Situated just off the Strand, a few hundred metres from Holborn tube station, Cha Chaan Teng is as quirky as it is intriguing. Serving Hong Kong street food reminiscent of the 50s and 60s but with a twist, this feels like an exciting dining experience, right from when you arrive. The decor is impressive and unusual, and the food has a uniqueness that’s really enjoyable, as well as being fresh, tasty and not too expensive either.
I was dining with a friend and on entering the restaurant we decided to have a drink at the bar before getting our table for dinner. The cocktail menu is impressive with cocktails costing around £8-9. I first tried the Lady Grey Fizz which was delicious, fruity and refreshing. The barman was friendly and when my friend asked him for a non-alcoholic version of one of the cocktails he was happy to oblige.
Once at our table, the waitress was warm and friendly, explaining the menu to us and offering recommendations, she even gave us a lesson on how to use chopsticks properly, something which we’d happily mastered by the end of the meal. My friend and I ordered a range of starters (£5-7 approx) to share, including chicken skewers and popcorn crispy beef, both of which were delicious and well presented. The bao burgers are a house speciality, we tried the hoisin duck and pork versions which did not disappoint. I highly recommend trying the bao and popcorn beef!
For main course we shared beef lo mein (£14 approx) with sides of egg fried rice and steamed greens (£5-6 each approx), again all the food was tasty, well presented and the service excellent. The portion sizes are generous too so they are ideal for sharing, don’t be afraid to order a range and have a bit of everything.
By the time we’d eaten all that we were feeling rather full, but having looked at the dessert menu at the beginning of the meal we couldn’t leave without trying the cinnamon doughnuts (£5 approx) so we decided to share it. The doughnuts came covered in cinnamon sugar, with an egg yolk centre and a condensed milk sauce, the combination of which was a revelation.
My friend and I left the restaurant having enjoyed a wonderful meal. The decor was quirky and fun, but also felt high quality and impressive, especially the main bar and the bao bar areas. The service was great, with every member of staff being friendly and attentive to us. The food was excellent, with a mixture of familiar favourites – with a twist of course, and a variety of new things to try. Everything we tried was well cooked, attratively presented and tasted fantastic. There wasn’t a dish that I didn’t enjoy.
Find out more on the Cha Chaan Teng website.