Glass lunches at Park Chinois in London’s Mayfair

ENTERING the glitzy Park Chinois Restaurant on swanky Berkeley Street in London’s Mayfair feels like you have arrived on a 1930s film set and are waiting for the crew to start the action. This heady nightclub-esque restaurant opened for business almost two years ago, by the uber-successful Alan Yau, founder of the much-loved, quality fast food chain, Wagamama, and the famed Michelin Star award winning restaurant, Hakkasan. Formidable Malaysian executive chef, Lee Che Liang, presides in the kitchen.

Park ChinoisThe interior at Park Chinois

Park Chinois is decorated with plenty of red chintz, floral comfy sofas and cosy armchairs and the brightly lit tiled and opaque covered ceiling gives the illusion of natural daylight. The intimate atmosphere is somewhat heady and probably best suited to night-time dining, with the dance floor taking centre stage and instruments at the ready to be played. The atmosphere created reflects the glamour and decadence of the ‘30s Parisian dinner-dancing scene, fusing French elegance with the mystery of the Orient.

Scampi shumaiScampi Shumai at Park Chinois

I start lunch with a selection of Dim Sum, including scampi shumai, summer truffle and cuttlefish dumplings and add a portion of dry, crispy vermicelli spring rolls with a crunch vegetable filling, accompanied with a side portion of sweet and sour chilli sauce.

Wild sea bass with soya, ginger & spring onionWild sea bass at Park Chinois

I have my eye on the house speciality of duck for my main, but I haven’t pre-ordered it, which is a shame – worth noting for a future lunchtime reservation. In its place I opt for the steamed wild sea bass with soya, ginger and spring onion, which is a wise choice, as the ginger flavouring blends right through the tender fish, giving a spicy taste to the entire plate.

Vanilla cheesecake, crumbled oat biscuit & passion fruitVanilla Cheesecake with oat biscuit and passion fruit jelly

I manage to save a tiny space for dessert and select the vanilla cheesecake with crumbled oat biscuit with an intensely flavoured passion fruit jelly, which is super-refreshing and light.

The wine list comprises mostly French labels with a few Italian offerings. I go for the fruity and dry Pinot Blanc Zellenberg, which pars beautifully with my meal. Food is on the pricey side but portions are generous and the service complements the impeccable decor. It has to be said that Park Chinois is a destination venue. I wouldn’t call it a restaurant – it’s more of a place to go to celebrate a special occasion for a truly memorable experience.

by Amanda Bernstein

Park Chinois, 17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA