplings (£8) coated in peanut crumbs. I love me a good black sesame dumpling and Min Jiang’s didn’t disappoint. Sat on a bed of caramel brittle and what I thought was peanut ice cream, this was a dessert I devoured with gusto.
I still think Min Jiang’s best offering is its duck, paired with that fantastic view of the city. Compared to other famous London duck restaurants in town, this place is slightly on the pricier side, but I promise you’re paying for so much more. Service is commendable and food is so much fresher and better. If you like good Chinese food and fab views, this is definitely the place to go to.
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