min jiang’s wood-fired beijing duck
T sadly flies back to Singapore this morning but I must admit I’m slightly relieved – it’s been 5 days of endless eating and my stomach is on its last legs. Yesterday we lunched overlooking Hyde Park, at Min Jiang on the top floor of the Royal Garden hotel. Having already picked at a savoury muffin from the Grocer on Elgin and eaten a Tom’s quail scotch egg in the morning, we made a point not to overdo it and just stick to Min Jiang’s specialities of Beijing Duck, Xiao Long Bao and Sliced Pork in Garlic sauce.
The pork was first up and came thinly sliced, wrapped around shredded cucumber, with a mildly spiced garlic sauce. It was a nice light start to the meal although the sauce could have done with a bit more kick.
The Xiao Long Bao (served with ginger and vinegar) which followed were well-made, with a thin pastry that broke when bit into, releasing the juicy pork filling and soup within. T noted that although they were decent they couldn’t hold a candle to the ones found in China and Taiwan, and I would have to agree. However, they are still the best I’ve tasted in London (if anyone knows of better, I’d love to know!).
Finally it was the main event – half of a wood-fired Beijing Duck, which was served in three servings. First the crispy skin around the neck was served with sugar. This is quite unusual but the sugar does work with the somewhat fatty neck skin.
Next was the sliced duck served in two styles – the traditional style with sweet (hoisin) sauce, shredded leek and cucumber, and the Min Jiang style, with garlic paste, radish and spicy tientsin cabbage. Of the two I prefer the Min Jiang style, it’s a more subtle blend of flavours and allows the duck stands out more. Having said that, I do like the traditional accompaniments too, and it’s nice being able to switch between the two.
The remainder of the duck was minced and stir-fried with peppers and water chestnuts, and served up with lettuce wraps. The lettuce rounds were tiny (size of a poker chip) and looked rather pitiful topped with a spoonful of minced duck. It was tasty, but definitely the worst of the three servings.
Having eaten the duck at their Singapore branch (Rochester Park) it’s not as good, which seeing as they use the same recipe and cooking technique, could be down to the quality of the ducks in England just being better. If you are a fan of Beijing duck then there really is no better place to eat it here in London.
2 Kensington High Street
London, W8 4PT
t. 020 7361 1988