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.
51 Pimlico Road
|Transport:||Tube: Sloane Square tube|
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Average User Rating
4 / 5
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Visited the restaurant about 1-2 weeks ago as the fiance was giving a treat. Being of chinese heritage, I am quite fussy about chinese food in UK. Fantastic idea to have the dishes served in tapas portions and we were so full 3/4 through the fixed menu. Generally quite well cooked and presented though the braised pork bun was quite a let down. I had a bite and gave up as the pork was tough and dry, which was completely the oppposite of what it should be. The house red wine was very good given the price and it goes well with the food. It is not cheap but will go back again. Oh, and do make a reservation as the restaurant gets very busy even on weekday nights.
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