A Taste of the Orient London | My Soho Times

We invited filmmaker Ivo Belohoubek to be our guest blogger and share his experience dining at the Orient London in China Town… Real people – real opinions – about real food!

Let me start with a confession. I am no expert on Chinese food. When the Soho Girl asked me if I wanted to review Orient London Restaurant in London’s China Town, I realised I haven’t had a Chinese dinner in decades. A trip down the memory lane and I knew why. When I first moved to London I lived in a flat above a Chinese Takeaway in Putney. Chinese cuisine got ingrained in my memory as a polystyrene container full of shapeless food I found next to my bed in the morning after a night out drinking…

Walking into China town pre-lockdown, I was a blank page with no reference to pivot myself to but I was instructed to be hungry, and after a climbing session at the gym prior – starving I was. Orient was busy. What a refreshing sight amidst a global pandemic and endless rules. Families on their days out in London in half term were tucking in and smiling, always a good sign.

We ordered Jasmin tea and decided to go for a feast of a steamed dim sum platter and a three-course seafood set menu featuring lobster as the main attraction. The starter, or rather a full set of plates, could easily feed more than two people. Seaweed, chilli and pepper squid was a great little surprise as I never thought seaweed could be spicy and crispy and compliment the traditional squid. I like spicy and I do appreciate the generous rings of freshly cut chillies.

The satay prawn skewers and scallops were amazing and the sesame prawn on toast was a surprising and tasty take on ingredients I thought I knew everything about.

Lobster is a food I always been unsure of ordering, I always thought it is a show off dish. The hassle to get through the tough shell only to access little bits of meat seemed unworthy. But thanks to Orient I am pleased to report that I have now slightly amended my prejudiced view on lobster. It’s still a show-off dish and I certainly don’t have the right skills to eat it. But with the copious amount of ginger it’s delicious an it was actually possible to enjoy it without feeling inadequate for my neanderthal cracking skills.

By the time we got to main course (you are reading this right, all the food up until now was a starter and intermediate), I was already slipping into food coma but I was determined to keep going because the food was amazing. Deep fried squid with chilli and pepper, sweet and sour fish, prawns
with ginger with a side dish of veg and shrimp fried rice were more traditional Chinese dishes but skilfully presented and delicious.

This is not a light work lunch but a feast for the hungry and I would recommended it if you don’t plan on doing much afterwards. I wobbled into the buzzing streets of Soho feeling full but not gluttonous (I took some home with me).

The service was impeccable, the tea refilled every time we finished a pot and table cleaned every time I failed to eat like a grown up. I will definitely be back and next time even more hungry.

Filmmaker Ivo Belohoubek in China Town, London

Ivo ordered:

SET MENU D
£35.00 per person (minimum of 2 persons or more)
Starter
海鮮拼盤 Seafood mixed hors d’oeuvres
(seaweed, chilli & pepper squid , satay prawn skewers ,
crispy scallop, sesame prawn on toast)
Intermediate
薑蔥龍蝦 Lobster with ginger & spring onion (on shell)

Main Course
椒鹽鮮魷 Deep fried squid with chilli & pepper
咕嚕魚 Sweet & sour fish
薑蔥蝦球 Stir fried prawn with ginger & spring onion
清炒雜菜 Stir fried mixed vegetables
蝦仔炒飯 Shrimp fried rice

From the 5th November Orient London will open for delivery and pick up only until lockdown restrictions ease. Keep an eye out on their social media @orientlondon and website for re-opening dates and bookings. www.orientlondon.com

📍15 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6PH

Photos by The Soho Girl and Ivo Belohoubek

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