Celebrate Chinese New Year At The TING Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel

18th February 2018

Londoners rarely need an excuse to celebrate, but with the arrival of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dog recently, sinophiles have been flocking to Chinese restaurants to indulge in some auspicious consumption. Dishes you order at this time of the year tend to felicitous sounding dishes or they resemble items of prosperity such as clams in their shell which resemble ancient Chinese coins that are supposed to bring wealth.

One of the top places to celebrate this year is at the TING Lounge on level 35 of Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard. At this height, you do feel literally on top of the world with a commanding view of the London skyline. The Chinese New Year menu is a pop-up collaboration with celebrated food writer and TV chef, Ching-He Huang and the hotel’s Executive Sous Chef, Daniel McGarey.

These dishes on the special a la carte menu has been selected because of auspicious-sounding names and also because they are accessible dishes that cater for both eastern or western audience; so there are no controversial dishes like shark's fin soup. Instead, they use market fresh, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients in keeping with these environmentally conscious times.

The menu has a pleasing mixture of strong, punchy flavours in parts and sections where subtlety has been appreciated. The first dish is their spiced honey and garlic prawns; which has been picked because the word prawn sounds remarkably similar to the word for laughter in Chinese. They have used giant tiger prawns for this dish and made sure there's been enough seasoning so the spiciness of the flavours really come through with this dish.

Clams, the dish offering “a sea of wealth” does make an appearance on this menu and has been flavoured with umami-rich shrimp and black bean sauce.
My favourite dish on the menu is her three cup chicken and pineapple creation. This famous Taiwanese dish is so called because of the three key ingredients which are sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, and soy sauce. The richness of the flavours means this dish is best accompanied by a bowl of jasmine steamed rice.

When we sampled a preview of the dishes, a few guests thought their golden soy tofu dish was rather bland-tasting, but I would disagree. It isn't as strong-tasting as some of the preceding dishes but this dish is all about the contrasting textures with the crunchiness of the outer layer being the perfect foil for the creaminess of the tofu interior. The chilli soy dip does add a kick to the dish.
Noodles are often eaten over Chinese New Year and birthdays because it is a symbol of longevity. The Zhajiang noodle here isn't as spicy as some Chinese versions. The sauce consists of stir-fried ground pork that has been simmered with salty fermented soybean paste to give it a distinctive flavour.

This Chinese banquet is finished off with a fruit platter of health. They have also created 2 bespoke cocktails using ingredients like Chinese rice wine, Lapsang Souchong, and yuzu juice to ensure your celebrations go off with a bang.
This menu is available for one month from the 16th February.
For more information on the Ting Lounge at The Shangri-La Hotel, see here.
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