Chinese Laundry is a restaurant in Islington, which serve Northern Mainland Chinese food. It is small shop so I do advice to make a reservation to avoid disappointment travelling all the way to Islington and having to wait. I was glad that we had booked in advance as it was busy on Saturday evening and we had around 12 people for dinner.
The decoration from walls to the ornaments, has been designed to give a feeling of a 80s Chinese family living room. They even had the large water flask with the printed flowery design, which reminded me of those old days where my grandparents would add hot water in one of these flask to keep warm.
Chinese Laundry did give a kind of atmosphere that we have gone back in time, sitting at home with the family having dinner. Instead, that evening I was sitting with friends having a 80s inspired feast.
The menu is simple and all on one A4 page, with a separate menu for Chinese Laundry mix of cocktails and mocktails. There was also house special which was pork jerky (£3.50), but it was not the pork jerky that you would find in Singapore or Macau. The taste and texture of Chinese Laundry version reminds me more of the tin can double twice cook pork (回鍋肉). But then pork jerky was originated from China and adapted to what is known as Bak Kwa in Singapore.
The Sichuan Mouthwatering Chicken (£7) was not as spicy as it look with it being covered in Chinese Laundry own chilli sauce and chilli oil. This was a refreshing dish with the combination of sliced cucumbers.
Although the Chicken Popcorn (£7.50) is marinated with Chinese five spice and fried with sweet basil, I thought it lacked flavour. It was not as good as the Taiwanese version we have had at Old Tree Bakery.
I found the Crispy Tofu (£6.70) was a nice dish of the evening. It was served with a sticky soy and sweet chilli sauce, topped with almonds and crispy shallots.
The Old Beijing Lamb Skewers served with goat cheese, cumin seed and chilli (£9.50) was not as good as the one at Old Place. But what surprised me was the goat cheese with cumin seed and chilli tasting like the Chinese fermented beancurd. If no one told me it was goat cheese then I would had thought that they dabbed fermented beancurd.
The Pork belly with preserved vegetables 梅菜扣肉 (£14.50) is a typical dish made by many Chinese older generation, but this version was missing some thing that did not give me that feeling of home.
This dish usually make it great to have with plain rice with strong flavour from the preserved vegetable. Usually the sweet salty flavour make me want extra rice but it didn’t for me, this time round. It was no where as tasty to the one I had abroad or even the one cooked at home. But it could be the variation of this dish between Nothern China and Cantonese style.
Manchurian Lamb (£13.50) is a twiced cooked lamb belly that is braised with Chinese herbs and medicine, which I could not taste. It is served with a housemade picked vegetable with rasins.
Beef Short Ribs Stew (£15) is served in a tomato and broad bean sauce with Chinese spice.
Chestnut chicken (£12.50) is a slow cooked chicken with chestnuts and housemade rice cake. I found this dish really lacked flavour and there was more bones than meat. The chicken seem to be cooked for hours as the bones where soft to the point you could chew though each piece.
We accompany the dishes with Plain Rice (£2) and Mando (£1.80). If you are not sure what Mando, it is Chinese bun. It is commonly known as mantou 鏝頭 and is usually steamed or deep fried.
I wanted to try the sweet tofu curd but it is only serve for breakfast/brunch. It would had been my preference as dessert then the one on their dinner menu. However we did try the dessert menu and I thought we could had skip it.
Tang Yuan with ice cream (£6.50) was made up of taro sticky rice balls served with ice cream, topped with crushed ginger biscuits and peanut.
The special dessert of the day was jasmine tea bread and pudding dessert. I thought the jasmine tea flavour did not work as it tasted too bitter. Also I thought it tasted of stale bread.
We got complimentary Chinese sweets, Haw flakes (山楂餅) which is made from the fruit, Chinese hawthorn. This reminded me of those childhood days as it was sweets we use to get as a child.
Overall, I found the dishes at Chinese Laundry were expensive compared to other places in a London, which serve them better for a cheaper or same price.
It is a good concept but I thought the execution of the dishes were lacking quality. I have not tried their breakfast/brunch but it does seem more interesting and unique. May be it could be better then their dinner dishes.
(This was not sponsored. Prices and menu correct at the time of dining)
107 Upper Street,