loti eats | poon’s

You may not have heard of Poon’s before, but back in the 70s and 80s it was a pretty big deal if you liked Chinese food. With a restaurant on Lisle Street in Chinatown and another in Covent Garden, Poon’s had a bit of a cult following (apparently Mick Jagger was a fan) and it even gained a Michelin star in 1980. Bill Poon retired in 2006 but now his daughter Amy is looking to bring the mighty Poon’s back to London, beginning with a three month pop-up in Clerkenwell. We braved The Beast from the East to go and check it out and we’re bloody glad we did.

It’s a short and simple menu and ordering is done via another tickbox menu on the table, so select your dishes and away you go. As it’s a temporary pop-up they don’t have a booze licence but you can bring your own for a small corkage fee. We can absolutely recommend you go for the cucumber salad, which comes with a very addictive vinegar and garlic dressing (we were spooning out the last drops of this after the cucumber was gone) as well as the fresh wontons in chill oil. We were also big fans of the wind dried bacon bao, which was not a steamed bun as we were expecting but a bowl of porky mince which you spooned into lettuce leaves.

For mains, the Lisle Street noodles with pork belly and bean curd sauce was the winner for us and perfect for a cold night. More delicate but just as good was a steamed sea bass fillet with spring onion and ginger. For dessert there’s a deep fried ice cream with an Oolong tea syrup which, despite the weather outside, we had no problem finishing off.

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Poon’s is well worth checking out before it disappears again. Hopefully they will be back with a new permanent restaurant later in the year.

​131 – 133 Central St, London EC1V 8AP