It’s not only sceptics who reckon that dining at a Chinese restaurant in Mayfair usually means high prices for ordinary food. And, yes, apart from the set lunch menu, prices at Kai Mayfair conform to the stereotype. Hot and sour soup is a whacking £13, and don’t even think about the wine list if you’re on a budget.
But during the past 20 years, owner Bernard Yeoh (who hails from Malaysia) has successfully introduced diners to a stylised take on Chinese cuisine. The ground-floor dining room, adorned with an elegant aquarium, exudes quiet self-confidence.
At our meal, the kitchen showed an inventive streak from the off, with miso soup being paired with goji berries and boosted by a spicy kick. To follow, shredded lamb shank arrived with a yellow lentil purée: a tasty enough rendition, if oddly un-oriental. We had no reservations, however, about a splendid pan-fried sea bass with oyster sauce, finding each flavour to be distinctive: a hallmark of high-quality cooking. A refreshing almond curd encircled by dragon fruit and lychees concluded the meal. So, there is much to like at Kai – including the accommodating service.