Monday, 15 March 2010
It was the suggestion of 3 types of roast meat, a dish which was not on the menu, that first drew us hungrily to Young Cheng for Sunday lunch last weekend.
Sidled up next to the Mayflower on Shaftesbury Avenue, somehow Young Cheng had been completely off our radar. However, one glimpse in the window revealed a tiny but bustling hive of lively China Town action.
Young Cheng is packed with feasting and chattering Chinese people in every nook and cranny, tucking into bowls of noodle soups, roasted meats on rice and what seems like every possible Chinese "one dish meal" imaginable. It's no frills, super cheap, and I love it.
On both occasions I have dined there, we've found ourselves tucked into a tiny cranny downstairs. Not for claustrophobics (and quite amusing if you're dining with 4 burly blokes), but for the rest of us, this only seems to add to the atmosphere.
For Sunday lunch, I found myself crashing TPG's blokes' day. Over some manly banter about 1 armed push ups, we started with an absolutely delicious bowl of bone soup - swimming with hunks of meat off the bone, onions, carrot, potatoes and a moreish broth - and is always the free starter at lunch time. Nice work.
We followed up with the main draw card - 3 styles of roast meat on rice. Our plate of rice came loaded up with lashings of juicy roast duck, slices of roast pork and big rectangular chunks of crispy, fatty pork belly. With this we shared a plate of Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce, and endless Chinese tea. Now, this is what Sunday feasting is all about.
Tasty and satisfying, our bill came to less than £7 each.
TPG and I backed up lunch with a lazy Sunday night dinner last night (a week after our first visit). We had a hankering for noodle soup and Young Cheng seemed to be calling us.
I had been leering at the prawn dumpling soup of an old man sitting near the front door, and it did not disappoint - a plentiful and heart warming bowl of generous prawn dumplings, thin noodles and spring onions nestled in lovely clear broth. Exactly what the doctor ordered - for just over £5.
TPG had spied a laksa nearby (there are a handful of Malaysia options) and ordered it with pork (which is not on the menu but they happily offered to do it for him anyway). It was slightly too far on the oily side, but still completely delicious and mighty in size - for £6.
We could hardly eat it all, and our entire bill, with Chinese tea, came to £13. Service is fast, but helpful and on both occasions we've managed to enlist the service of a super smiley waitress - although their are some clearly more brusque options working the floor.
There are a couple of other branches of Young Cheng in China Town, some offering the dreaded buffet - I cannot vouch for them, and the Shaftesbury branch seems to be a cut above, so don't be confused.
For a cheap and cheerful taste of China, in the midst of the sometimes disappointing warren that is China Town, I heartily recommend Young Cheng - my new big man of China Town.
Young Cheng, 76 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, W1D 6ND