Anywhere like Middle Kingdom (Manchester) in London?

I ate there some years back, on a recommendation from somewhere. Thought it excellent. Didnt know that it had closed.

I’ve been away from London for a good while so not sure if they’re still good.

Chilli Cool near St Pacras station is a good Sichuan place. Very rough and ready but fairly cheap, the dry fried green beans are excellent.

Yipin China on Liverpool Road, off Upper Street in Inslington has a large Hunanese section on the menu. There were four of us and we orderd exclusively Hunanese dishes. The pigs liver with chill was the standout dish but all were good. Can’t remember the prices exactly but pretty reasonable as I remember.

A regular on FoodTalkCentral - @MyAnnoyingOpinions (who’s not on HO) - just spent three months in London. I am unsure where he is in terms of posting his reviews on his blog, but it’s worth a read:

It never fails to piss me off when some visiting tourist heads their page, or otherwise indicates, they have visited “England” - and then just writes about London.

Well, the page used to be titled “London” but then I inconveniently posted reviews of places in Brighton and Liverpool and figured it might be best to not annex them to London…

Thanks for the link, ElsieDee: I had no idea there was such an active London/England community on Hungry Onion or else I’d have joined before our three months in London began!

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Agreed about Chilli Cool. I ate there a few times while in London. Solid, hearty Sichuan food; it’s not as good as Baiwei but it did the trick when in the vicinity of the British Library. As a bonus, the prices are quite reasonable: if you go with enough people you can eat widely and get out for under £20/head.

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Welcome. We don’t have too much of a UK based community here but we can manage a decent discussion if push comes to shove.

By the by, to reply to one of your blog questions about EastzEast in Liverpool - it’s pronounced “East is East”. The family are of Punjabi heritage and, whilst the current generation originate from Bradford in Yorkshire, the first two restaurants were established in Manchester. There’s been something of a recent “thing” about Yorkshire asians setting up business in the Manchester area - Nawaab and Zouk to name a couple more

I presume the name came from the 1999 film of the same name, set in neighbouring Salford. The original restaurant in the Rainy City is one of my favourites - [Manchester, city centre] Eastzeast

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Thanks for the background. I thought the food at eastZeast in Liverpool compared favourably with places of similar ambition in London, but the decor was a bit much. Is it the same at the Manchester locations as well?

I really enjoyed East is East; I suppose it’s possible that the restaurant takes its name from the Kipling poem directly and not via the film.

Certainly not at the original location on Princess St, which is the only Manchester one I’ve been to. I havent driven past it for a few weeks but it seems to have disappeared from their website. Now, if they’ve closed that branch and I’m going to have to transfer my allegiance to the Blackfriars St branch, then that is in a more blingy part of the city centre. It’s also more expenisve to park there, so I may have to decide to cull them from my list and concentrate on Akbars - another small Yorkshire based chain of, I think, Punjabi origin. Now that is big and busy and quite blingy - I like it - as well as many Anglo customers, it’s the sort of place where good looking young asian men take their good looking asian women for dinner… Food pretty good there, although I’ve never quite rated it as highly as EastzEast.

The big Punjabi places are getting a little passe in Greater Manchester. New things are Gujarati vegetarian restaurants and Mumbai street food places - places like Sanskruti and Aamchi Mumbai (reviews down the list somewhere).

You may be right about the Kipling source although I had been taken by the location of the film.

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Booked, @Harters - arriving tomorrow. planning two meals at middle kingdom and will see if i can squeeze in a glimpse of the hunan. i mean, can you have too much spicy chinese food? hmmm

got the aBode deal, which includes breakfast and dinner at the hotel. have only ever done the tasting menu there so not expecting too much from them. if you know otherwise and can recommend a special cocktail or dish, shout it out!

Sorry, Jan. But I can’t really recommend Abode.

It was not too bad while Michael Caines had an interest - although never quite as good as it was cracked up to be. We went some weeks after he had terminated his arrangements with Abode and thought it not good at all. Not been back.

I look forward to reading your opinions and hope that its improved.

We’re not too worried since Middle Kingdom for lunch and then dinner the next day is already sorted. At dinner we will go for the most reliable things since basically the dinner is free. That makes it much easier to swallow, as it were. So it will be a couple of starters, the most decent main, a dessert and some alchohol - much much safer. We’re old hands at this nonsense. And of course reviews and photos will follow! (We weren’t that impressed with the MC tasting menu either, to be honest and went out for fish and chips or something after! And we are NOT big eaters.)

Not big eaters? You’re pulling my leg. Anyone who goes to Middle Kingdom more than once is going for the immense quantity as well as the quality!

The best bit about Abode was in the first couple of years after it opened. They did a lunchtime “Amazing Graze” menu - pick your courses from six savouries and three sweets. You could get a four courser for under 20 quid - a sort of mini tasting menu.

Haha. No, quite seriously we don’t eat huge portions. At Middle Kingdom we will have a starter and a main between us - huge chances that main won’t be finished! But I hear you!

Shame about aBode then. I’ll keep an open mind. I could use a lovely lazy day at a hotel but fear I’ll be running around as usual!

Just been looking at Abode’s website and it looks like they’ve closed the main restaurant in the basement, leaving only a revamped bar/brasserie on the ground floor. Things definitely reined in from Caines’ original boast that the restaurant would bring a Michelin star to the city centre - the man himself was actually in the restaurant the first time we went. We let on to each other - me because I recognised him, him out of politeness.

In response to the OP, Sichuan Kitchen by All Saints DLR and The Sichuan in Old Street are by far the best, food, portion and price-wise I have tried for Sichuan food in London. They both do different dishes very well e.g. water cooked beef at The Sichuan is outstanding vs fried chicken at Sichuan Kitchen is standout. BUT Sichuan Kitchen has recently been renamed to Han, and I am terrified about whether that means it is a change in ownership - will report back when I get to visit

excellent! i have walked past the old street one many times and not been brave enough to venture in. will take a deep breath and try it. we can then compare notes.

I’ve never been to Middle Kingdom and am no expert on Sichuan food, but enjoy going to Crystal China in Bermondsey. It’s not a Sichuan restaurant but they have some Sichuan dishes, and are known for their dry hotpot. Hotpot seems to be almost trendy in London now, but I still haven’t seen another dry hotpot. Portion wise it’s pretty huge.

Some posts on chowhound:

thanks for this, lex! i will look out for it. we used to go to Dragon Castle on walworth road, which was ok. he liked it more than i did but then i tried it after returning from ‘my other home’ - toronto - where i am always spoiled for chinese food. comparing the fresh and vibrant buddha’s feast in toronto to dragon castle’s gloopy soy-sauced mess wasn’t the best experience. i really enjoyed reading the chowhound articles…a bit scared of the number of times ‘vinegar’ is mentioned. any comments on that?

I haven’t branched out to the vinegar based dishes yet and I don’t remember seeing some of the plates from the chowdown, but they have a pretty large mixed menu of both regional dishes and western style chinese dishes, ranging from the very pedestrian to quite adventurous. You also see a lot of people just getting the hot pot. It can be quite reassuringly busy.

There was talk of them having a separate Chinese language only menu with different food on it but I haven’t spotted it if it still exists.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold