First off, let’s get the superlatives out of the way. Kai Mayfair has a Michelin star, a world famous chef, and plenty of fans that consider it London’s best Chinese restaurant, full stop. And yet with some of your foodie friends, it’s not worthy until they say it is, so give them a chance to jam it or slam it on your next group outing. This elegant restaurant filled with eye-catching artwork is great for dates, of course, but its set menu for parties of at least six is a thing of beauty, guaranteeing an evening of fun and culinary adventure without the hassle of, you know, having to order a bunch of different things. Pull together at least five of your most discerning pals and get ready for a dining experience to remember.
General Tso gets no quarter here. The food from Kai’s kitchen is both “respectful” and “liberated,” as your server will tell you. That means you’ll find plenty of classics on the menu, but with modern, inventive twists that make them different than anything you’ve had before.
Take your places around the circular table and get your drink orders in as the first of your nine courses arrives. There’s no lazy susan, so you’ll have to share the old fashioned way, by (politely) reaching over to your friend’s plate and stealing what you want–as your other friend robs you. It’s okay, you’ve known each other for years, so you can dispense with the formalities. In any case, there’s plenty of food, and, if literally hundreds of critics are right, it’s all quite tasty.
Sample some tender wasabi prawns, with mango and basil seeds. Slurp up some translucent Shanghai noodle sheets with sliced chicken. Tear into roasted Chilean sea bass, served in a caramelized marinade of Chinkiang black vinegar syrup, mustard, and soy. But if you really want decadence on a plate, make sure the waiter drops the tantalizingly-named “lobster & lobster” in front of you. Its Cantonese flavors of ginger and spring onions provide just the right kick to chunks of succulent lobster, and you’ll feel like sharpening your chopsticks and defending it from all comers.
Desserts are served individually, but don’t let that stop you from trying everything on the table. The freshness of your coconut sorbet and lychee agar-agar cutting through the richness of your friend’s Amedei chocolate fondant and Iranian pistachio ice cream will create quite the medly in your mouth. If one particular shutterbug has been documenting the entire experience on Instagram – there’s always one amongst us – you and your friends can relive this dinner dish by dish for years to come. If not, just savor the experience and hang on to the memories until next time. And by this point, we’re assuming there will definitely be a next time.