London Dining Notes: Two Newcomers In Soho – Xu and Rambla

One was Chinese and was located on a border of London’s categorical Chinatown – though was as distinct a standard fluorescent-lit storefront as if it had been station on a ritziest dilemma of 1930s Taipei. This is not a pointless image: Xu is presented as a “cinematic” evocation of that time and place. Evocative it is, with a two-story space visually divided by dark-wood open-work screens into smaller seating areas – with insinuate four-seat “mahjong” bedrooms that can be indifferent for dining and, yes, mahjong – and with lighting calibrated to be windy though not so low that a menu is indiscernable (the grill is splendid during London’s few hours of daylight). At slightest during 10:30 p.m., a sound turn was … well, there was no noise, only sound: a frolicsome sound that distinguishes eating out from eating during home. We felt happily relaxed, and (rightly) assured that a staff knew their things and would beam us well. If we had been fonder of tea, I’d have let them beam us by a restaurant’s considerable inventory of Taiwanese teas, though we drank Riesling instead.

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