Thursday, 26 November 2009

Cha Cha Moon review - new addition at Bayswater's Whiteleys didn't quite hit the mark


We met up a friend at Bayswater over the weekend. You would have thought that it was going to be at either Kiasu or Four Seasons but we decided to try something new and, frankly, I had enough of roast ducks so we headed to Whiteleys, which was a shopping mall right at the northern end of Queensway.

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Nothing's hidden from view - a currently popular open concept theme

It didn't take us long to find Cha Cha Moon, which has opened up a branch at Whiteleys after a widely successful launch at Ganton Street at London's Soho earlier. The new Cha Cha Moon that is on the top floor of Whiteleys is markedly different from the flagship restaurant at Soho - instead of the club atmosphere of the latter, Whiteleys' Cha Cha Moon is brighter lit and does away with the cocktail bar and offer mainly long tables instead of counters with high stools (think Wagamama).

The menu looks the same though. We ordered Wanton Mian, Cha Cha Mooli and Chui Chow Rice Cake to be shared among us.

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Wanton Mian - undercooked noodles and overcooked dumplings

The Wanton Mian (£5.80) was a huge disappointment I must say. I mean, the one we had during a previous visit to Cha Cha Moon at Ganton Street was fabulous to say the least. The noodles in this one was barely cooked and I could still taste its rawness in the lukewarm soup. The dumplings was slightly dried and burnt - they must have been precooked and left aside for quite some time prior to being added to the dish.

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Chui Chow Rice Cake - chueh kueh served in cabbage

The Chui Chow Rice Cakes (£3.50) is really the "chueh kueh" served back home. Unlike the original, the rice cakes were tough. Perhaps they had been left on the steamer for too long. However, I must add that the generous serving of pickled turnip was really good. If only the rice cakes could be fluffier.

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Cha Cha Mooli - this star tastes much better than it looks, that's if you get it hot.

All that said, I would probably return to Cha Cha Moon for one dish - Cha Cha Mooli (£4.20). It was essentially lightly fried turnip cake seasoned with dried shrimp and Chinese chive with Chinese salami, spring onion, egg and beansprouts sprinkled over it. It taste very much like the 'chai tau kueh' or fried carrot cake and I had it for breakfast every other day back home so I know a good one when I tasted it. Gosh, Cha Cha Mooli (I had no idea why they called it that) was way better than any fried carrot cake I had ever (and I mean ever) tasted. It must be the dried shrimps though beansprouts added an interesting crunch to the otherwise mushy dish.

If you, like me, are tired of the numerous Chinese restaurants along Bayswater, do give Cha Cha Moon at Whiteleys a try. Though it wouldn't be your normal Chinese fare, the experience will be definitely more pleasant than the chaos at the other Chinese restaurants along the thoroughfare.

Address: Unit 205 - 151 Queensway, London W2 4YN
Tel: 0207 792 0088
Nearest Tube station: Bayswater

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A (10% for party of 5 or more)
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: **
Suitable for: lovers of Wagamama with a Straits Chinese twist. Recommended for maximum of 4 due to the seating arrangement.

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4 comments:

Wild Boar said...

A 'mooli' is a type of Japanese radish, which is what they use to make the carrot cake thingy. So I guess they just added their own Cha Cha to it to make their own funky name :-)

So if I felt like eating some Cha Cha food, it's still better to go to the original one?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when you were there, but I was at Whiteleys last weekend and Cha Cha Moon appeared to be closed for good, with a sign on the door advising patrons to go to their other location. Also, the Bayswater location is no longer on chachamoon.com.

Too bad, because I ate there several times and enjoyed it, but I'm afraid that Whiteley's isn't a great location.

Anonymous said...

It was good while it lasted - it closed on Saturday 14th Nov.

There are rumours of it re-opneing or something similar in its place. Probably not till 2010.

C K said...

@Wild Boar,
Thanks. Didn't know that about 'mooli'. But mooli sure sounds very much like carrot cake, if you know what I mean. :)

Heard from the rest that Cha Cha Moon at Whiteleys is closed so not much of a choice right now, is there?

@Anonymous,
Thanks for the notice. I believe I went there on the 14th Nov. No wonder the standard was a bit below par. It was their last day!

@Anonymous,
Hmm, it was pretty quiet on a weekend when I was there. I think there's just not enough traffic. Whiteleys is not exactly where the action is I suppose.