Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Friday 25th November 2005

China Tang

As I approached the maitre 'd at China Tang my heart soared. No, it wasn't on account of the fact that she was drop dead gorgeous, but because she was engaged in a stand-up row with two disgruntled customers. They'd booked a table for six at 9pm and were understandably upset that their party still hadn't been seated at 9.35pm. Further investigation confirmed that the bar was full of angry punters nursing similar grievances. From a restaurant critic's point of view, such chaotic scenes are a godsend. What could provide better copy than a highly fashionable restaurant in a state of total meltdown?

Alas, I was destined to be disappointed since, in most other respects, this new restaurant in the basement of the Dorchester is pretty impressive. As the name implies, China Tang is the latest venture from David Tang, the entrepreneur and socialite behind the Shanghai Tang clothing empire and one of the backers of Cipriani, currently the hottest restaurant in Mayfair. I'd actually been to China Tang once before, but that was on a Tuesday lunchtime and it was almost completely deserted. This time round it was heaving, giving the impression that David Tang has a bona fide hit on his hands.

I ended up waiting 20 minutes, which is fairly normal for a hot restaurant, and the bar area is quite a pleasant place to hang out. With its sumptuous leather seats and teak wood panelling, it's almost like being ensconced in a Roll's Royce. There are plenty of people-watching opportunities, too, the typical customer being a louche, fortysomething playboy with a pretty young girl on his arm. If Prince Andrew ever manages to persuade Keira Knightley to go out on a date, this is where he'll take her.

The dining room itself is a bit more ostentatious. As we walked in, my companion said she felt as if she was entering one of Saddam Hussein's palaces and, even if that was a little harsh, the interior certainly wouldn't have looked out of place in Dictators' Homes, Peter York's new coffee table book. The main dining area is dominated by four mirrored pillars and the walls are decorated with large, garish paintings. If I had to sum it up, I'd say it looked like the grandest Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills, rather than an authentic slice of Cantonese culture.

On my first visit, I had a two-course meal that consisted entirely of Peking duck, but this time round I was more adventurous, starting with an assortment of dim sum and following up with fried chicken, minced pigeon and wok fried prawns. It was all above average, if not quite up to the standards of Hakkasan and Yauatcha, currently the two best Chinese restaurants in London. My only real complaint concerns the price, which was extortionately high. For instance, my dish of wok fried prawns was £22, which, given that it only included five prawns, works out at £4.40 per mouthful. They were good, but not that good.

My favourite member of staff was the sommelier. I'm a connoisseur of snotty French waiters, but this man deserves a Chevalier Medal. He first corrected by pronunciation of "Pinot Blanc", then my pronunciation of "Hugel"--not bad for a conversation that lasted only 10 seconds. He didn't merely correct it, either, but feigned not to understand what I was saying, as if sounding the "c" in "Blanc" made the word utterly incomprehensible. I take my hat off to David Tang, who must have had to trawl the grandest restaurants in Paris to find such a prize specimen of the breed.

All in all, then, not a bad new addition to the ranks of London's plutocratic eating houses, though anyone interested in checking it out should avoid the second sitting in the evening if they don't want to be kept waiting for 45 minutes.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Twitter @UNITEDinHF @HamUnited @FulhamCharity @QPRtrust Cheers.  (1 day ago)


The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Beware the soft Stalinists of the campus by David Aaronovitch -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Corbyn's first seven days -
Corbin's cabinet chaos by Darren McCaffrey -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Jeremy Corbyn's politics are a fantasy – just like Alice in Wonderland by Tony Blair -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -
In defence of free schools by Toby Young -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Neil
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film