[London] Xu on Rupert Street, Soho

Xu is by the same people behind the wildly popular Bao in Soho, albeit a more formal one. Pitching modernised Brit-Taiwanese cuisine, Xu is by the Nottingham-born Chung siblings, Shing Tat & Wai Ting, plus Shing Tat’s wife, Chang Erchen, backed financially by the Sethi family, better-known for their posh Michelin-starred British-Indian dining establishments, Trishna and Gymkhana.

Whereas Bao offers Taiwanese street food amidst cramped spartan surroundings, Xu (named after Erchen’s grandfather) serves a more formal version of Taiwanese cuisine amidst similarly cramped but more polished décor reminiscent of 1930s Taipei.

I opted to try an exotic-sounding Lo Tsui Ke - Hong Yu tea, gin, white miso & apple juice - from their short cocktail menu - it was good.

Like Bao, Xu’s cuisine is Chinese/Taiwanese in appearance (and origins), but seemed expertly & intentionally tweaked to suit local British palates.

  1. Lotus root crisps with crushed peanuts & watermelon syrup.

  2. Chilled clams with chilli marinade and basil oil.

  3. Braised chicken wings glazed with “san pei” sauce, topped with caviar; and Jian Bing - minced pork-scallion-filled juicy pastry parcels.

  1. Short-rib beef & bone marrow topped with potato crumbs, served with wheat pancakes.

Condiments include shredded leeks, capsicum and a kimchi-like radish pickle.

  1. Char Siu Iberico pork collar, served with stir-fried “choi sum” greens with minced garlic, and steamed white rice on the side.

  1. Shou Pa chicken - poached chicken topped with minced scallions-garlic, and a savoury sauce made from chicken drippings, spiked with pepper. Crushed golden-fried chicken skin is provided, to be spooned over the dish for an added textural crunch. Decadent.

One of the better Chinese restaurants in town at the moment - and definitely the one to go to in Soho/Chinatown.

30 Rupert Street
Soho Chinatown
London W1D 6DL
Tel: +44 20 3319 8147
Opening hours: 12 noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm Mon-Thu,
12 noon-11pm Fri-Sat. Closed on Sun.

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

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2