Every other review of a restaurant in Chinatown includes an msg soaked starter reminiscing about Gerrard Street's good old times. Food was terrible, service non existent and any complaints answered with five thunderbolts. Not too sure about the last one but over the past few years I've definitely eaten in a few hum dingers in London's China epicenter. Not much has changed really. Just our budgets. A couple quid extra has opened the door to the chinese powerhouses of the Golden Palace and Feng Shui Inn. Now though, for a few more pennies there's a 'modern oriental' kid on the block. Flashing a contemporary feel, Haozhan has been opened with the help from a former chef at Hakkasan. As you'd expect he's brought a keen attention to detail and presentation and influences from Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
This being lunch, delicately grilled and herbed gyoza-style dumplings and light duck spring roll (served in a glass) made tasty light starters. Onto a clean, meaty champagne cod, soft and succulet jasmine ribs and a waiter recommended dish - beef in red wine served in a crispy noodle nest: Succulent beyond imagination and a taste not experienced before. Seeing one served elsewhere we praised ourselves for ordering a cream of pumpkin desert despite being far more satisfied than expected. It almost crept up - but everything was welll timed, well balanced and, well, delicious. Haozhan is different. They've borrowed a couple ideas from the likes of Yuatcha, Nobu and Hakkasan and brought the experience down a level without compromising on the senses (or the wallet). It's a bit cheeky to go with such a homophonic name and, mate, the menu has pictures... but that aside and here is a welcome addition for when beef ho fun and char siu isn't quite enough. Haozhan
8 Gerrard Street
W1D 5PJ (map)
+44 (0) 20 7434 3838

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