If you know Mayfair, then you’ll know Kai: it’s been open since 1993 and has held a Michelin star for a decade. The kind of restaurant you go to when you’ve moved on from the capital’s more ‘trendy’ Chinese spots and are ready for something more grown-up: we’re talking proper tablecloths, plush carpets and a fish tank. (And, on our visit, plenty of faux cherry blossom dangling from up high).
As for the cooking, it’s a modish, elevated take on the dishes of China’s Nanyang coastal region: that is, delicate, with a focus on seafood. It’s sensational. Don’t miss its stellar take on lobster noodles and the brilliant black pepper beef (stir-fried with black pepper and chewy croutons of Chinese ‘croissant’). Or the equally kick-ass ginger rice, which, at £9.50 for a generous bowl, is a great way to make your meal go further. Or, for that matter, the stunning coconut, lychee and mango dessert: a festival of jellies, slivers and sorbets on a single plate.
If the prices are beyond your reach, consider visiting for Saturday brunch. The fifteen-dish tasting menu, at £55 a head, is decent value. But the version that includes bottomless champagne, at an extra £30 per person, is a special-occasion steal.