|The North Is The Best End Of China|
That's the conclusion I came to after eating at the North China restaurant, anyway
China! The land of astonishing economic growth, the tallest man and also the shortest man. Also a crazy town I saw on TV built to look like it's in the British home counties. But none of that matters - it's the food that we all love.
And, while my knowledge of Chinese geography is sketchy at best, I've been led to believe that the best Chinese food comes from the north. And that's all thanks to the North China restaurant.
An Acton staple for many decades now, the North China has sat next to what was formerly the bus depot - and will soon be some flats - for so long that it's been run by three generations of the same family. So it was probably high time your editor popped along to have a taste.
My companion and I braved the wintry climes to reach the North China's welcoming door only to be met with a rather raucous scene - a company had bought out the entire main dining area for their Christmas party. A seasonal danger of course, but it shows how popular the restaurant is - even at slower times of the year it's often bustling.
We were shown to a table in the restaurant's upstairs room, which was still perfectly lovely. After cracking open our menus and ordering a pot of lovely chinese tea, we ordered our starters: smoked chicken and seaweed, grilled dumplings and steam shelled scallops.
The dumplings were delicious packages of pork in the "pot sticker" style, and the chicken was salty and generous delight. The scallops were dramatically presented and perfectly seasoned, as they say on Masterchef all the bloody time.
Moving on, we couldn't stop ourselves from ordering the North China (and practically every other Chinese restaurant) favourite, crispy aromatic duck.The North China's is a particularly impressive version, and an excellent lead-in to the main courses to come.
And what main courses they were! Wonderfully subtle ginger and onion prawns, sweet and crispy lemon chicken and heartwarming set of sizzling lamb. Absolutely exceptional.
We could barely move after all that, as you'd imagine. Yet, somehow we managed to make room for a lovely toffee apple desert. And then dragged ourselves out of the establishment before we found ourselves ordering another five courses.
A meal worth braving the coldest nights for, the North China is likely the best Chinese restaurant in West London.
16 December 2011