Asian fusion is tricky to get right. A menu of sushi, dim sum, tempura and curry instantly pictures a cheap buffet on a mission to use lots of msg. But the solid existence of E&O proves how delicious Asian fusion can be when done right. The menu combines the best of Japanese and Chinese cooking into refreshing and unique dishes like lychee & cherry tomato curry, black cod shu mai with pepper miso and soft shell crab with jalapeno.
E&O (Eastern & Oriental) is part of Will Ricker’s restaurant group, which includes Eight Over Eight, XO and Great Eastern Dining Room. It’s a stylish restaurant with a sexy bar and a main dining room. The first impression matched Hakkasan, the people watch crowd and the colourful cocktails going around.
Weirdly, tables were covered in paper cloth, the ones in China Town restaurants where waiters can just take off to get the tables ready quickly without cleaning. One time only wooden chopsticks and cutlery were placed in a bamboo holder on the table like you are about to eat ramen. Dress code is minimal but the restaurant was so romantically dimmed on evenings (very difficult for photos), it’s difficult to decide whether the restaurant was upmarket or down to earth.
The menu looks amazing and it’s designed to share for the whole table. Portions are generous so don’t order too much. For two of us, the following were ordered:
Pork & Ginger gyoza
The filling had a strong kick of pepper and ginger, so finely chopped it just melted away in my mouth like mousse. The flavour wasn’t traditional Chinese but was surprisingly one of the best dumplings I’ve tried in London.
Duck, watermelon and cashew salad
A very sweet salad with flavours of crispy duck on crunchy cashew, sweetened and refreshed by the watermelon. It was a unique dish because Oriental food don’t normally use fruit in the main meal.
Sweet potato, baby aubergine, orange ponzu
The baby aubergine had an incredibly soft center and the orange ponzu did a great job to balance.
Miso wagyu beef
The weaker dish of the evening with a slightly chewy wagyu but the flavour was good.
Whole crispy sea bass, chilli jam and spiced mango
A very oriental way to present the sea bass that I’ve not seen anywhere else in London. The sea bass was perfectly cooked with a really crunchy skin. The best part was the lightly sweetened chilli jam with a pasty texture and a surprisingly strong kick (I had to drink 3 glasses of water afterwards, so spicy!). Only negative is the spiced mango, which didn’t go well with the dish.
Verdict - 5/5
Food (the perfect Asian Fusion) - the menu gave a unique take on Japanese and Chinese food. The pork and ginger dumplings were unbelievably good at creating those melting moments. All the dishes we tried were amazing, simply the best Asian fusion I’ve tried in London.
Service (very busy) - booking is a must and the restaurant is busy every night, including the bar. Though trendy, the minimal dress code makes it good for celebrity watch as well as family dinners.
Cost (£50pp) - very expensive for two people without any alcohol or desserts.
Tube: Nottinghill Gate
14 Blenheim Crescent, London