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Shining a spotlight on Chinese regional cuisine at Chinese Cricket Club, Blackfriars
May 5th 2017 | Written by Baldwin Ho

Shining a spotlight on Chinese regional cuisine at Chinese Cricket Club, Blackfriars

Fans of Chinese cuisine will appreciate that most Chinese restaurants in places like Chinatown serve a distinctly Cantonese style of regional food. There are in fact 8 great regional cuisines in China and at Chinese Cricket Club, they focus on one of the most popular offerings in China, Sichuan-style cuisine. It is well-known for their hot-spicy taste as well as the numbing effects of Sichuan peppercorn.

Their executive chef, Ken Wang has over 20 years of experience cooking Chinese cuisine and has created a menu that strikes the right balance between respecting the traditions of Sichuan style of cooking and modern updates that make the menu more accessible for British diners.

Being situated in the Crown Plaza hotel in the City, the decor is somewhat businesslike and muted with subtle nods to their cricketing heritage.

Although dim sum originated from the Canton region, they have taken a distinctly Northern Chinese take on these popular offerings. Gently fried asparagus had been dusted with Sichuan spices and dried garlic; it had more of a crumbly texture rather than strongly crunchy. Prawn har gow was outstanding, with the prawns perky and the dough skin crystal clear thin, which isn’t surprising considering their dim sum master trained at the Michelin-starred Hakkasan.

Mapo tofu is the kind of classic main course, that all vegetarians love to order. The silken tofu was as soft as cloud; you must suspect they probably poached the tofu first before stir-frying it. There was a lavish sprinkling of Sichuan peppercorns to give the occasional burst of electricity in your mouth. This is the kind of dish where it is compulsory to order 1 or maybe even 2 bowls of rice to soak up the rich, umami-filled sauce.

Monkfish was equally flavoursome but with less heat as it used mainly a black bean sauce. It came in a sizzling hot stone bowl so that the heat of the dish is maintained even 10-15 minutes in from when you first received the dish. However, it did have an overabundance of vegetables rather than the actual dish ordered: monkfish, which is a common problem in many Chinese restaurants.

Chinese desserts are not well-known for their variety, but the options here are masterfully executed. A green tea mousse cake was even smoother than the tofu from the main course, whilst black sesame ice cream had a nutty, aromatic texture and flavour which you wouldn’t normally find in Western restaurants or ice-cream parlours.
baldwin@townfish.com

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