Savour Sichuan and Cantonese morsels in a Taj venue dripping with Oriental glamour
Words: Will Moffitt
Draped in red lacquer hues, silk panels and gold fans, the interiors at House of Ming, St James' Court, a Taj Hotel, are a sharp and elegantly assembled appetiser for the steaming plates of Sichuan and Cantonese staples that hit the tables.
The 56-seater restaurant has newly opened this summer and more than delivers on its promise of atmospheric and authentic tastes and flavours from the provinces of China. Taking inspiration from Ming nobility – with a touch of decadent 1930s Shanghai glamour thrown in for good measure – the venue is a chic, refined reimagining of those Imperial palaces of old.
Created by award-winning, luxury hospitality designers Atelier Wren, with ceilings hand painted onto canvas by Lara Fiorentino – and silk panels adorned with pine and ginkgo leaves created by artist Jacky Puzey – House of Ming’s interiors are almost as delicious as its cuisine.
Above: House of Ming's mouthwatering Dim Sim selection. Below: Desert served Sichuan and Cantonese style. Bottom of the page: The imperial private dining room
Helmed by F&B manager Asif Bajwa, executive chef Sujoy Gupta, and Hong Kong born head chef, Dickson Leung, the menu balances hot, sweet and sour favours, and an expansive meat, seafood and vegetarian Dim Sum list to choose from.
Bursting with sweet and salty dishes, the Dim Sum section boasts prawn truffle siu mai, crispy taro and oyster dumpling, and classics such as char siu bao and sticky rice. Then come plates stuffed with crab claws, crispy fried fish with chilli and oyster sauce and BBQ lamb with cumin and chilli.
These delicious smaller dishes are tasty appetisers that build nicely towards the restaurant's larger plates. As is often the case – I’m speaking from personal experience here – there’s a temptation to order everything and end up bloated and stuffed before the larger plates come steaming in. You’d be foolish to do so at House of Ming because those heftier dishes are the stars of the show. In particular, the stir fried lobster, king prawns with XO sauce and the signature dish Flaming Duck, which – no prizes for this one – is flamed at the table.
Above: Desert served Sichuan and Cantonese style. Bottom of the page: House of Ming's magnificent imperial private dining room
For a slightly more elevated high-end dining experience, the restaurant has curated an imperial dining option by way of a stunning seventeen course menu, designed exclusively to be enjoyed in the discreet comfort of a bespoke private dining room.
In addition to the magnificent food menu, House of Ming also has an excellent selection of cocktails inspired by oriental spices, herbs and spirits. A particular favourite is House of Zhu, a Vodka cocktail with clarified oolong tea and grapefruit bitter, garnished with a pink blossom and served in a Chinese teapot.
The restaurant’s wine list also has a selection of the global options with choices of excellent Chinese chateau wines. There’s a wide variety of teas too, including Chinese white tea and oolong tea. In fact, House of Ming takes its tea so seriously it has its own dedicated tea sommelier.
With its elegant interiors, piquant menu and laid back atmosphere, House of Ming is a venue for all occasions: perfect for a romantic date night, a catch up with an old friend, or a salty post-night out pick me up. For an enticing blend of Oriental glamour and delicious, no nonsense cooking, look no further.
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, 54 Buckingham Gate, houseofming.co.uk/en/