The Chinese New Year is huge in the capital, with London playing host to the biggest celebrations outside of Asia. On Saturday 22 January, the Lunar New Year welcomes 2023 by paying homage to the Year of the Rabbit, a creature which symbolises peace, prosperity and hope – and the capital’s finest restaurants are prepared to celebrate in style. From Michelin-starred hot spots to delectable dumplings, we’ve selected the top Chinese restaurants in London to visit for Lunar New Year 2023 – and beyond.
The Best Chinese restaurants in London
to celebrate Lunar New Year
Spanning three floors of a Georgian townhouse in W1, MiMi Mei Fair is the third outpost from leading restaurateur Samyukta Nair (the woman behind Jamavar and Bombay Bustle) and it’s her most fabulously flamboyant to date. The richly-detailed decor was fashioned around 1920s Shanghai and the imaginary private residence of Empress MiMi, with a jaw-droppingly beautiful coral and Wedgwood-blue parlour and a yellow drawing room where art lines the walls.
The food at MiMi Mei Fair is no less spectacular, with renowned Chinese-Singaporean chef Peter Ho serving up an authentic and innovative menu. Order the xiao long bao, which come in all the colours of the rainbow, before moving on to whole langoustine wrapped in crispy noodles and anointed with a dab of Périgord truffle. The star of the show, however, is the roasted Peking duck, expertly carved at the table and served with sugar for the skin and homemade chilli and garlic sauces for the tender meat.
55 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8PG
Often hailed as the best modern Chinese food in London, chef Andrew Wong’s eponymous restaurant pays homage to China’s 2,000 years of culinary history, offering up delightful plates of dim sum as well as dishes like sea bass with fermented tofu sauce, wok-seared wagyu beef and crab claw with cured scallop, all made for sharing.
Located on bustling Wilton Road in Pimlico, the intimate restaurant was first opened as Kym’s in 1985 by Wong’s parents, before being relaunched with a new name in 2012 by Wong and his wife. Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength, being awarded a second Michelin star in 2021, making it the first Chinese restaurant in the UK to hold such a title. Their innovative food is a treat for all the senses, whether you’re sampling their daytime dim sum menu of their evening ‘Taste of China’ selection.
70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE
Any visit to Hakkasan is an occasion, but particularly during Lunar New Year, when they run a special menu that celebrates good fortune as well as their elevated take on contemporary Chinese cuisine. Until 7 February, the interiors will be decorated with red wishing ribbons featuring the lucky Chinese knot, which signifies good luck and a prosperous life, and dishes on offer include the Lo Hei ‘Prosperity Toss’ octopus salad, cherrywood smoked roasted duck and steamed John Dory with brown butter black bean sauce.
Their regular menus are no less decadent, with stand-out dishes including Peking duck with caviar, roasted silver cod with champagne and honey and Wagyu beef sirloin. Start the night with one of their potent cocktails and prepare to be dazzled as each plate arrives from the kitchen. No wonder it remains one of London’s hottest tables in town two decades after opening.
17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 6QB
8 Hanway Place, Mayfair, London W1T 1HD
High above the capital’s skyline, on level 33 of The Shard, sits Hutong, the London offshoot of the glamorous Hong Kong favourite. This is a spot to come and be merry, where you can clink glasses of fizz over high-end Chinese cuisine with a side order of some of the finest views in London.
The menu – which bills itself as “occasionally fiery Northern Chinese cuisine” – is extensive, featuring all the finest dim sum, seafood, fish and meat dishes you can think of, as well as a few more unusual offerings like Rosé Champagne shrimp dumplings, crispy de-boned lamb ribs and pickled vegetable fried rice. Rest safe in the knowledge that whatever you order, it will be delicious.
33 St Thomas Street, London Bridge, London SE1 9RY
This unassuming spot on Pimlico Road may not look like one of London’s finest Chinese restaurants, but that’s exactly what it is. First opened in 1982, Hunan specialises in small plates and has been dubbed ‘the Chinese restaurant without a menu’, thanks to the fact that if you come for a meal here, there’s no ordering to be done. Instead, you’ll be asked what you don’t eat, before being presented with a series of dishes based on what’s in season at that time.
There are a few old favourites to look out for, though, like the French chips – not fries but in fact French beans with garlic and chilli – and their signature dish, a hearty broth of minced pork, Chinese mushroom and ginger. The wine list is just as well thought out, packed full of fruit Reislings and velvety Pinot Noirs to complement each dish.
51 Pimlico Road, Pimlico, London SW1W 8NE
China Tang, the subterranean Chinese restaurant at The Dorchester Hotel founded by the late Sir David Tang, is the perfect place to celebrate Lunar New Year in exuberant style. Its sleek polished mahogany interiors always get a cheerful update at this time of year, festooned with Chinese lanterns and spring blossoms by The Dorchester’s in-house florist, Phillip Hammond.
Book for their perennially popular dim sum offering, where you can order plate after plate of Dover sole crab rolls with caviar, shrimp fried dumplings and Wagyu taro puffs, or come for dinner and settle down to a plate of their signature whole lobster noodles and golden king prawns with salted egg yolk.
53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA
With sites in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore holding either one or two Michelin stars apiece, Imperial Treasure’s London outpost is a stalwart of refined Asian dining. Add a layer of luxury to your Lunar New Year celebrations by ordering Imperial Treasure’s signature Peking duck, which has to be ordered in advance and is prepared using the most traditional and authentic method.
The lofty marbled space just off of London’s Pall Mall is a sight to behold, with its triple height ceilings and grand arched windows. Their Chinese New Year set menu is packed with high-end authentic Chinese specialties, including barbecued meats, steamed silver cod, honey glazed prawn and exceptional dim sum.
9-10 Waterloo Place, St James’s, London SW1Y 4BE
It’s hard to ignore the opulent 1930s art-deco spirit of luxe-Shanghai at Park Chinois, with its gold pillars, ruby red velvet banquettes and sultry lighting. The Mayfair restaurant is also at the forefront of London’s cabaret scene – but while they may be dab hands at putting on a performance, it’s their showstopping menu that attracts loyal crowds year after year.
The mahogany-glazed Duck de Chine is a customer favourite and it’s not hard to see why. Chef Lee Che Liang and his 65-strong kitchen crew make it one of the most sumptuous iterations of the bird in the capital, which is roasted to order. Japanese wagyu beef (which features in no fewer than six dishes on the menu) is served tender with seasonal vegetables and the potted rice with summer black truffle is a must-try.
17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA
Both the owner and head chef of Kai Mayfair are Malaysian – but their imaginative Chinese-cuisine restaurant has maintained its one Michelin star since 2009. Head chef Alex Chow’s forward-thinking dishes teamed with the restaurant’s plush interiors and exuberant furnishings push the boundaries of what we expect from a Chinese restaurant in the UK.
Yee-Sang (or yusheng) salad, the traditional New Year dish that literally translates as ‘raw fish’, inspires their fresh list of starters, which include the Heritage Yee-Sang with salmon carpaccio and sea bass with sweet plum and ginger. Other highlights include lip tingling sea bass in warming hot pots and 18-hour slow cooked pork belly.
65 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2QU
The renowned dim sum tea house always creates a special menu in honour of Lunar New Year, full of crowd-pleasing Cantonese dishes. This year they’re following a playful rabbit theme, with golden treasure dim sum platters and floral scallop cheung fun sitting alongside Sanpei rabbits with sweet basil, spring onion and red chilli, and sweet sesame bunny pastries.
But while they may be best known for their mouth-watering dim sum, their delicate desserts are just as impressive, with many of them crafted as miniature works of art. Don’t leave without trying their moreish macarons and petits gateaux, which cleverly blend the finest of French patisserie with Chinese heritage and ingredients.
15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0DL
Broadgate, The City, London EC2M 2QS