The name is perhaps a clever little phonetic pun on ‘Lewisham’, where this northern Chinese restaurant has opened. But the three characters literally mean ‘joy, flavour, fragrant’ – hilariously translated into English as ‘Happy Smell’.
The decor is utterly basic, with a TV at the far end set to a Chinese channel, and at first glance the menu (with its 200-plus dishes) offers the same takeaway Chinese crowdpleasers.
But from #137 onwards, there are Sichuan classics (‘water-boiled’ meat with hot chillies, kung po chicken) and even more interestingly, dishes from Dong Bei (north eastern China), featuring plenty of offal.
From the ‘Genuine Chinese Tastes’ section, we sampled refreshing, ginger-tinged shredded potatoes (£3), shredded pigs’ ears in chilli oil (£5) and best of all, a generous, wobbling plateful of silky chilled tofu in a vinegared soy sauce base and chopped, creamy preserved duck eggs (£5).
In close second was a large claypot of sliced sea bass stew (£10) in a milky, intensely flavoured broth; large chunks of suan cai (pickled Chinese cabbage) lent the stew a refreshing sour note, as well as a curiously smoky undertone.
It was large enough to feed 3-4 hungry mouths. The staff are happy to recommend the more esoteric dishes, provided you show an interest in something other than special fried rice.
|Venue name:||Le Wei Xiang - CLOSED|
80 Lee High Rd
|Opening hours:||Open 1-11pm Mon-Tues, Thur-Sun; 5-11pm Wed|
|Transport:||Tube: Lewisham DLR/rail|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £35|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
most authentic Chinese food you can find in London, way better than Gourmet San or any other claim to be authentic and over priced restaurants. This place takes me back to China, hearty and honest food (go for the dishes written in both Chinese & English) and every time we go the food seems taste better and better. I'd take the trouble traveling to Lewisham every week just for Happy Smell :)
This is my favourite chinese restaurant ever. It is full of the maddest things I have ever eaten and I can't praise it highly enough- they even do deliveries now. The pig's trotters are divine, as is the tripe and beef, but the dim sum and familiar dishes are excellent for less adventurous or more sensitive types.
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