A curated tour of Southeast Asia showcasing some damn fine dishes

Chinatown is hands down one of my favourite pockets of London, don’t let the hordes of dithering tourists and choice paralysis deter you. It’s busy for a reason, not just for Instagram photo ops under the swinging Red Lanterns. It’s a sensory overload, every time a restaurant’s door swings open enticing smells of dumplings, curries, broths and BBQ meats beckon you in. With not only Chinese but Korean, Japanese, Malaysian and Taiwanese cuisines to choose from, how the hell do you not F this one up? Fusion!

YiQi (which is Mandarin for together) hand-picks the top hits and lesser-known treasures of SE Asian cuisine and has dreamt up an utterly delicious menu. Executive Chef Stanley Lum Wah Cheok – formerly Chef de Cuisine at Hakkasan Group – has conjured an absolute crowd-pleaser of a menu. With “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” classics such as pad Thai, morning glory and mee goreng alongside lesser-known sharing plates (not to be confused with small plates).

The portions are generous and the flavours are big. We started with the soothing cordyceps flower chicken soup and the zingy oyster mushroom and kumquat salad before moving on to the larger plates. Upon the chef’s recommendation, we tried the plump scallops served with a hot, citrusy yuzu chilli sauce and the clams, which were a huge hit with their deliciously complex Kam Heong Sauce (which I learnt fuses Chinese, Malay and Indian ingredients). Other highlights included the snackable crispy Iberico pork which disappeared in absolutely no time, the prawns in a fragrant, tamarind-spiked Assam sauce and the charcoal grilled short ribs with its triptych of powerful little sauce pots.

For dessert we shared the “Wagyu Mousse” which is thankfully raspberry ripple flavoured. I’m all for experimentation, but beefy ice cream might make me think twice. YiQi’s cocktail list pairs well with their dishes – we loved the tamarind twist on a classic mojito. We’ll be heading back to try their Volcano Thai spare ribs which we saw a family dig into with gloves on (genius, why aren’t gloves always provided for ribs?). Bring your mum, bring your date, bring your colleagues, be adventurous and try something new at this great addition to Chinatown.

14 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BE