It's Chinese New Year on 8 February, which will see in the Year of the Monkey. The festivities include the consumption of many dishes thought to bring luck and success for the year ahead, and we've rounded up our favourite places to enjoy them in London.
Northern Chinese restaurant Hutong will serve a ‘double happiness’ menu on 8 February, which will feature the customary Lo Hei mixed raw seafood salad (salmon, yellow tail, shredded abalone tossed with assorted vegetables). Hutong say, "the origins of Lo Hei date back more than 750 years to the days of the Song Dynasty when fishermen along the coast of China would celebrate the seventh day of Chinese New Year, known as Renri or ‘everyone’s birthday’, with this fresh fish and diced vegetable dish. The most important part of eating 'Lo Hei' is the mixing together of the ingredients. To ensure good luck for the coming year, everyone calls out 'Lo Hei' which means 'to mix it up' but also sounds like ' to prosper more and more', while tossing the ingredients high into the air."
Hutong, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1. The salad will also be available after the Double Happiness menu has finished, until 14 February, priced at £58 for four or more people to share.
Hakkasan will serve a menu of dishes thought to bring joy, luck and prosperity for the year ahead, such as ginseng sand chicken soup, wok fried lobster in spicy truffle sauce, Pipa duck, and asparagus and lily bulb in black pepper. We particularly like the sound of dried scallop and crabmeat fried rice. Inspired by the Year of the Monkey, dessert will be banana and peanut cake with five spice infused cream, topped with gold leaf. Fancy. Guests will also receive a specially-designed Year of the Monkey coin as a gift of good fortune, and will be invited to write their wishes on gold ribbons and hang them in the restaurant, in honour of the wishing tree tradition.
Hakkasan, see website for locations. The menu will run until 22 February, priced at £88.88 pp.
Royal China are serving a menu including belly pork, tiger prawns in chilli sauce and braised dry oyster with black moss. Guests will also receive a mystery gift in a red envelope, with one envelope in each restaurant containing a complimentary meal up to the value of £100. There will also be a live lion dance performance on the following dates:
Royal China Club: 8 February 2016 at 8.30pm; Baker Street: 8 and 12 February 2016 at 7.30pm; Queensway: 9 February 2016 at 7.30pm; Canary Wharf: 10 February 2016 at 7.30pm; Harrow on the Hill: 11 February 2016 at 7pm; Fulham: 12 February 2016 at 1pm. See website for location details.
Michelin-starred HKK will serve a menu including Prosperity Salad, with crispy salmon skin and plum sauce, dry oyster rolls with black moss and barbecue pork belly. There will also be a special dish of two soups, served in one bowl in the shape of the Yin and Yang symbol, a crab and kumquat soup, and a vegetarian 'shark’s fin' soup. The meal will end with something called a Tray of Togetherness, which sounds a little Harry Potter, but is in fact a selection of eight petit fours, as eight is the most auspicious number in China. The room will be decorated with hanging gold coins and red-dipped lychees.
HKK, 88 Worship Street, London EC2A 2BE. The menu will cost £88 pp, running until 20 February.
London’s newest hotpot restaurant will give diners the chance to win 50% off their bill if they take part in something called the Longevity Fish Ball Game. The fish ball is based on the idea of long noodles symbolising long life, and the fish ball is served in a piping bag, ready for diners to squeeze into their hot pots. Those who can pipe the noodle without breaking it win a prize. Bizarre, yet intriguing.
Shuang Shuang, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6LU. The Longevity Fish Ball will be £5 and available from 4-8 February
Dumpling Heart Supper Club
East London restaurant Dumpling Heart are hosting a series of Chinese New Year pop-ups from now until 28 February. We get the impression there will be a lot of dumplings. At least, we hope there will be a lot of dumplings.
Dumpling Heart, 6 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP. Details and booking info can be found on their Facebook page.
We love Gold Mine on Queensway for their super shiny and bronze-roasted Cantonese style duck, perfect for sharing with a crowd. A plate of lobster noodles never goes amiss either. You can read about our recent visit here.
Gold Mine, 102 Queensway, W2 3RR.
Michelin-starred dim sum tea house Yauatcha are partnering with Monkey 47 gin for the New Year. They will be serving three limited edition cocktails made with the gin, including a Pomelo Fortune, which is made with grapefruit, cranberry and mandarin bitters. Some of the key botanicals from the gin will be used to create six maracon flavours, such as rose and rosehip, and bitter orange with almond. Traditional dishes on the menu will include the Hakka fortune pot, a large clay pot containing a mixture of meat and seafood symbolising a happy reunion, and the scallop yusheng, a raw fish salad comprising Japanese seaweed, grapefruit, pomegranate, pumpkin and mushrooms.
Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL