China Town is renowned for having some of the best culinary spots in London, and the popular Orient London in buzzing Wardour Street, we’ve heard, is one of those places that one really must visit. On a rainy Tuesday night in October, we went see for ourselves if what we’d heard was true.
In contrast to the vibrancy and colours of China Town, the external façade of Orient London is simple and minimalist, due to its black and white exterior. The internal décor features tasteful dark brown tables and matching high-backed chairs along with golden hints across the walls and menus.
We were warmly greeted on arrival by waiters and led to our table; it was early evening on a Tuesday night, so it was fairly quiet.
At first glance, you may find the menu slightly intimidating as there is simply so much to choose from, however, they have helpfully broken it down into different categories. The set menu options offer big portions, more than enough for two people and good value for money. We opted for Set Menu C which cost £24 per person. So, what did we think?
We started the night with the Orient mixed hors d’oeveurs which included classic dishes such as sesame prawn toast, spareribs, crispy seaweed, chicken satay sticks, and vegetables spring rolls. The selection was delicious, a highlight was the chicken satay which had a lovely golden and crispy texture, and the chicken was tender and well-seasoned. Another favourite was the capital spareribs, there was a generous amount of meat and the sauce was not too sweet or tangy, it was the perfect balance of both.
Next on the menu was the crispy aromatic duck, served with pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions. The food was well presented, and the pancakes were soft and moist. There was a generous amount of duck provided, however it was fairly dry in texture and we would have preferred if it was more tender.
By the time we got to the mains, we were already fairly full! The main dishes were a treat. We opted for the crispy shredded chilli beef, deep fried chicken with honey and lemon sauce, stir fried prawns with cashew nuts, stir fried mixed vegetables and Yeung Chow fried rice. We’ve given our quick views on each dish below.
- Crispy shredded chilli beef: The batter for the beef was perfectly crispy, however, it could have done with more beef. The sauce was perfect, more on the sweet than spicy side.
- Deep fried chicken with honey and lemon sauce: The chicken was tender, crispy and well flavoured. If you’re into sweet and tangy sauces, this may be the dish for you. The lemon sauce was extremely sweet and tangy so it slightly overwhelmed the chicken.
- Stir fried prawns with cashew nuts: The prawns were large and cooked to perfection, as they weren’t overcooked, and the prawns were tender and juicy. The lightly flavoured sauce with hints of black pepper and garlic complemented the prawns well.
- Stir fried mixed vegetables: This dish was simple and well executed. The vegetables which included broccoli, carrots and mange tout. The texture is what made this dish very good, the vegetables were crunchy and well flavoured. The light seasoning consisting of garlic and salt helped bring the dish together.
- Yeung Chow fried rice: The rice was the highlight of the main dishes! The rice perfect and well-seasoned with soy sauce and garlic. The pieces of pork were well caramelised, moist and tender. The dish was nicely brought together with the subtle sweetness of the green peas.
If you love mangoes, you’ll be in for a treat. We selected the mango cheesecake which included a soft cream cheese filling, finished off with a tangy mango coulis. A must have for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Overall, the food was tasty and the portion sizes generous, we’d go back again. We were reminded that the best dishes are often the simplest ones; balance is key, especially when blending different flavours.
Visit Orient London
15 Wardour Street
Image credits: Esther Oluga (@essieeats) / Melan Magazine
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