Manchurian Legends, WC2H 7BE
Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, specialising in Dongbei (northeast Chinese) food. It initially opened on Macclesfield Street photo on the old premises of Cẩm Phát (previously New Laughing Buddha), but relocated in mid-2012 to Lisle Street, where Sushi Gaga (and before that Okawari) used to be. It's owned by the Restaurant Privilege group, who also owned Sushi Gaga and who still run Leong's Legend and many other East and South-East Asian restaurants around London.
Everything we tried was good. A cold dish of shredded kelp (涼拌海帶絲; £4.50) photo was a very generous portion, and nicely seasoned. Cucumber with mandarin pork (肘花拍黃瓜; £4.50) photo, another cold dish, had great flavour, and although the texture of the meat was as interesting as pork knuckle usually is, we actually ran out of the cucumber part before the pork part.
Pork and pickled vegetable dumplings (豬肉酸菜水餃; £5 for eight) photo were just as they should be, and plain rice (£2/person) was fine. The highlight of the meal, though, was the braised pork with glass noodles (紅燒肉粉條; £8.50); cubes of red-cooked pork belly, braised long enough that the skin was almost as soft as the fat, mixed with a tangle of thin, slippery, chewy potato starch noodles.
Kake's verdict: I really quite liked the food here, though judging by other reviews (linked below) it sounds like there is some inconsistency in the kitchen and we may have been lucky in our ordering.
- Photos of the menu as of August 2011: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- Evening Standard review (by Fay Maschler)
- Observer review (by Jay Rayner)
- Telegraph review (by Matthew Norman)
- Time Out review (by Guy Dimond)
- Chowhound thread
- Come Con Ella review
- Fuchsia Dunlop's review
- Natasha Hughes' review
- Skinny Bib review
- Susan Eats London review
- The Lemurs Are Hungry review