Hunan is a rare beast: a restaurant held in high esteem, yet resolutely under the radar. Perhaps it’s because the setting is fairly run-of-the-mill, with its awkward layout (‘front’ and ‘rear’ sections divided by the service bar) and sparse decor (oriental prints, the odd Buddha). The cooking, however, is anything but ordinary. You’ll be asked if there’s anything you can’t (or won’t) eat, what level of spice you like and how hungry you are – and the kitchen will do the rest. Arriving in waves, the plates start small (a delectable nibble here, a mouthful there) and get progressively larger. The cooking is not exclusively Hunanese (a style like Sichuan, yet more ‘fiery hot’ than ‘numbing hot’), but borrows from across China. We enjoyed the sour, peppery notes of a Sichuanese cucumber salad; the fragrant broth of our Shanghainese ‘soup dumpling’ (xiao long bau), and the chilli-laden unctuous sauce of a Hunanese dish of tender beef. After a dozen or so grazing dishes, out came the big guns: classic showpieces of crispy peking duck ahead of silky steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions; then chewy hand-pulled noodles. Only if you exceed 18 dishes (nigh-on impossible) is there a surcharge. It’s not cheap, and neither is the serious old world wine list, but you’ll feast like an emperor.