A decidedly utilitarian Chinatown stalwart, Four Seasons doesn’t really do a red-carpet welcome (you’re required, for instance, to have your whole party there before you’re even allowed in). But once settled, you can expect professional, courteous service and a table for as long as you want. Plus some very fine Cantonese staples. Because while other London restaurants are exploring myriad different aspects of Chinese regional cuisines, Four Seasons continues to plough its Cantonese furrow: and it’s as good as it gets.
The menu features the usual dishes – among them sweet and sour, lemon, and black bean sauces – but the go-to dishes here have to be those three pillars of Cantonese cuisine: roast duck, char siu pork and crispy pork. All are pure meaty succulence and flavourful intensity, and served in generous portions. There’s a delicious soya chicken too, which, like the duck, is available as a boneless option, meaning no faffing around trying to debone your dinner with chopsticks... instead, you can focus on those flavours. And what flavours! The meats are as good as anything you’ll get in Chinatown, and need to be eaten with just some steamed rice and a pile of vibrant green choi sum to make you feel that life – and food – really doesn’t get much better than this.
By all means try some spring rolls and dumplings while you’re waiting, and add in a deep, rich hot pot of aubergine and minced pork to balance the simplicity of the meats, but leave plenty of space for the main attraction. With a few beers and complimentary orange slices, it’s a very satisfying reminder that doing one thing extremely well is more than enough.