Not long after launching Bun House in the former site of Maison Touareg on Greek Street, husband and wife owners Alex Peffly and Z He decided to launch an underground den in the basement specialising in all things Cantonese. Simply put, the restaurant’s design is a work of art. Orchestrated by He’s interiors studio Five Line Projects, the room borrows from the boisterous 1960s Hong Kong. It feels quite cinematic, as if it could have been plucked from the set of Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.
Sharing common DNA with Park Chinois and Xu, a dark mirror fronted with green neon characters bathes the room in a sultry light, reflected across the opaline lacquered table-tops. The room assembles a plethora of beautiful textures that really play well together – deep red velvet lines deep dark wooden booths, rattan chairs fit seamlessly with brass and exposed brick. Towards the back, the bartender mans a small bar to create an extensive range of pithily titled and punchily flavoured cocktails crafted with Chinese ingredients. We were particularly taken with the Cigarette & Palm – made with Moutai Baijiu, palm syrup, tobacco liqueur, tobacco smoke and served with a candy cigarette.
However, beer goes equally well with the food, and the cooking is excellent Cantonese that deserves fanfare. Guests can choose from small or large plates. Make sure you choose a smattering of skewers from the former section. Chicken heart and chicken gizzards will suit those looking for the depth of offal, whilst pork neck and lamb shoulder will please those who prefer to stick to the shore. The brulee tea egg served with a tea tree nest is a finely wrought, sweet and rich dish that looks as if it might belong in an art gallery.
For larger plates, Iberico char siu served with fluffy rice in a hot claypot is a must-have and very nourishing. Lacey dumplings arrive in a quintet, all bound together with pancake crisped up on cast iron. Another offal dish, butter coke trotter arrives with gloves so you can attack the pig’s foot manually. The sauce in which its prepared brings to mind North Carolina style baby back ribs. We wrapped up the meal with a red chocolate bun, which is unmissable. All in, Tea Room is a fabulous new addition to Soho and will be popular with anyone fond of aesthetics and offal, however there are plenty of lighter dishes for those who prefer classic cuts.
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