Monday 8th February marks Chinese New Year, a date celebrated across the globe. 2016 is the ‘Year of the Monkey’, a zodiac symbol characterising quick-witted, curious, innovative but also mischievous people, which leaves The Handbook wondering what lies ahead! In anticipation, we’ve rounded up our six favourite restaurants and bars in the capital to go and celebrate:
New hot-pot restaurant
This exciting new restaurant in China Town gives you the opportunity to experience a way of eating that the Chinese have enjoyed for over a thousand years. Serving broths inspired by the regions of China and over 50 authentic ingredients to choose from, it’s a must if Chinese food is your thing. For New Year, they’ll be serving a special – the ‘Longevity Fish Ball’, which you squeeze into your bubbling hot pot to create one long, unbroken noodle. And if you can pipe out the contents without breaking the noodle, you win 50% off your total bill!
Northern Chinese with views
Once again, skyscraper-based Hutong, nestled on level 33 of the Shard, will be celebrating Chinese New Year with a host of events drawing inspiration from many Chinese traditions. On New Year itself, they’ll serve a special ‘Double Happiness’ menu priced at £88 (eight is considered the luckiest number in China…duh!). On top of that, all of the restaurant’s beautiful red lanterns will be re-hung, signifying a new start and bringing good luck to all for the year ahead. Plus, epic views of London…
Where: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Iconic Chinese dining
Arguably one of the first establishments to inspire the rise of Chinese dining in London, where better to see in the New Year than at infamous restaurant Mr Chow. Renowned for it’s expertly made Beijing-style noodles, which have been hand-pulled at the restaurant for over 30 years, Mr Chow will also be serving up freshly made dumplings – the dumplings are said to symbolise wealth due to their shape, which is similar to that of ancient silver and gold ingots. We don’t know about you, but after a long, long January, that’s exactly what we need!
Chinese for the sweet-toothed
Gin and macaroons. Need we say more? Yauatcha is celebrating the Year of the Monkey by collaborating with aptly named Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin, co-creating an elegant gin cocktail flight alongside a series of delicate macaroons inspired by the gin’s 47 botanicals. Think six unique macaroons showcasing the flowers, herbs and spices of the spirit, such as juniper berry, bitter orange and almond, elderflower and ginger, rose and rosehip, chamomile, and G&T with grapefruit.
Non-Chinese Chinese New Year celebrations
Don’t like Chinese? Have no fear – Fitzrovia-based champagne bar and gourmet hot dog restaurant, Bubbledogs, has got your covered. They’ll be adding an exclusive hot dog to the menu for Chinese New Year, specially created by chef Andrew Wong – The Kung Dawg: Kung Pao ketchup with pickled celery, pearl onions, red chillies and toasted cashews. They also serve some of the world’s greatest grower champagnes, so you can toast the New Year as you usually do!
Chinese 'firewater' cocktails
This year coinciding with Chinese New Year, Baijiu Cocktail Week celebrates the most popular spirit in the world – but you may not have heard of it. Baijiu is aromatic, white and 52% proof so it’s no surprise it gets the nickname ‘China’s firewater’. Over four billion gallons are drunk each year and this week aims to promote it to the UK market with Shui Jing Fang baijiu-based cocktails being served up in bars all over the city including China Tang at The Dorchester, Chinatown’s Opium and Soho’s 68 & Boston, from Friday 4th February.