House of Ming – Stylish Chinese Luxury – Take note if you’re a fan of Chinese food…there’s a new restaurant in town and I really recommend you make the trip up to St James’s to check it out. House of Ming has only been open a few weeks, but it’s certainly worth putting onto your ‘must do’ list. The original, globally acclaimed, House of Ming originated in New Delhi in 1978 and has a branch in Bhopal. House of Ming London is housed within St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, and offers diners dishes inspired by regional Sichuan and Cantonese cooking, unique creations from the chef team and recognisable House of Ming favourites.
We popped up to town the other day to check it out, and boy, am I glad we did: the restaurant is absolutely stunning. It’s one of the most beautifully decorated restaurants I’ve seen for years and is a tribute to interior designer Atelier Wren, who took inspiration from the original branch and elements of traditional Chinese design. Our table was in a romantic booth, reminiscent of a railway carriage. Silk velvet curtains, marble table tops, the most gorgeous lantern – and everything else, was really top-notch.
The menu is very, very extensive. To be honest we were spoilt for choice. We had asked to try the Chinese wine on the menu, but they didn’t have any in stock as yet, so we opted for a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc. Perusing the menu, I was rather startled to see that each dish had a calorie count beside it; not something that one really needs when enjoying a rather special meal. Perhaps they should have that on offer for those who are calorie counting?
I started with Scallop golden garlic (Prawn, scallop, fried garlic, Chiniang caviar) and my husband chose Fresh bamboo roll, seafood and golden mushroom (Seafood and enoki mushroom). Both were excellent.
Next, we had Spicy soft-shell crab (crispy crab golden garlic chilli, spices, mango, scallion) Reader, this was superb! For mains, I chose Roast duck and black truffle oil sauce. This was, to be honest, my least favourite dish as I enjoyed the flavours but found the texture of the sauce rather strange and somewhat slimy. My husband had chosen Black pepper beef (Sliced beef fillet with green and red pepper, onion, black pepper and garlic) and declared it absolutely delicious.
We were urged to try desserts (not that we actually had much room for them) and I chose one of the chef’s signature dishes – the Melting pot. (Chocolate mousse and passion fruit cremeux). This was a spectacular dish, and incredibly rich too. The Matcha and raspberry opera (Matcha sponge, raspberry jam, vanilla buttercream) chosen by my husband was another stunningly beautiful dish that was thoroughly enjoyed.
The menu has been carefully curated with culinary additions specific to London, including Yu Xian fresh black cod, diced chicken Tai chin kai and BBQ lamb with cumin and chilli. In addition, there is an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan options too such as the Stir-fried edamame beans with Sichuan sauce, Crystal pickled vegetables and the Tofu pouch which is filled with mushroom water chestnut, garlic and a chilli sauce.
House of Ming isn’t cheap, but the setting and the quality of service are rather spectacular, to say the least. If you are curious but not wanting to spend a lot, there is a three-course executive set lunch for £35 and a set dinner for £80 plus other set menus that would be great for a special occasion. There are private dining facilities and a curated restaurant playlist by Gok Wan (that you can also listen to on Spotify) For a very special occasion, there’s an imperial dining option of the Chef’s Choice which consists of a ten-course menu, designed exclusively to be enjoyed in the private dining room. There is also a tea sommelier as well as a special tea trolley offering a wide variety of Chinese white tea, green tea, black tea and oolong tea.
Alongside House of Ming, there are four other eateries at the Taj Hotel: Michelin-starred Quilon; the award-winning afternoon tea restaurant Kona; The Hamptons Bar, and TH@51 restaurant, Bar and Courtyard. The hotel brand was established over 100 years ago in India, and today has decadent outposts in India, North America, Africa, the Middle East, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, and here in the UK.