The Handbook
The Handbook

Shing Tat Chung, Wai Ting Chung and Erchen Chang, aka the team from BAO are back. That alone should be enough to get you excited. We’ll tell you more though. They’re back with a new Taiwanese restaurant and bar XU and it’s opening this spring.

Opening on Rupert Street on the edge of China Town, XU will be set across two floors and will feature a cocktail bar, Taiwanese tea bar, private dining space and 76-cover restaurant.

Named after Erchen’s late grandfather, the restaurant will pay homage to the rich history and cultural past of Taiwan, with the menu split into different sections. Start with Xiao Tsai or bar snacks such as century quails egg and smoked Taiwanese sausage, before classic dishes like crab with chilli egg drop sauce and Sho Pa chicken. This dish needs more elaborating… it’s a whole bird stuffed with Chinese spices and herbs and served whole with the chicken head still on. Dramatic. There’ll also be goose, pork and other braised meats served in typical Taiwanese Lu Wei style in a master sauce. Other dishes take inspiration from street food such as the pan-fried dumplings and the pancakes filled with 40-day aged beef short rib, marrow and pickles.

When it comes to drinks, it’s all about tea, something that Erchen’s grandfather loved to drink. The tea bar will house teas from across Taiwan, including some of the most loved and those which are more undiscovered, including a hand-picked Assam, a luxury black tea, grown in Nantou in Taiwan and more specialist competition teas such as Baozhong from Pingling.

Giving a nod to 1930s Taiwan, the interiors will be glamourous and elegant juxtaposing with the minimalism of BAO. It’ll feature rich, dark wood panelling, wooden ceiling fans brought in from Xiao Chi houses, an emerald tea counter and traditional Chinese porcelain. In the main restaurant, a six-seater blush pink marble dining bar framed by a hand-painted Mountains of Taiwan mural will be the focus. If you recognise the style it’s because they’ve teamed up with BradyWilliams, the design studio behind some of London’s most recognisable restaurants including Corbin & King’s Fischer’s and Bellanger.

It’s going to be culinary journey through the mountainous regions of the island through to the busy streets of the capital, Taipe. The best kinds of journey, obviously.

XU: Opens Spring 2017, 30 Rupert Street,  W1D 6DL,