London. Everyone that knows me knows that I am a true Londoner. What a beautiful city it is (when it isn’t raining constantly trying to flood your makeup and making that hour you spent straightening your hair in the morning a total waste of time!) I’m a true Londoner to the core and what I love about the city is that it is so multiculturally diverse, and fits the needs of everyone. Halal food is so common that it has made following the religion so much easier. No one has an excuse now! However, as I’ve mentioned before, the types of Halal foods you will usually find in London are burger joints or takeaways that I tend to stay away from.
However, when you find a Halal gem you stick by it! I first found out about China Tang at The Dorchester being Halal a few years ago, I took a friend with me and it was love at first bite! The ambience is buzzy yet chic, obviously within The Dorchester in the heart of Park Lane you wouldn’t expect any less. It may be set within one of London’s most prestigious hotels but it is a relaxed family environment, yet it is always my first date option. (A good measure of what a man is really like is how much he is willing to spend on food, IF he is intending on pay the bill obviously!) Well actually in hindsight, maybe not the very first date, that should be a quick coffee in case you need to make a clean getaway! Giving away my trade secrets here but, girls, you know what I’m talking about.. But that’s a whole other blogpost!
My friend and I ventured back to China Tang last night to kick start our bank holiday weekend. I called ahead and booked just to be sure we were accomodated for (It’s a popular place to eat so make sure you book before you go). If anyone has been to The Dorchester you will agree that The Promenade is absolutely beautiful, harpists and piano players as you come in make it feel so magical and truly festive. But as you step into the entrance of China Tang, the feel the vibe instantly change into a darker, more oriental one with the walls being decorated with blue and black flowers, leading you downstairs into the main restaurant reception surrounded by mirrors, which obviously I love, because I am a girl and love the sight of myself!
As always, punctuality being one of my strengths (of which I have many clearly) I got there a little earlier than my friend and was shown to my table. There wasn’t that many people there given it was 8pm on a Friday night.
I’m not even sure how they knew as I didn’t specify I was Muslim when I made the booking but I was presented with a Halal menu and a Dim Sum menu. A little bit of background history here – The Dorchester Hotel, although quintessentially British, was purchased by the Sultan of Brunei in 1985 and the rest of the Dorchester Collection (which are a group of very prestige to-notch hotels in London, Paris, Milan and USA) are heavily funded by the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. Point of this very iteresting fact (or not as the case may be) is that as these hotels are iwned and so well funded by one of the wealthiest Muslim countries in the world today, the least they could do it provide halal meat in their restaurants for us laymen. So they did! All the restaurants in The Dorchester Hotel at the very least are halal, but as always please do check with the restaurant before you eat there.
I knew what I wanted obviously and didn’t even need a menu, but I remained claim, acting poised and waited patiently for my friend to arrive. What I really wanted to do was order one of everything on the menu and inhale it in minutes, but chose to stick to the calmer option of waiting.
I love that there was a whole Halal menu to choose from, including duck, beef, chicken and even pigeon! Now, this is a major statement but China Tang has THE most delicious halal duck from all the many places I have tried. The duck is served as a 2 course meal or a 3 course meal – first course being the AMAZING duck pancakes, and for the second part of the meal they take the leftover duck and serve it as a stir fry! TLH loves how cost effective that is! What’s even cooler is that they carve the duck infront of you! I love a bit of live action to increase the anticipation!
The duck pancakes are absolutely divine, the duck is juicy and crispy just as it should be, the pancakes big enough to fit a good few pieces and the sauce leaves me speechless every single time (which is quite an achievement in itself!)
However many times I have been to this restaurant, I always get excited and over-order everything – the duck on its own is so filling that if your appetites are that of a normal person, it will be enough. We also ordered the beef. We didn’t eat much of it but it was very good, the meat was just the right amount of chewy and the taste of the spices pulled through perfectly.
Despite being absolutely stuffed from the mail meal, I have a very strong sweet tooth and for me, no meal is complete without dessert! I always need something sweet to complete a meal, and especially here it would be rude to say no!
I ordered the Peanut and Chocolate Delight, which as the name suggests was a perfectly delightful peanut-chocolate combo! Infact it sounded so delightful that both my friend and I got the same.. Which to be honest is no surprise seeing as we rocked up wearing exactly the same outfit! (all black lace, leather jackets and jeans are clearly not my most original invention!)
All in all, it was and always is a great experience. The atmosphere was buzzing, the food was great and the service was very good. So, if you’re looking for a restaurant for an ocassion such as a birthday, anniversary or in my case just because it was Friday, China Tang is definitely the place to be for all your halal foodie needs!
The Dorchester also offers a valet service so if you’re driving into London it’s easier than trying to find parking.
Food 9 / 10
Overall, I would give China Tang at The Dorchester 8 out of 10 in total. A must check out if you, like me, are a fan of amazing food and fine dining in a casual yet chic environment.
Let me know your thoughts if you have been?
Till next time,
Lots of love my haloodies