Ideally situated in the heart of London’s West End, a short walk from the busy thoroughfares of Leicester Square and Covent Garden, PF Chang’s Asian Table, is a wonderful place to stop off and enjoy the extraordinary flavours of Asian cuisine.
Founded in the early 1990’s by Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, P F Chang’s Asian Table is a chain of restaurants which celebrates the traditional cooking methods of the orient with dishes produced from scratch. With over 200 locations across the United States and a further 66 spread across 19 other countries, the concept has grown to a worldwide scale.
We were politely greeted on arrival and shown to our table at the back of the restaurant, where we had a view of the kitchen and could observe the workmanship of the chef first-hand. A brief inspection of the drinks menu followed and what caught our eye amongst the wines and beers on offer was the intriguing cocktails, with ingredients that included, besides the usual spirits and fruit juices, additions such as jam, cardamom, basil, green tea and soy sauce! Despite being unusual, the taste was really rather pleasant and went down very well. The Xiang Xiang Fizz, with pistachio vodka, honey, lemon, soy sauce and soda and the Luck + Fortune with gin, Thai basil, mandarin liquor, kumquat jam and lemon were particular favourites.
For starter we had pan-seared pork dumplings drizzled with soy and chilli and handmade lobster and shrimp spring roll. The dumplings were wonderfully tasty and the seasoning was spot-on, the spring roll is made from sweet lobster claw and knuckle meat, and loses none of the flavour and comes with a beautiful Thai curry aioli.
Main course was an equally tough decision. Despite being tempted by a variety of steak, chicken and fish dishes, we selected the Mongolian beef and Chinese BBQ pork ribs – excellent choices they were too! The beef was extremely tender and caramelised in dark soy sauce with a hint of garlic; this produced a beautiful strong beef flavour. The ribs were slow braised and just fell off the bone and were served in a delicious barbeque sauce. Together with side dishes of lo Mein noodles and fried jasmine rice, the course was extremely satisfying and filling.
The meal concluded with dessert from their “Pastry Lab”. Again, this proved a difficult decision, with deconstructed lemon meringue, strawberries and cream macaroons and mixed berry trifle amongst the dishes on offer. However we went for a white chocolate bomb and the Pina colada cheesecake. The visually pleasing chocolate bomb was filled with honeycomb, popping candy, chocolate soil and hazelnuts with a hazelnut ice cream. A hot toffee sauce was poured over the bomb to melt it and the contents oozed out to produce a dreamy concoction of flavours and sweetness. The cheesecake came with its own creative add-on, a coconut shell filled with pineapple rum to bring an appreciative end to the proceedings.
Creating their dishes daily and fresh from scratch is an excellent selling point for P.F. Chang’s Asian Table. The prepared food is delicious and the dishes and cocktails inventive. The London addition to the group is no different and even if you do not have time for a full 3-course meal, to sample a single dish will make you want to return.