Located on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, Min Jiang delivers authentic Peking duck as well as a stunning view of Kensington Gardens. You can see Kensington Palace and some of Hyde Park, so make sure to come during the day or maybe evening on long summer days. Lunch serves both dim sum and a la carte, the latter menu was much shorter than most Chinese restaurants with a focus on Peking duck. As the name suggests, it’s a traditional dish from Beijing (where I’m from!) and very different to the crispy duck served in this country. There are secrets that restaurants have spent years discovering and perfecting to give the duck flavour as well as keeping the skin looking like marbled caramel glass. The skin has to be soft in texture but not too oily. If you happen to visit Beijing, you must try Da Dong (大董), simply divine and not just their duck, everything.
The restaurant aims for high end with beautifully decorated room and every table has park view. They also have a couple private rooms for events and special occasions.
In London, Min Jiang’s duck is for sure some of the best, though I need to try more places to say for sure. Also heard good things about Hakkasan’s duck. Compared to those in Beijing, it’s slightly above average, so definitely good enough if you are from Beijing and get a sudden craving while in London.
The whole duck is sliced next to the table by the chef, which was done rightfully thin and each piece with a layer of the caramel coloured skin. The condiments included both classics as well as Min Jiang’s variation. I normally go for the classic, paper thin pancake, a teaspoon of Peking duck sauce, some cucumber and spring onion (very little were given, I could’ve finished it in two pancakes, had to plan for 5 pancakes). Half a duck is about 10 pancakes, just enough for two people to have duck as well as some dim sum.
Second serving of duck - minced duck with lettuce wrap
You can choose a second serving of the duck from 4 choices, minced duck in lettuce wrap, salted vegetable soup with duck and tofu, fried rice with duck and fried noodles with duck.
The minced duck in lettuce wasn’t too special, not a lot of flavours going on, like a simple stir fry with discs of lettuce.
Don’t save yourself for the dim sum here, Royal china and Princess Garden both have much better. Apart from Xiao Long Bao, the rest were soso. Egg tarts had a shortbread texture, too crumbly, the layers weren’t clear and didn’t separate into flakes when I bite into it. The yam croquette and mushroom cheung fun were both bland without too much flavour.
Xiao long bao
Roast pork puffs
Pretty good roast pork puffs, salty and sweet at the same time with a very good coating of pastry. A bit smaller than the size found in other Chinese restaurants.
Mushroom cheung fun
Verdict - 3/5
Food (decent Peking duck) - it’s rare to find really good Peking duck in London, most Chinese restaurants do roast duck or crispy duck. The flavours at Min Jiang were good and the skins were soft and juicy. It could’ve been better if it was lighter as the overall flavour was on the oily side, more cucumber and spring onion would be good too. It can’t compare to the best in Beijing (like Da Dong), but certainly good enough to solve a craving. Dim Sum is not that good here so don’t save any stomach space for it.
Service (busy) - this place is always busy. I’ve tried to walk in last minute a few times and failed each attempt. Booking is quite easy and you can pre-order the duck to reduce waiting times, though not required.
Cost (£35pp) - for two of us, it was quite reasonable, see photo below for breakdown
Tube: High Street Kensington
Royal Garden Hotel
2-24 Kensington High Street
London W8 4PT
020 7361 1988