In honor of Christmas, I’m posting about our recent lunch at Haozhan Restaurant in Chinatown. After all, nothing says Christmas in the New York area (where I grew up) quite like Chinese food and a movie.
Normally, Jon and I drop by Chinatown to pick up groceries and get some dim sum, but we’ve never had success in that area looking for Chinese food other than dim sum. It is, after all, tourist central.
But despite its location on Gerrard Street, Haozhan has real restaurant cred – not just from reviews like this one by Jay Rayner in the Guardian, but also because the head chef, Chee Loong Cheong, used to cook at Hakkasan, one of my favorite restos.
When we arrived for lunch on a rainy day, Haozhan was sadly empty, and the waiters were sitting around a table in the dining room folding napkins (presumably for the dinner rush). The decor is super-trendy, so like most trendy places, it looks a little forlorn in natural daylight. Haozhan is at its best, decor-wise, at night, I’d guess.
We started with a chili fried softshell crab, which was attractive (see photo above), greaseless and juicy. Just like at Hakkasan, surprise surprise. I would’ve liked it a little spicier and sweeter, so a dipping sauce might have been helpful.
I had no complaints about our san pei chicken, though apparently it’s supposed to be a braise dish, not a stir fry. That said, it tasted perfectly stir-fried: juicy, tender pieces of chicken and a slightly-sweet, slightly-spicy soy-based sauce. You know, a stir fry.
Haozhan offers a nice choice of teas and cocktails, and Jon and I paid £30 for our starter, two mains and teas. It was a perfect lunch, and we’ll be back soon to taste the rest of the menu.