Kaifeng is named after the Chinese city in Hunan province, where Jews lived as long ago as the tenth century. It has traded here – away from the main Hendon restaurant scene – for 25 years. The dining room is a long, dark space with white linen on the tables.
The menu lists expensive Chinese kosher food of the old-fashioned kind: generally tasty and slightly oily, though with an encouragingly large choice for vegetarians. Seaweed or spring rolls are reliable starters, but our five-spices bean curd came in bland cubes.
A clear spicy fish soup lacked kick too, as did cold bang bang chicken: the strips of breast were tender enough, but were covered in a cloying sauce with no hint of chilli, ginger or sesame oil. Things looked up with the crispy aromatic duck; a generous portion of pulled duck meat with crispy skin arrived with the requisite pancakes, hoi sin sauce and strips of cucumber and spring onion. We also enjoyed a comforting bowl of phat thai noodles with slivers of beef and lamb.
Portions are generous, but presentation could have more finesse. Service (charged at 15%) was competent, yet sometimes lacked attention to detail.