I finished my meal and I was full. Not just 80% I-can-eat-a-crème-caramel-if-I have-to full, but more I-gained-a-jeans-size full.
Hunan is a Chinese restaurant on Pimlico Road and if you’re not familiar with that part of town I suggest you acquaint yourself with it now. Daylesford Organic, The Orange, Pimlico 101 and Tinello live and thrive on this street, so it’s a real food destination.
When we arrived the restaurant was very busy. In fact, it was so busy that we had to wait at least 15 minutes for our table to get ready. The maître d’ was very apologetic and kept jumping up and down, making his excuses and offering a free drink on the house. Now that’s what I call service.
What I immediately liked about Hunan once we sat down was the menu (or the no-menu). The waiter asks about your likes and dislikes, if you have any allergies or special request and then creates an order from these answers. So simple. And also brilliant if you’re going with someone who takes 20 minutes to make up their mind to have steak, but changes to fish last minute. You don’t get food envy either.
I think I lost count how many dishes we were served, but we must have had at least 12 plates of true gastronomy. My chopsticks clattered as I devoured a mix of various dumplings, pork-filled mushrooms, chilli squid, deep-fried prawn patties, minced pork broth, scallops, tempura runner beans with chilli, minced chicken on a lettuce leaf and so on and so forth.
Apart from a miserable tofu wrapped in spinach plate, conversation sometimes stopped of pure satisfaction. We rounded off with deep-fried banana and toffee and ice cream, which was nice but didn’t have that wow-factor.
The décor is a tad yellow and bland, but this is not a restaurant you visit because of its exciting and edgy look (in fact, you won’t find many of these in SW1 anyway). The food is the epicentre of Hunan and you hardly notice the other guests as you wait with excitement for what the chef will have prepared next. If not even fellow diners are a distraction, that is one fine food rating.