If you like Chinese with a stunning view, go to Min Jiang.
If you like being seen at a bright, airy, classy Chinese restaurant, go to Min Jiang.
If you like extra refinement in Chinese food, go to Min Jiang.
If you like Beijing’s wooden oven roasted duck, go to Min Jiang.
If you like juicy Xiao Long Bao, go to Min Jiang.
And if you don’t mind paying a little extra for diminutive, yet expertly prepared dim sum, go to Min Jiang.
Duck, dim sum, et al.
Min Jiang, a fine-dining Chinese on the 10th floor of Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, is home to arguably London’s best Peking duck roasted in the traditional wood fire oven for deliciously crackling skin. The duck is transported and carved at your table. You can either opt for half or whole, the order which needs to be placed when you call up for reservation. You can also ask for the remaining meat in the duck carcass to be turned into a second or third dish.
At table, my duck came with an unlimited (within an appropriate demand) serving of pancakes, plum sauce, spring onions and cucumbers. I also liked the extra touches of Min Jiang’s alternative pancake filling of pungent preserved vegetable and lightly pickled mooli. Like in Beijing, I was also served the crispy duck skin to dip in granulated sugar. The duck was not entirely faultless, and in my opinion, it could have been leaner. That said, it was as good as it gets in London. The slivers were precisely cut and the strips of meat were fragrant and juicy.
Dim sum at Min Jiang divided opinions, not because they were bad, but because they were unusually small for the price. Pork & Crab Xiao Long Bao was delicately made. Each boast a paper thin casing and held a good dose of vibrant stock. A must-order. Har Gau was, on the one hand, expertly cooked and comfortingly lovely, but on the other, traditionally uninspiring and tiny. Pan Fried Pork & Chive Buns were another of my Beijing-ian favourites that Min Jiang did well. The bun made a little squeaky noise at first bite; the filling were steep and well seasoned; the downside (again) was the lady-who-nibble size. (As you may know, I am not a lady and I can easily put two of them in my mouth in one go). Chicken & Taro Croquettes were correctly prepared, too. The taste was intense – sweetness from taro and savoury-ness from chicken – and the texture was ethereal. They shattered in my mouth very gently, making a charming rustling noise.
Bigger dishes followed. Sauteed Scallops with Gai Lan & Mushrooms was a stunner. Exuberant scallops were cooked to perfect tenderness and contrasted well with crunchy green stalks. Shellfish sweetness also went nicely with mushroom-y earthy-ness and green bitterness, with a hint of garlic in the background. My second serving of leftover duck meat arrived as a stir-fried duck noodle, which tasted one dimensional and was overwhelmed, though not over-salted, by the soy flavour. The meal concluded with Steamed Custard Buns that took shape of little hedgehogs. Not bad, but I could do with more of the sweet, yolk-y filling.
I don’t have a specific price for this meal but roughly about £40 each for three people.
GO FOR: Peking duck. XLB. No loud Chinese and a lot of great view.
Royal Garden Hotel, 10th F
2-24 High Street Kensington
Tel. 020 7361 1988