In the Lobby of the Crown Plaza hotel – The City and opposite Diciannove restaurant – the explorer will find two golden lions guarding the entrance to The Chinese Cricket Club London.
We appeared before them at 6:15 and were politely ushered in to a corner table overlooking the Blackfriars bridge. A mix of colonial club style leather backed dining chairs, burgundy upholstered sofas and splashes of lime green in the cushions and paint make for a soothing and cool interior. Well I liked it anyway.
Our host was a font of knowledge about the menu and on being asked about a recommended specialty he pointed to the Chefs Signature Dim Sum platter for two as a starter and several of the mains including the Emperors Crispy Duck and – if we liked spicy food – Northern-style Sautéed beef. We went for the whole lot with a side of noodles and one of egg fried rice and – no regrets.
Cunning and delicious Chinese
The first basket appeared in minutes. Nestling within were eight exquisite jewels of brightly colored Dim Sum, two of each kind. Served with Scallop or sweet chili dipping sauce – they didn’t stand a chance – and soon the nest was empty. All four types were delicious but of special interest was the Mooli Pumpkin offering encased in puff pastry rather than the more traditional enclosure. Looking ever so slightly like baklava – it was crisp, cunning, crunchy and delicious.
The mains arrived right after. First a beautifully presented platter with two rows of neat morsels which contained both duck and prawn topped with a light batter and sprinkle of nuts. Served with the usual side of cucumbers and pancake rolls -the duck looked dry but was surprisingly moist. Clearly there is a technique for getting this balance just right as it was here. The plum sauce was not needed to speed the rapid consumption of this delicacy – apparently an Emperors favorite.
Served with the duck came our other main of Northern-style beef. This was slices of tenderloin sauteed lightly and served in a black bean sauce of Sichuan peppers, coriander and chilies. The Sichuan peppers were a novelty for me and on biting one open I was surprised at the flavor and kick these little grenades can produce. I have long been a fan of Coriander and marvel at how it is used across so many cuisines. This dish – where it added a keen lift to the beef – was no exception.
As my guest commented on surveying the empty bowls – “It’s not often you find a hotel restaurant where you would choose to eat on a night out- but this one fits the bill”.
There were many other things on the menu we would have liked to try but that will have to wait to next time.
In summary, The Chinese Cricket Club London is a nicely appointed Chinese restaurant in a very handy location serving excellent food. The service is top notch and efficient and the signature dishes are delicious.
The Chinese Cricket Club London
Crowne Plaza London
19 New Bridge Street
020 7438 8051