As I mentioned before, going anywhere in the world with my family usually results in having to find Chinese food at least a couple times. The first Chinese place we tried in London, Royal China, was surprisingly tasty and affordable for a notoriously expensive city like London. However, not wanting to go to the same place again so soon, we decided to roll the dice and give another place a try, ending up at Hung Tao on Queensway.
Queensway isn’t London’s Chinatown (which is closer to Piccadilly Circus) but there are a number of Asian restaurants, markets and shops in the area.
Hung Tao looked rather authentic from the outside with various Chinese-style BBQ meats hanging in the window. I mean, that cha siu looks a little bland but the ducks looks legit.
The restaurant has been here since at least 2009 and while small, it still looks new and clean. It’s an interesting space with twisty stairs and hallways to get to the restrooms as well as another small dining area downstairs. The menu is familiar Chinese food. Soup noodles, pan fried noodles, rice dishes, congee, etc. Everything seems rather decently priced as well. Well, here’s the catch…
When we finished ordering, we were informed that there was a £10 per person minimum. Our server informed us that pretty much every restaurant has a similar policy (which is funny because there’s a Royal China a few feet away and I know they don’t have a minimum charge). Sure, that’s not a big deal but…it seems like everything on the menu is conveniently priced at £8 or £9 so it just seems like you are required to order more food than you actually wanted.
Well, the good news is they make a decent congee, which is a savory, Chinese-style rice porridge. This thousand year egg and pork congee (£4.80) is a bit thinner than I like but has all the flavors that I expect. By the way, all of you that see “thousand year old egg” and freak out…they’re delicious.
This is a preserved vegetables and sliced duck vermicelli in soup. I’m just not a fan of those preserved vegetables so I can’t comment. Looks pretty much like what you could get in Richmond.
This plate of plain gai lan (£7.80) is surprisingly expensive. It’s bigger than it appears in the picture but still. It’s hard to comment on veggies they basically just quickly blanched but they’re…fine?
This was my pick, Oriental curry chicken on rice (£7.80), and it was…gross. No, really it was disgusting. Pretty much zero curry flavor anywhere near this dish. Look at that color? Look at those pretty much raw onions and peppers? Oh, and the chicken breast is dry and flavorless. Why not use dark meat?
There are a ton of different combinations for fried noodles. This is a crispy fried noodle with beef and black bean sauce (£7.80). Not bad but overly salty and under (underly?) sized.
I also had a hot and sour soup (£3.80) that was neither hot, sour nor worthy of a picture.
Summary: Places like Hung Tao just make me appreciate the amazing collection of Chinese restaurants we have in Vancouver that produce top quality Chinese cuisine at comparatively bargain basement prices. Hung Tao has all the appearances of an authentic Chinese restaurant but like Maverick, they’re writing checks their kitchen can’t cash. Not every Chinese restaurant is going to taste the same, I get it…but if you’re going to different, it better be good. Give Hung Tao a pass. There are better options in London.