While there are cheaper places with greater reputations, China House is a winning blend of style and substance.
This beautiful 1930s Shanghai-inspired restaurant stands out with its stylishly romantic vibe. Reminiscent of a scene out of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, the dining room is all about dark hidden spaces accented by bold splashes of color, but it’s the dim sum, Peking duck and nouveau-Chinois specialties that keep the customers coming back.
When China House reopened three years ago, we became instant fans. The tiny aquamarine bar, the deep red and black lacquers, the films playing in the toilets, the shelves of Mariage Frères teas… We could wax lyrical about the tableware alone but you get the point: China House is one sexy place. Not everyone chooses their restaurant based on style and service alone, though. When it comes to what’s on the plate, China House is up against 75-year-old restaurants in Chinatown, dirt-cheap neon-lit nooks with three-month waiting lists and street-side woks where hungry Bangkokians queue in the heat for a taste of perfection. Take the Peking duck: it’s B1,250 and you’ve had crispier skin elsewhere, and lighter pancakes. Or the dim sum: again, there are cheaper places with greater (and more deserved) reputations. In spite of all this, we still think China House is a winning blend of style and substance. The original consultant chef, Jeremy Leung, brings some very successful new treats to the table, such as the shrimps in a creamy wasabi sauce, which never fail to elicit oohs and aahs even when your co-diner is from Shanghai or Hong Kong. Despite our misgivings about the duck, other classics, like sweet and sour pork, can be truly masterful: wonderfully crispy outside, tender inside, and a perfect balance of sweet and tart. Our tip: go for the Sunday brunch. The grown-up atmosphere (no balloon animals, here) is a relief from the mayhem of the other brunches in town and, thanks to the a la carte menu, many dishes are prepared a la minute and served at your table. While China House is not a budget option, it’s still a lot more realistic in its pricing than sister restaurants, Le Normandie or Lord Jim’s. If you want to slurp up the best shark fin soup in the kingdom alongside uncles in wife-beaters, you know where to find Yaowarat. If you want the vibe of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love with a kitchen that won’t let you down, then you come here. Corkage B1,000.
|Address:||China House, Mandarin Oriental, 48 Charoen Krung Soi 4, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm|
|Reservation recommended, Parking available, Dress requirements|
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