It’s been pretty incredible to see how quickly London’s restaurant scene has bounced back – over the past couple of months there’s been a huge number of big new openings to check out, almost back to pre-pandemic levels. One of the best so far has to be MiMi Mei Fair, which has just opened in, yes, Mayfair. Even before we arrived this was already ticking a lot of boxes for us; Chinese food pretty much being our favourite, and the kitchen being headed up by chef Peter Ho, who was also in charge of one of London’s greatest and much missed restaurants, HKK. And that’s before you even consider that the brains behind the whole operation is Samyukta Nair of Bombay Bustle and Javamar.
All of which is to say, we were very excited for this one and happily, it absolutely delivered the goods. Firstly, much like another one of our London favourites, Park Chinois (which is just around the corner), Mimi Mei Fair is an absolutely beautiful restaurant. Set in an old Georgian Townhouse on Curzon Street, it has several different dining areas in various nooks and crannies. The ground floor room with its wood-panelled walls and shining booths makes you think of the Orient Express (but is actually modelled on The Forbidden Palace in Beijing), while the neighbouring dining room has a bit of a vintage, art deco feel. Upstairs is a very elegant, almost Parisian dining room but decked out with colourful patterns, vases and Chinese artworks. It must have cost a hell of a lot of money, but it really is very nice indeed.
Luckily, they are not trying to distract you from mediocre food with glitzy interiors – far from it. It’s a fairly big menu and you will want to order it all (even though it’s spenny) so let us give you some highlights. The rainbow coloured selection of dim sum – ‘xiao long jewels’ – comprising chicken, chilli crab, king prawn, purple yam & pork soup dumplings; the crispy golden langoustine with Perigord truffle, and the roasted Cantonese char siu Norfolk Black pork with raw wild flower honey are absolute must-orders from the starters section. The steamed XO okra with shallot & enoki mushroom crumble is a fantastic veggie option, as is the Peking crispy tofu skin, hoisin sauce, bao pancake & pickled mustard greens.
One of Peter’s signatures at HKK was the roast Peking duck, and it’s going to be a signature here too. It’s every bit as good as we remember at HKK, complete with the serving of crispy skin complete with brown sugar for dipping and then tender roast duck served with homemade pancakes and hoisin sauce. You absolutely have to order the ‘Hokkien’ seafood noodles with scallop, prawn & samba paste, the clay pot lamb was another winner if you’re after something more meaty, and if you always order crispy chilli beef when you get a Chinese takeaway, you’ll definitely want to to try the caramelised crispy Mandarin beef.
MiMi Mei Fair already looks set to be one of the best new openings of the year. There were so many things we wanted to order that we didn’t have space for, so we’re looking forward to heading back there soon.
55 Curzon Street, London, W1J 8PG