Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cha Cha Moon review - Ganton Street popular hangout for Chinese food lovers

Address: 21 Ganton Street, London W1F 9BN
Tel: 020 7297 9800
Nearest Tube station: Oxford Circus

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: **
Suitable for: a quick bite between shopping
After our disappointing escapade at the now defunct Cha Cha Moon at Whiteleys, we turned to Cha Cha Moon's flagship store at Kingly Court. After working his magic at Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Wagamama, Alan Yau's Cha Cha Moon opened with huge fanfare in 2008 offering items on the menu at half price (most going for just £3.50).

More than a year later, Cha Cha Moon remained one of my favourite eating places within walking proximity of Oxford Circus and Piccadilly. Serving mostly Hong Kong street fare and some Straits food, Cha Cha Moon catered not only to the lovers of char kuey tiao (fried flat noodles) and gan lao mian (dried tossed noodles) but also to tourists totting London guides.

Wife ordered her current favourite Wanton Mian (dumpling noodle in soup) and having gone for Cha Cha Moon's char kuey tiao the last time round, I decided to throw caution to the wind and went for the Char grilled Chicken Lao Mian. The couple next to us ordered spring rolls and onion pancake, which looked pretty decent and we ordered that as well to be shared between the two of us.

I normally avoid ordering spring rolls at restaurants. Most of those that I came across were small over fried ones that were simply transfer from the freezer into hot boiling oil. The spring rolls (£4.60 for four) at Cha Cha Moon turned out better than expected. The turnip and carrot fillings were thinly sliced and lightly packed. More importantly the frying oil wasn't recycled, at least not for our spring rolls. I thought that they were a bit overpriced but if you couldn't do without your spring rolls, be sure to order this one.

The spring onion pancakes (£3.50) turned out totally different from what we expected. Instead of firm and fried to a crisp, Cha Cha Moon's version was essentially onion slices stuffed into two round flat lightly pan fried dough cut into quarters. It didn't taste too bad objectively but I'm not sure whether I would order them again.

According to Wife, the Wanton Mian (£6) was nicely cooked, better than that at Joy King Lau and way better than the clumped up version at Cha Cha Moon (Whiteleys). But the dumplings that she kept on shovelling onto my plate were fabulous. If only Cha Cha Moon does a wanton soup as I'm not exactly a fan of noodles soaked in water.

The Char grilled Chicken Lao Mian (£6.40), in my opinion, was the highlight of the meal. I was half expecting lean chicken breast, though healthier, wouldn't go down well with dried noodles. Instead, the dish came with thick slices of lightly grilled chicken thigh meat, which I could just taste the 'smoke' from the grilling - even the skin were left attached to the meat, just the way I preferred it.

The noodles, which was quickly immersed in boiling water, still retained its springy texture. Tossed in sauce flavoured with soy sauce and a tinge of oyster sauce, it was perfect with the milky savoury broth (the waiter mentioned that it was some duck broth).

To be honest, I am looking for an excuse to head back to Kingly Court again. The Crispy Duck Lao Mian was heavily recommended by the waiter serving us. I can't wait for my next visit.

Cha Cha Moon on Urbanspoon

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The London Foodie said...

Hi CK, interesting posting - I have been meaning to go to this place for ages but have heard quite mixed reviews so kind of gave up on the idea until now. Let me know next time you are visiting Cha Cha Moon, I would love to tag along with you and wife if that is ok...

Luiz @ The London Foodie

Wild Boar said...

I went a couple of times months ago when the prices were still £3.50 a bowl and thought the food was really good albeit a bit oversalted from the ones I had. I've not been back since as I heard the standard has dropped, portions got smaller while the prices went up though. If you do go back, give the Cha Cha Mooli a shot as it was pretty awesome when I had it.

Tom said...

Interesting to read someone else enjoyed it. I put up a review last weekend which was positive about CCM and got lots of comments back from people saying they hated CCM. Glad to see I wasn't crazy!

C K said...

Lol, we have been heading there quite a bit as Wife craves for their Wanton mian. Not sure when we'll be there again but would give you a shout way in advance if we do!

@Wild Boar,
I had Cha Cha Moli at the now defunct Whiteleys branch. Love it! Would have ordered it again if not for the fact that we were stuffed.

Really? Aww, will hop by your site to right the wrong. Cheers!