As well as many old faves, I visited lots fab new restaurants in 2017. Stand outs include: Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Rochelle ICA and Londrino (all in London) as well as Murmur from Michael “64 Degrees” Bremner in Brighton and Moor Hall from Mark Birchall in Lancashire – as wonderful as each of these were, the restaurant which is my “opening of the year” is, without doubt, XU.
So where better to enjoy my last meal of 2017? Not only are the dishes intensely flavoured, they are well balanced and cleverly textured. What’s more, the presentations have an elegance and luxury about them – the ceramics are beautiful and play a key part in the overall aesthetic. As do quirky presentations, such as the After Eight inspired Bak Kwa box and the mini Ma Lai cake steamer, embossed with XU’s logo.
On this visit, I tried a couple of dishes that were new to me and one that was new to the menu. The latter being the not so appetisingly named ‘Saliva Chicken’ – a deliberate example of “lost in translation” with the underlying interpretation better described as “mouthwatering chicken”.
New to me, included the Peanut Lotus Crisps, Chilled Clams and Truffle Steamed Egg – the clams, served over ice with a gentle kick of green chilli granita and sweet, peppery basil oil, being the pick of that little trio.
As for the old faves, the Shou Pa Chicken delivered a spicier kick than I recall from a on previous visit and was all the better for it, despite being a stonkingly delicious dish already!
XU’s Sparkling Tea
Peanut Lotus Crisps 蓮藕脆片
Chilli, Peanut, Wintermelon Syrup
Chilled Clams 醃蛤
Chilli Marinade, Basil Oil, £5
Truffle Steamed Egg 松露蒸
Truffle Sauce, Spring Peas
XO Carabinero Prawn 紅
Saliva Chicken 墨
Cucumber, Sesame, Chilli Oil
Bak Kwa 綜合肉乾
Bak Kwa is the Taiwanese or Hokkien name for Jerky: 40 Day Aged Beef, Spicy Pork, Lamb Jerky with Shallot & Sichuan Relish & Pickles
Chicken Wing 脆皮雞翅
Sanbei Glaze, Caviar
Beef Pancake 牛髓夾餅
Shortrib & Bone Marrow, Pickles, Spring Onion, Potato Crumb & Pancakes
Shou Pa Chicken 手扒雞
with Drippings, Ginger & Spring Onion, White Pepper & Chicken Skin dip
Mushroom Glutinous Rice
Magnolia Leaf, Salted Duck Egg Yolk
Ma Lai Cake 馬來糕
with Condensed Milk & Orange Butterscotch
XU’s House Blend Cold Brew Tea
Longan & Mandarin – Oriental Beauty Cold Brew
Date of lunch: 31/12/17