Hao Zhan

Hao Zhan has been on the list for some time, although has been on the “special occasion” list since prices are much higher than your ordinary Chinese restaurant. Fortunately, I found out this restaurant is bookable using the Taste London card, where you can order 2-4-1 on dishes, making it a much more reasonably priced meal after all. Hao Zhan distinguishes itself from other places in Chinatown, taking a more modern and upscale theme on Chinese food. They offer a huge mixture of various cuisines even with dish like Marmite Prawns (didn’t oblige them on them on this one).

Tables for two are packed tightly next to each other, obvious that they are better suited for four people at a time if you want a bit more privacy. However the restaurant is brightly lit, and its black lacquered tables and almost-neon jade green sign (not as cheesy as you would think) definitely makes it stand out from its neighbours.

Here are all the dishes that we tried:

Jasmine Ribs – Amazingly tender with plenty of flavour, these ribs were a perfect way to kick start the meal. Its meat, slightly sweet and lusciously smoked, more importantly pretty much fall of the rib style. Accompanied by a bowl with a lemon wedge and wet towels for additional cleaning power.

Chilli Quail – We shared this as part of our appetiser, including small fried quails legs and wings covered in a chilli salt mix with fried onions. Flavoursome without being overtly salty. The spice was enough to give it gentle heat and add to the flavour without being overwhelming.

Assam Prawns – A strong, flavourful curry concentrated into a rendang-like paste covering prawns and served in a crusty bread bowl. The prawns were massive – much bigger than any king prawn that I’d seen and still flavoursome to boot. The curry paste was a touch salty, concentrated down and then absorbed into the crusty loaf but when eaten with the loaf was a lot more balanced.

Seafood fried rice – This seafood fried rice packed lots of flavour and would have been perfect as a dish on its own. This fried rice also had a decent amount of meats mixed into it. As you can, it was also presented nicely in a little container.

Honey black cod – As you can see from this picture, this piece of black cod was a generous proportion, even for the £18 it cost. The honey was subtlety flavoured yet was still present throughout the entire dish. Even the strength of the Assam prawns couldn’t take away from its flavour. Served with fresh asparagus and a sweet sauce (it tasted like pomegranate mayonnaise) we both weren’t too thrilled about.

Fried ice cream – This is a dish very popular in Australian-Chinese restaurants and I know of only one other Chinese restaurant in London that serves this. Everything about this one was almost perfect, from the crisp outer shell to the perfectly right ice cream consistency – neither too firm or too soft. The only weird thing about this dish was how they put tomato sauce on top (when I’m used to some sort of chocolate or strawberry syrup).

Although pricey, the quality and service of Hao Zhan is definitely better than your average Chinese restaurant. With the Taste London card, it’s made even more affordable and reasonably priced.

Our meal for two (including two lychee juices) cost just over £50 for the two of us.

Name: Hao Zhan
Found at: 8 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 5PJ, London
Website: http://www.haozhan.co.uk/

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