London Food Review : Bright Courtyard Club

Nothing else quite hits the spot than some good old Chinese grub. Kris and I realised one day that we seldom go out for Chinese food anymore. Maybe we are still haunted by our past of late night drunken visits to Leicester Square, gorging on greasy, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and hating ourselves the next day.

Chinese food in London has come a long way since our clubbing days. Keeping the spirit of the upcoming Chinese New Year in mind, we decided to explore The Bright Courtyard Club for a midweek dinner date.

Inside, it is vast and full of clamorous diners. The space is well-lit with an upscale, traditional decor – crisp white table cloth, trolley service, full height wine fridge and a large aquarium filled with live crustaceans. Waiters were immaculately dressed and super-efficient, moving around at a frenetic pace with their ear-pieces. I only wish they would smile more! The menu had a more conventional approach with an extensive list of dishes for each course.

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From the appetisers section, the Mini Spare Ribs Shanghai Style were tasty little treasures. They were satisfyingly sweet, sticky, chewy, caramelised heap of meat.

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The Salt & Pepper King Prawns arrived fat and juicy, wrapped in a light crispy coating,  the vermicelli underneath adding an extra bit of crunch.

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The Dim sum Platter was a colourful assortment of little shimmering dumplings, engorged with seafood. I only wish there was more of it.

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From the mains, the Stir-fried Lamb Slices with Cumin Seeds & Chilli was spectacularly good, studded with billions of fiery dried red chillies. It was aromatic rather than swelteringly hot, with the cumin adding warmth to the lamb pieces.

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In contrast, the Diced Fillet Steak with Black Pepper Sauce was nothing memorable, although the meat was of good quality.

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We bulked out our meal with stellar sides such as the Green Beans with Minced Pork and Chilli (verdant, crunch, heat) and Egg Fried Rice (plump and deliciously soothing) – all generously portioned to be shared between two.

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The food at The Bright Courtyard Club is classical at its core. It stays true to the old school flavours and style of Cantonese cooking without succumbing to gastronomic trends. This retro approach is surprisingly refreshing at a time when new restaurants crop up everyday in London, vying for our attention. Prices are London-centric. The crowds range from families, work colleagues and groups of thirty-somethings. Judging by the filled tables around us, this place is clearly popular. It goes to show that not every restaurant needs Insta-gimmicks to drive punters in.

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Location: 43-45 Baker Street, London W1U 8EW

More information can be found here.

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