Ting with Ching London Bridge
Shangri-La hotel at The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU
020 7234 8108/www.ting-shangri-la.com
To celebrate the Year of the Rooster I was invited to the launch of chef and author Ching He Huang‘s special Chinese New Year menu created for Ting Restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel on the 35th floor of The Shard. The menu, which will run for the whole of the Chinese New Year period until Friday 3rd February, has been developed by Ching in co-operation with resident Executive Chef Gareth Bowen, and offers a selection of ‘Bamboo Baskets and Bowls’ based on traditional, lesser-known Chinese New Year dishes with Ching’s signature healthy and modern twists.We were met by the plangent sounds of Chinese classical music which wafted around the svelte, elegant space with a phenomenal view that Ting inhabits.The rather lovely Ching told us that Chinese New Year is all about family, togetherness and food her Chinese New Year menu has all the essential ingredients for a successful year ahead; with chicken for fortune, fish for prosperity, noodles for longevity, duck for fidelity, vegetables for cleanliness, wontons and seaweed for wealth all the bases are covered. Bearing all this in mind and as someone who needs a good year I celebrated the Year of the Rooster with a raspberry and white rum cocktail followed by a glass or six of Chairmen’s Reserve 2010 from the Grace Vineyard a classically spicy Chinese Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend from Shanxi, Southwest of Shanghai (£120 a bottle from Ting).After a rousing Lion dance display accompanied by drums and cymbals it was time for some nosh.‘Lucky’ Moneybag Dumplings of Pork & Prawn with Scallop were a delicious fusion of ‘lucky’ pork and minced seafood encased in a soft dumpling.Salt & Pepper Crispy Wild Duck with Mandarin & Kumquat Dip and Grilled Maple Pineapple was a successful contrast between the highly seasoned crispy fowl and the acidic sweetness of the fruit.For vegetarians the Broccoli Stem Dan Dan ‘Zha’ Mein with Braised Mushroom & Bamboo Shoots made a welcome appearance-the noodles al dente and topped by the rich umami flavours of the vegetables.Spring rolls represent bars of gold in Chinese culture so I ate eight and immediately won the lottery…Crispy Vegetable Smoked Tofu Spring Rolls had an unusually crispy skin that contrasted with the silky, smoky interior.Honey-Roast Pork Char Sui was given added sweetness by Plum, Picked Shallot & Dandelion ‘Spring’ Flowers. This was a refined take on the barbecued reddened racks of pork that fill the windows in Chinatown.For dessert we had passion fruit and red bean mousses-tasty little globules of goodness! With dishes individually priced between £13 and £18 it is actually quite economic to experience the Shard effect at Ting whilst celebrating the Year of the Rooster. If you can’t make it in the booking period go and try the à la carte and enjoy the view. I would certainly like to go back and give the restaurant a more thorough review. If you need a new wok the fragrant Ching He Huang has a branded one on the market-it’s made of carbonised steel with a nano-silicone surface, has a good handle and seems like a pro piece of kit.