Hong Kong-style speakeasy below Soho’s Bun House.
Bun House: a whole lotta fun with its steamy takeaway counter, informal layout and Cantonese decor on a buzzy corner where Old Compton Street meets Greek Street. But there’s even more fun hidden below ground at the Chinese joint’s speakeasy-bar-meets-tea-room. It’s lit by the glow of Cantonese lettering in green neon, which bounces off luxurious red drapes, creating a room as saturated in colour as a Nicolas Winding Refn film (although the owner is said to have been more inspired by Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In The Mood for Love’).
In among gorgeous design, there’s a lot of novelty in a trip to the Tea Room. The menu is printed on a newspaper and a jukebox loaded with vintage vinyl sourced from Taipei, Singapore and Hong Kong warbles out ’60s tunes, although a bold sign warns punters to look but not touch.
Authenticity is in your glass as well as on the airwaves, with drinks featuring Chinese spirits and flavours. There’s a whole list of imported baijiu, China’s national drink sometimes referred to as ‘Chinese vodka’. If you’re not up for a one-way journey on the vodtrain, ease yourself in with a Mango & Chilli cocktail, which features baijiu in the background of a bold fruitiness and heat that builds and tingles. It’s also the base spirit in the Peanut & Goji, a syrupy-sweet short drink served over a large rock of ice and good enough to treat as a dessert. Both were served with playful, almost-garish garnishes.
Bar snacks were just as good to look at, with the likes of pork-neck skewers and garlic chicken wings playing second fiddle to the excellent lacy dumplings, five pan-fried gyoza with a crispy lattice web joining them all up.
Of course there’s a list of Chinese tea blends, too. And with the Tea Room open until 3am at weekends, you could easily work your way through both exotic lists at your leisure. Anything goes below Bun House.
A throwback to 1960's Hong Kong tea rooms serving up gourmet Cantonese forgotten favourites, no steamed food! Famous clay pot rice with fat pork, velvet, underground, coal grill barbecue, original jukebox with original hits, new spirits and old liquor, rattan and leather, house brewed rice wine! All day every day, come soon!
|Venue name:||Tea Room at Bun House||Contact:|
23 Greek St
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Sq/Tottenham Court Rd|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:1
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
We had a really bad experience at this place. When our bill arrived there was a a service charge of £6.50 on it, which we paid without grumble, but the waitress told us that the bill was wrong and that the service charge was actually meant to be just over £12.00. This was quite bizarre because we paid exactly what the bill said, but she was insistent that the bill was incorrect, and wouldn't let us leave until we handed over an additional £6.00, which we did despite realising this was some sort of bizarre extortion racket. We had the bill and pointed out to her that it showed £6.50 but she insisted it was a mistake and demanded more money.
It's a first for me to be told that the restaurant's own bill is wrong and that the service charge, which should be optional anyway, was understated. To be forced to hand over an additional service charge before we could leave the restaurant made us feel like we had been conned.
Service was very slow, with nobody coming to take our order for about fifteen minutes, despite the relative paucity of other customers. Cocktails were fine but absolutely not worth the hassle and expense of being held to ransom for a double service charge.