What: Park Chinois is Mayfair’s decadent party den opened by Alan Yau (founder of the likes of Wagamama, Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Duck and Rice). Made up of the Salon de Chine and Club Chinois, Park Chinois is the sort of venue where you leave your 9-5 at the door and enter into a realm of Champagne, dancing and hedonism.
New? No, it’s been partying since 2015, however they have just launched a cheeky, new dinner show which brings together cabaret, comedy and singing. We particularly enjoyed a moody performance of Back to Black, a Carry On esque sketch based on Buckingham Palace guards and the hypnotic women dancing with lampshades on their heads.
The Setting: Park Chinois is in prime Mayfair territory, rubbing shoulders with Sexy Fish, The May Fair, Nobu and Novikov. Unlike the loudness of Sexy Fish which you can’t help but notice, Park Chinois is much subtler hidden behind the dark red doors.
The Look: Park Chinois is next level when it comes to luxe and opulence and is inspired by the decadence of 1930’s Shanghai. As you descend down the red spiral staircase you can almost smell the wealth coming from behind the double doors, the restaurant is full of theatre and drama with plenty of red velvet, gold, mirrors and marble floors. If you can get a seat near the centre of the restaurant so that you get a prime spot to watch the show. The loos are rather fancy too with taps shaped as swans. As far as restaurant interiors go, this has to be one of the most lavish.
On the Menu: The menu is predominantly Chinese with sharing dishes, side dishes and mains and a caviar selection. Dishes include Bang Bang chicken salad; steamed Kamchatka King Crab with 5-year Shaoxing wine, rice noodles and egg white, crispy satay chicken with peanut sauce and steamed wild sea bass with soya, ginger and spring onions.
What We Ate: We started with venison puffs which were exactly as they should be, sweet, flaky pastry and a rich, meat filling, I could easily demolish a plate alone. And here’s a striking dish of squid and sakura shrimp (they stand upright) served with a light celery salad – who knew salad could be so delicious? We started with one of the signature dim sum platters but soon realised that we weren’t going to be sharing, so swiftly ordered another. Dim sum is up their with my favourite food and Park Chinois certainly know a thing or two about good dim sum.
I highly recommend the grilled black cod. The flaky fish has a sticky sweet yuzu and soya sauce which was lifted with pickled mooli (from the radish family) and refreshing grapefruit and pomelo. There’s a sweet and sour Ibérico pork loin katsu served with caramelised pineapple and heritage tomatoes that is well worth an order too. We of course ordered rice going for the potted rice with black truffle, sticky, woody and utterly moreish.
Puddings aren’t Chinese with the likes of apple tarte and lemon meringue pie on the menu. We however went for the sphere chocolate surprise, a pistachio financier topped with raspberry mousse and crunchy hazelnuts is hidden under a chocolate sphere and then revealed by pouring hot pistachio sauce over it. I’ve had several of these and watching the chocolate melt over its contents never gets tiring.
What We Drank: We started with a drink at the bar, admittedly I started with an end of the night drink, but I couldn’t not go for the truffle old fashioned. Made from Booker’s Bourbon infused with black truffle, maple syrup, Noix De La Saint Jean walnut liqueur, house dark bitters and topped with a slice of truffle, the result was a wonderfully woody, nutty, sweet old fashioned, ideal for someone like me who can’t get enough of truffle. My boyfriend however went for something lighter, more suited for the summer, the Spritz Chinois, made from Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Prosecco, Dolin Chambérvzette strawberry and grapefruit soda.
Go With: Someone with the dollar. Park Chinois isn’t cheap, with dishes of rice costing £35 your dinner could cost the same as a mini break abroad. But hey, the truffle rice is incredible and sometimes you got to treat yourselves or maybe you’ve got lucky and £35 is just fine by you.
Where: Park Chinois, 17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8EA, www.parkchinois.com
Final Word? Although there were couple of mix ups with the orders, the food was wonderful, there was a real escapism atmosphere, the show was fun, and the interior was the epitome of Mayfair opulence.