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Chinese Food Anyone? New Mayflower [Restaurant Review]

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

I’m not a big fan of restaurants in Chinatown as I feel there are a few too many tourist traps mixed in which survive because there is a sucker coming around the corner every day. As always, there are exceptions to this “rule” and Mayflower proves to be the case. It has been on Shaftesbury Avenue for the past decade at least and from my experience is always busy on Friday to Sunday nights.



As we had made a reservation and arrived bang on time, we were shown to our table (they have a couple of tables downstairs in the basement in a little alcove; for some weird reason we’ve been seated there on the past few consecutive times) and promptly given a pot of hot Chinese tea and a plate of peanuts.


First to arrive was cockles with chilli and garlic, something we haven’t tried before but noticed that a lot of other diners tend to order. We weren’t disappointed as the cockles were fresh and had just enough chilli to give it a kick but not to numb the tongue senseless. Unfortunately, the cockles had some sand inside which spoilt the experience somewhat.


After that was a dish my group of friends always ordered when we come here, often in double quantities if there is a big party to avoid having to fight over the little morsels of fried eels in honey and pepper glaze. The fatty fish goes surprisingly well with the sweetness from the honey and the slightly crispy texture is an added bonus.


My two table companions enjoyed the next dish of Japanese tofu with enoki mushrooms but I found the gravy the mushrooms were cooked in a bit too bland. I’m sure this was partly due to the strong tastes of the other dishes.



A favourite of the PigPig’s is pork chops in red fermented bean curd, which isn’t found in a whole lot of other restaurants. There’s an aroma and taste from the fermented bean curd that is very difficult to explain; it is not just salty but also has a slight bean-y taste.


When we were finished, a couple of waiters came and took away the plates with minimal fuss and maximal efficiency and came back quickly with a small plate of oranges which were alright at best. The free dessert of the day (and most days) was red bean soup. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of drinking hot sweet soups after a meal even though I’ve been brought up on it, but the Suckling Pig loved it and had 2.5 bowls by himself.


Altogether the bill came up to £18 per person, admittedly a slightly higher price than usual but we did order more than ordinary. We usually follow the rule of “number of dishes = number of people at table -1, -2 if there are lots of girls in the table”, so with a dozen people in the party we would order 10 or 11 dishes.


Food - 5.0
Service - 4.0
Atmosphere - 4.0
Value - 6.0

It serves pretty standard Chinese food with no embellishment or any such fancy details such as “plate presentation”. In fact, the food is quite similar to home cooked food your mom would cook (but maybe not if she wasn’t Chinese), although admittedly with more unhealthy levels of fat and salt than most moms I know cook with. However, I would advise Western diners to stay away from Westernised Chinese dishes like sweet/sour pork and sweetcorn soup though, try some proper Chinese dishes instead.

Would I eat here again? Yeah, definitely.

New Mayflower
68-70 Shaftesbury Avenue,
Tel: +44(0)20 7734 9207

New Mayflower on Urbanspoon

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