“ Address: 37-38 Gerrard Street / Soho / London / W1D 5QB „
During a recent trip to London, my husband and I were around the Leicester Square/Picadilly Circus area when we decided to look for somewhere to eat. We are both incredibly indecisive, so this was bound to take a while, especially with the amount of eateries there are in these areas. We eventually decided on Chinese and headed to Chinatown.
We spent a while walking around, checking out the various menus and seeing what we fancied. I really liked the idea of doing some kind of set menu so we would get to try some different dishes, so this was what we looked out for. We ended up coming across the 'Top of the Town' on Gerrard Street, which looked really nice. The menus looked really nice, and they had a great set menu option as well, so we decided to give it a go.
We were greeted on our way in by a very friendly Chinese lady, she took us in and showed us to a table. The first thing I noticed was the PINK! It was everywhere! The tables had pale pink tablecloths, there were pink napkins, pink chair covers - it looked as though we had walked into Barbie's house and we wondered what on earth we had let ourselves in for.
We were quickly approached by a waitress, wearing a pink uniform (honestly!), and were given the menus. We each ordered a bottle of Apple Bulmers, which were priced at £4.30 each, a little pricey but the bottles are quite large. We had decided on one of the set menus, but it included a main course dish that neither of us liked, so we asked if we could change it for something else. The waitress said that this wouldn't be a problem atall and we were encouraged to choose anything else we fancied from the menu - great. The menu was pretty extensive, there really was something for everyone!
So, the set menu we chose was prices at £15 per person, and this included: Prawn crackers, duck pancakes, 4 main course dishes (BBQ pork, sweet & sour chicken, beef in black bean sauce and mixed vegetables) and then egg fried rice. We thought this was excellent value for money so went ahead and ordered - just swapping the beef in black bean sauce for satay chicken.
We didn't have to wait long before our prawn crackers arrived; they came in a fairly large basket and we had so many that they lasted us for the entire meal. About 5 minutes later, we saw the waitress heading over with our duck. We were given a kind of wicker pot which contained the pancakes (there were about 8 pancakes so we had plenty each), we also had the sliced vegetables (cucumber and onion I think) as well as the Hoi Sin sauce. The duck was on the bone when it was brought over and the waitress had a knife and shredded it infront of us, which I thought was a really nice touch and made me feel as though it really was fresh. The duck was absolutely delicious and we quickly devoured our large number of pancakes.
We were a little confused on receiving our main courses as we appeared to have too many. We had the BBQ pork, sweet & sour chicken, mixed vegetables and satay chicken as expected, but we also ended up with crispy chilli beef. Now I'm not complaining as I LOVE crispy chilli beef, and we ate it all, but we weren't sure how it came to end up on our table. All of the food was really tasty and we were honestly very impressed with everything we ate.
There were quite a few people in the restaurant and all of the food that we saw looked amazing. The majority of the customers were Chinese, which I take as being a good sign as I'm sure they wouldn't choose to eat bad Chinese food! I really liked that the kitchen was quite open at one side of the restaurant, meaning that you could see into it. I always think it's good when you can see into the kitchen as I'm sure they wouldn't let you see if it was bad.
We found the waiting staff to be very friendly, and the service was pretty quick. The restaurant may not have the best décor, but it was very clean and that's the most important thing to me.
Our bill came to £38.60 for the set meal and the 2 drinks, which I found to be very reasonable. Especially when you consider the sheer amount of food that we had for this amount of money (we didn't get charged extra for the chilli beef either - result!).
I would recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a nice Chinese meal out in London. There are so many restaurants in Chinatown that it's near impossible to know which one to choose. On this occasion we chose well and would happily return to the Top of the Town again.