Xu Taiwanese Teahouse | London

Xu was one of those highly anticipated eateries to have hit London this year and naturally, it was high on my hit list. I'd heard lots of good things about it from friends who went, so I couldn't wait to see what unique creations Bao's creators would come up with. 

The decor is a reminiscent of luxurious dining and social clubs of 1930's Taipei and every little detail from the dark woods against vibrant greens to the pink velour seats, just oozed nostalgic charm and glamour.

The restaurant is split into 2 floors. We headed upstairs for our lunch spot facing the sophisticated bar adorned with a striking old fashioned Western clock. 

The decor and printed menu really set the mood and everything sounded so enticing. Since there were only 2 of us and we wanted to optimise the tasting range, we skipped mains and ordered 7 small plates and sides between us.

Peanut lotus crisps.

Tomato and smoked eel.

Chicken wings with sanbei glaze and caviar.

Cuttlefish toast with whipped cod roe.

Taro dumpling with Taiwanese sausage.

Pan fried pork dumpling.

Mushroom glutinous rice.

Out of the 7 dishes we ordered, the standout dishes for me included the tomato and smoked eel, the cuttlefish toast with whipped cod roe, taro dumplings with Taiwanese sausage and the juicy pan fried pork dumplings.

The cuttlefish toast paired with the salty and umami packed whipped cod roe was a fantastic assault of flavours on the palate. The tomatoes were so gentle yet bursting with flavour at the same time and so nicely done, as was the taro dumplings which had a lovely chewy toothsome bite to it. The pan fried dumplings are exactly how a delicious xian bing should be, juicy, crispy, fluffy all in one bite.

The other 3 dishes fell a little flat. The chicken wings should have been so good, but the sauce was too salty and overpowering with the caviar only amplifying its saltiness. The lotus crisps got sickly with the finely coated peanut powder and probably would have tasted a lot better just deep fried on their own. The mushrooms in the glutinous rice had been over marinaded and were again very salty and the yolk did nothing to add to the dimensions of the dish and the lotus scent of the leaf went undetected.

After hearing such great reviews, our lunch at Xu left me somewhat disappointed. There were some really innovative dishes that tasted amazing and I'm glad I got to witness them, but for somewhere that charges such a premium, I expected far better execution on the other dishes that didn't deliver.

Whilst I'm not in a rush to go back, I would go again to try new dishes. The decor alone is worth a first visit!

Xu Teahouse
30 Rupert Street

What do you guys think of Xu?


  1. That's a shame that some of your dishes were underwhelming. I didn't try any of the three that you didn't like, but I agree with the three you did like which I also loved!

    1. Ah thanks Charlie, I did read your blog post and I think you had more luck than I did! I'll need another trip back to reassess! x


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