Bites: Chinese New Year
Celebrate Chinese New Year - it's the turn of the ram this weekend - at the pick of oriental restaurants
Saturday 01 February 2003
Chung Ku, Riverside Drive, Columbus Quay, Liverpool (0151 726 8191)
Located outside Liverpool's Chinatown, where the restaurants have seen better, seafaring days, this relative newcomer has two floors overlooking the water, large numbers of Chinese customers and a menu designed to appeal to the discriminating. Cooking's Cantonese with dim sum during the day; for New Year there's the traditional roast suckling pig, and dried oyster with black moss. Their big party is on Wednesday, but the feasting lasts for a couple of weeks.
Chung Ying Garden, 17 Thorp Street, Birmingham (0121 666 6622)
Younger sibling of Chung Ying in Birmingham's Chinatown, but this is the one where the patron cooks. It's conventionally huge with a large menu to match, but there are many specialities among the more familiar repertoire. Try quick-fried dried squid with jellyfish and celery, and eel, belly pork and bean curd hotpot to see what marks it out. There's a New Year feast tonight and next Saturday.
Ecapital, 8 Gerrard Street, London W1 (020-7434 3838)
One of two Chinese restaurants shortlisted for a Tio Pepe Carlton London Restaurant award. The other's the newly Michelin-starred Hakkasan. This Chinatown newcomer is dedicated to neglected Shanghai cooking – the exotically named but not disappointing likes of lion's head meatballs, and beggar's chicken cooked in a lotus leaf and dough crust. Strikingly simple decor is similarly refreshing.
Golden Palace, 146-150 Station Road, Harrow, Middlesex (020-8863 2333)
Still a star of the suburbs after a decade. Dim sum is always a draw during the day, and shows the kitchen's skills in all their glory. A wide-ranging menu also covers all bases beautifully: roasting, steaming, stir-frying, sizzling and braising. Look for the more unusual hotpots and seafood selection that attract many regular Chinese diners. Vegetarians aren't neglected either.
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