St Christopher’s Place in the heart of London’s West End contains a vibrant mix of dining experiences to tempt any palate from seafood to Egyptian, Thai to Turkish. The latest restaurant to open in the area is Asian-fusion restaurant Cocochan’s. With a menu influenced by the cuisines of Japan, Thailand, China, Vietnam and other South East Asian countries it is a voyage for your taste buds.
The sophisticated contemporary interiors make it a perfect place to meet for an after-work meal with friends or an early evening date. Asian accents, such as lattice walls and black bamboo tabletops, create modern clean lines that harp back to the South East Asian region.
Downstairs is an intimate bar to enjoy one of their magnificent cocktails before dinner. The discreet snug areas in the former cellars create the perfect atmosphere for a little romance. The cocktail list in the main menu is bijou with just five signature drinks to choose from, but The Scarlet Club (£8), a mixture of gin, Galliano and raspberry syrup, is delightful and the Seasonal Fizz (£9) will make it hard for you to stop at just one – however the bar menu has a more extensive choice if you wish to indulge. In contrast, their wine menu is well developed covering a wide range of whites, reds and champagnes as well as including plum wines, sake, shochu, port and dessert wine. If you are not after a formal meal there is a choice of small dishes and dim sum to line your stomach.
We decided however that the food looked too good just to snack and chose to try a mixture of dishes from the menu. We started with some small bites – Chilli squid with Shichimi salt (£7.50) miso-cured salmon with yuzu goma (£6.75) and soft shell crab tempura with jalapeno mayo (£8.75). It is encouraged to share the plates and we didn’t take much encouragement to do just that. The soft shell crab, which is often quite hard to get in London, was exceptional and melted in the mouth. The squid was full of flavour but the salmon disappointed a little in comparison being slightly bland. The ‘Guilin’ chicken and water chestnut gyoza (£4.25) came steeped in a chicken broth and were generous and succulent.
After such an array of starters, my dining companion and I decided we only had room for one main and settled on the wok-tossed chicken in Szechuan spices (£13.50) with a side of baby bok choi in garlic and oyster sauce (£5) The chicken was well seasoned and the dried chilli a nice surprise that was cooled down perfectly by the soft bok choi.
The flavours of the food were diverse and delectable and there were many dishes on the menu, such as the Bulgogi ribeye with wasabi jus and the miso Chillean seabass, that we were dying to try had our stomachs been bigger and willing, that we will just have to return for round two.
A small word of warning however, don’t go downstairs to the loos after too much wine as the mirror lined walls will have you thinking that you are at a carnival and you may never get back to your dining partner!
Cocochan – 38-40 James Street, London – W1U 1EU – 020 7486 1000