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A Chinese restaurant in the Bloomberg Arcade, from the A Wong team.
Let me guess. You’ve seen all those fancy restaurants in the Bloomberg Arcade and are wondering which one to choose. Allow me to make it simple for you: choose Kym’s. It’s got the looks. It’s got the service. It’s got the vibe. And, oh yes, the food is frickin’ ace. It’s all the more of a nice surprise because, I’ll admit it, my expectations had been neutral. I’ve eaten at pricy Pimlico Chinese A Wong many times (I used to live down the road) and often found it wanting: café-like interiors with sometimes abrupt service and food that, though always ambitious, wasn’t consistent. So the launch of this offshoot in a steel-and-glass corporate development didn’t fill me with excitement. But it was better than my faintest hopes.
The cooking was (largely) a triumph. Kym’s serves mostly small and sharing plates, with a scattering of bigger ‘classics’. But the messy, street-food-y stuff is where it’s at. Don’t miss the ‘salad’ of baby gem leaves, casually strewn with flavours of Thailand such as a lime-y, fish-sauce-laced dressing and morsels of crunchy peanuts. Or the trio of soft bao (they’ll bump these up to four if you like: a nice touch) served DIY-style. For the filling, you get Kym’s take on lamb from the northern regions – it was juicy and heady with warm notes of cumin. Plus a pair of vividly contrasting condiments: a smooth sesame-and-peanut dip, and a small heap of translucent, still-pickling slivers of raw onion studded with pomegranate seeds. Fill your bao, bite, then drift away on your senses. And finally, the noodles. These are tucked away under the ‘sides’ section, but ought to get main billing. They’re knife-cut (aka sliced noodles, aka dao xiao mian) and were longer than usual, but all the better for it. The frilly-edged ribbons like Chinese pappardelle, wet and slippery, sl slathered in dark, intense flavours, with salt, heat and the low murmur of slivered scallion.
Skip the classics: they’re fine but too ordinary, and your money is better spent on the smaller dishes. And give the oversweet berries dessert a swerve in favour of the ace Chinatown pineapple bun, its gentle flavours and myriad textures showing the beautiful balance of Cantonese cooking at its best.
But there’s more to Kym’s than the food. The room is double-height, and even though the lounge bar in the entrance and the faux blossom tree is a little contrived, it actually works. There’s a vibrant open kitchen running the length of the back wall, the dining area is clean-lined and casual, and our waiter was super-chatty but sharp, making honest, savvy recommendations. Congrats, Kym’s: you get the Arcade’s gold medal.
|Transport:||Tube: Mansion House|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.|
|Do you own this business?|