Restaurant Review, Chinese Cricket Club, EC4
�The Chinese Cricket Club may seem an unusual name for a restaurant, but there is method behind the madness.
It is named in honour of the Chinese cricket team, who played their first international match in 2009.
It lurks in the salubrious surroundings of the Crowne Plaza hotel, and the decor is elegant and understated, with sparse foliage dotted here and there.
The menu is mainly Sichuan classics, with a hat tipped to contemporary dining, and they are currently in the midst of a promotion which showcases specialist Oriental Chef Wu’s new and firey dishes.
However, we had been told that the taster menu contained dishes that made your heart sing, so after a glass of delicious dry and peachy presecco, we settled back to await the fun.
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The starters were a combination of an excellent prawn Har Gao (moist, succulent dumplings), fragrant soft shell crab in chilli mayonnaise and tea-smoked duck. But the pick of the starters was the hot and numbing chicken, served cold but with enough invigorating spices to heat up the palette.
Course two had the jumbo prawns with ginger, which were juicy but not bursting with flavour, unlike the accompanying dry-fired with green beans which were a spectacular explosion of taste – possibly the nicest green thing I have eaten this year.
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Next up, the dry fried lamb a seasoned treat, with the seductive and heady cumin tickling the tastebuds, and the gai lan, a type of Chinese broccoli, was rich in pungent garlic.
By the fourth course we were getting a touch full, but not enough to run our noses up at the tender beef in a thick but lightly peppered sauce. This came with Yangzhou fried rice – full of chopped cucumber and prawn.
All of this was ably accompanied by a crisp Sentillion Sauvignon.
We had just enough room left to appreciate the light and fluffy coconut and mango coulis, a refreshing way to end a filling, but not overpowering, meal.
The whole cricket club experience is that of a traditional Chinese eatery with City sensibilities; the excellent food is delicate, but also spicy and enticing, and the wine list wouldn’t be out of place in any European cellar.