Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Min Jiang review at Royal Garden Hotel - jewel in the garden it's not


Address: 2-24 Kensington High St,
London W8 4PT
Tel: 020 7361 1988 (reservation necessary)
Nearest Tube station: Kensington High Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £25 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: **
Ambience: ***
Suitable for: a weekend lunch, do call to reserve
a table by the window overlooking Kensington Garden
We were understandably excited when we first heard that Min Jiang would be opening up in London. Min Jiang, named after the Min River of Sichuan, was well known for their Beijing Roasted Duck (or Peking duck) in their flagship restaurant in Singapore's Goodwood Park Hotel.

Though we didn't get to try out its Peking duck the first time round when it first opened at The Royal Garden Hotel next to Kensington Gardens, I was suitably impressed by the xiao long bao. In my opinion, comparing like for like, Min Jiang's dim sum was better than Yauatcha before the latter's recent menu makeover.

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This time round, we were determined to try out its Peking duck. To make sure that the dish was available (which apparently was subject to availability), we called before way before and reserved half a duck for the three of us.


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Let's get down to the food itself shall we? The xiao long bao (£6.50) were disappointing this time round. I couldn't put my finger on it but even though the soup within was still as good, the meat fillings was almost mushy without any texture.

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Char siew buns (£4.20) didn't do it for me too. I had no problems with them being small if the (dough) skin was thin. But it wasn't the case here - the skin was just as thick and you could barely taste the fillings. Though they were clearly better than those obtained right off supermarkets' frozen counters, the cost cutting was clearly overdone.

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Fried turnip cake (£4.60) was a bit damp and underwhelming. Min Jiang could do with less chives, which had formed a thick layer above the turnip cake.

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Our Peking duck (£25 for half a duck) finally arrived with huge fanfare. A chef set up a small table beside ours and start slicing the roast duck. After the previous dishes, the Peking duck did save the day. The initial slices of honey-brushed skin were slightly crisp and went well coated with sugar. The chef then went on to present some more slices on a platter before disappearing into the kitchen with the rest of the duck.

The wraps, which were provided in a bamboo dim sum container, cooled down pretty soon. Unlike Kai, they were not replaced with hot piping ones. Then again, the bill at Min Jiang came up to almost a third of Kai's so I really shouldn't be making a comparison here. However, Min Jiang provided some chopped mango, which went well with the duck slices and cucumber stripes wrapped up.

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The 'second serving', which was essentially what the chef did with the remaining Peking duck, was minced duck served on cabbage. We were given a couple of choices for our second servings and this was recommended by the waiter. We weren't terribly impressed by it - the rawness of the cabbage had overwhelmed the duck bits.

Perhaps I went to Min Jiang with too high an expectation. Though its prices were almost comparable to Yauatcha after the latter's recent price increase, I wouldn't exactly go out of the way to dine at Min Jiang.

Min Jiang on Urbanspoon

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3 comments:

The London Foodie said...

Interesting, thanks for the honest review. That is another one "off" my list on the strength of this review.

Luiz @ The London Foodie

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the food was too old and therefore they dressed it up with more chives as in the fried turnip cake and in the case of the xiao long bao, the fillings were mushy? Happens in some restaurants I eat too. If you go on the "right" day, the food could be fresh and delicious.

C K said...

@Luiz,
Hmm, don't be in a hurry to try this one.

@Anon,
I did try not to go on a Monday - you know what they say about food served on Mondays are usually leftovers from the weekends.

I was really disappointed with the xiao long bao. Maybe it was the luck of the draw.