We’d heard a lot about Min Jiang from other London foodies who’d praised both the views and particularly the restaurant’s famous Peking duck. But we were invited to try out something a little different last month at Min Jiang’s Summer Sake Pairing Chinese Food Dinner.
Situated at the top of the Royal Garden Hotel in Knightsbridge, Min Jiang was opened in the summer of 2008 and has carved out a niche for itself as a fine Chinese dining experience. The room, as promised, is jaw-dropping with a wall of plate glass looking out over Kensington Palace Gardens. On a sweltering day, as you’d expect from a venue detailed to look after one’s every needs, the air-conditioning was suitably arctic.
Our dinner was a four-course affair with each course paired with a sake, which happily for us sake novices, was expertly described to us as we went along by a lady from Masumi sake.
First up was the Min Jiang platter – with snack-sized servings of Crispy prawn rolls, cold drunken chicken, salt and pepper crispy fried squid and steamed scallop. This beautifully-displayed selection was paired with a Hoyo Kura no Hana sake – a very light, floral sake which didn’t jar with the disparate flavours of our varied starters. It’s the very highest grade of Sake where the rice is polished to 45% of its original size.
Next we moved swiftly on to a delicate, steamed halibut roll which was matched with an unfiltered Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo sake from Hiroshima – a cloudy sake which was sweeter and more robust. This was followed by a sautéed duck with black pepper served with a lotus leaf package of Min Jiang’s wok-fried rice with salted fish, prawns and scallops. This came with a distinctly floral Ginjo Dewazakura Oka sake.
Pleasantly full, but still with a dessert-sized space in our stomachs we moved on to the final course – a selection of chocolate dim sum (to which Maitre D’ Jason Li swiftly added a pot of needed hot-chocolate sauce). We matched this with a final unpasteurised Miyasaka Yamahai 50 Nama sake – which was a rougher sake and stood up to the chocolate well.
Min Jiang holds a number of sake dinners over the course of the year – and you’d be well advised to try and get a seat if you can.
It was one of those evenings where we learned a lot, ate well, feasted our eyes as well as our bellies and found a new favourite Chinese in town.