Chinese Afternoon Tea at Le Chinois, Millennium Hotel, Knightsbridge

January 20, 2015

On Sunday me and several bloggers were treated to a Chinese afternoon tea by Joe Blogs at Le Chinois in the exclusive setting of Sloane Street. A flurry of bloggers (or 'hashtag' which I insist must be the collective noun for bloggers) descended upon the gilded designer-label clad streets of Knightsbridge to sample the delights of Le Chinois's Afternoon Tea menu - a clever take on British high tea with an authentic and innovative Cantonese twist. In lieu of the usual scones and cucumber sandwiches; we nibbled on dim sum, scallop rolls, and duck pancakes while sipping on champagne in the dark red and warm tones of Le Chinois' elegant restaurant, in our own private room behind light curtains where we were free to mingle, tweet, and be as snap-happy as we pleased. While some dishes were comfortingly familiar - dim sum is a huge part of my upbringing, I was brought up with a traditional but liberal Chinese family and dim sum Sundays were a family ritual - like char siu bao, siu mai, and crispy duck pancake; others were delightfully expected such as the wasabi prawns, the mochi, and the pièce de résistance - the cake stand laden with dim sum. It was a symbol for the combination of the British ritual of high tea with the Chinese tradition of 飲茶 (yum cha). It amused me to observe that this meeting of Oriental-Occidental tea rituals paralleled the assimilation of my Malaysian-Chinese heritage with the London culture that has ingrained itself into my mannerisms and accent. Anyway, enough of my words - allow my food photography to do the talking.




A Sunday afternoon, languid but for the hashtag of bloggers hard at work with an army of cameras and phones coming out to play.



Delicately crispy and paper thin, the 'wings' on these butterfly prawns were as much a visual delight as it was a textural and flavourful one.

The most tender beef (I think) I've ever had the pleasure of slipping ever so smoothly off a skewer.



The mochi was an unexpected arrival, as I usually associate it as a Japanese dessert.


The wasabi prawns were a much needed kick - I could feel the impact in my nose when I shoved a whole one into my mouth - when I started slipping into a dim sum and champagne-induced coma. By the end of it I had gone from #ToastOfTheTown to #NappingOnTheTable - true story.




The showstopper I mentioned above - a cake stand bearing Cantonese dim sum both traditional and with a Japanese twist. To be honest I've never enjoyed British high tea as much as my Chinese counterparts - you know the sort, the Orientals who stop over The Berkeley for high tea the moment they touch down in London and take photos the whole time. I'd much rather while an afternoon away having yum cha - a preference I took with me from Malaysia when I moved to London. So while the other bloggers oohed-and-ahhed over the novel factor of the little savoury parcels from the Orient, I was mostly washed over with nostalgia and also struck by a clever new way to serve dim sum. 


Calamari in shot glasses and spring rolls.



Much to our delight, we were treated to a demonstration of the finesse and expertise of slicing thin layers of crispy duck - the scoring on the meat is meticulous and the skin so finely sliced you could almost call it translucent. 



Once again, while some of the bloggers were transfixed by the exoticism of it all I was mostly homesick for the finer aspects of my Chinese heritage- happily I'll be back in the throng of it next week, just in time for Chinese New Year!


I find it pleasing that the diamond grid of my purse echoed the lines of Le Chinois's skylight windows.



You've seen my photos and read my words, now here are some from Le Chinois themselves -

"Le Chinois Restaurant and Bar offers modern Chinese cuisine in an exclusive setting on Sloane Street. Le Chinois has been inspired by the award-winning Hua Ting Restaurant at the Orchard Hotel Singapore, celebrated for its fine dining and the exquisite culinary experience, with its traditional, yet innovative, Cantonese cuisine. 
Since opening in 2012, Le Chinois Restaurant and Bar has offered guests an exquisite and unique dining experience, with sophisticated and contemporary culinary creations. The restaurant showcases Cantonese lifestyle and art, and celebrates the traditional flavors of the East. Just a few months after the restaurant was opened, Le Chinois was awarded two prestigious AA Rosettes and Head Chef, Anthony Kong and his team are working hard to gain further recognition and accolades for their skills and culinary excellence. Fitting with the Asian culture, our à la carte menu is designed with sharing in mind. We suggest that you share dishes amongst your friends and companions, and embrace this custom as well."
We had the dim sum menu (available daily from 12 - 5pm) and there is also the  à la carte menu, lunch menu and sharing menus to choose from. You can find Le Chinois at The Millennium Hotel in Knighsbridge - 17 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9NU. I was invited to review Le Chinois but all opinions and words are, as always, audaciously and truthfully mine. x

8 comments:

  1. Your photos look great and is really nice to read your rake on the whole thing! I still haven't done anything with mine. Bad, bad blogger!

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    1. Get blogging, I wanna see your photos! x

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  2. This would be my perfect afternoon tea! Goodbye sandwiches and scones! Hello dim sum!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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    1. Angie I'm glad we're on the same page about afternoon tea! You just can't beat a bit of dim sum before dinner! x

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  3. What a great way to do afternoon tea - dim sum over fancy cakes any day please! Looks delish :)

    Rosie xx

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  4. Hello sweetie, I want to invite you to join my giveaway, you can win a lovely necklace! :) I hope you join and I hope you win, good luck! By the way Love this post!

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  5. this looks amazing & i love your photography!

    xx danielle // shades of danielle // bloglovin

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  6. BAHA. Totally going to refer to a group of bloggers as a # from now on. How interesting that they decided to marry dim sum with afternoon tea - I used to go for DS every weekend with my family, gotta bring back that tradition! xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure

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