To be sure, there’s a multitude of great Chinese restaurants in and near Chinatown in Central London. And with Chinese New Year just around the corner, it’s a safe bet to expect practically all of them to be packed to the rafters during the Year of the Snake celebrations.
London’s annual Chinese New Year parade will slither its way through Chinatown on Sunday the 10th of February. Obviously, going out for Chinese cuisine on that day would make a lot of sense … if you’re patient or have the luxury of planning ahead and making a reservation. However, if you find yourself burnt out on Chinese food or still wishing to enjoy the Chinatown festivities without having to endure the crowds, it’s worth noting there’s a lot more on offer in this area than dumplings and Peking duck.
Here’s a list featuring four of Chinatown’s most interesting non-China related establishments.
C & R Cafe Restaurant
4-5 Rupert Court, W1D 6DY
Massive portions at minimal prices are the hallmark at this hole in the wall Malaysian joint. Don’t worry though – the food is flavoursome and then some. And once you’ve had the laksa, there’s no turning back! A strong contender for London’s best cheap eats and one of Chinatown’s most reliable standby eateries.
De Hems Dutch Cafe Bar
11 Macclesfield Street, W1D 5BW
Named after the Dutch seaman who purchased this pub back in 1890, the historic De Hems Dutch Cafe Bar offers an impressive range of Dutch courage (real ale and continental beer lovers take note!) along with a tasty assortment of pub grub favourites with classic pub atmosphere to boot. Drinking in a Dutch bar located amid a sea of Chinese restaurants? Yes, it’s cosmopolitan London at its quirkiest best.
Prince Charles Cinema
7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY
The latest releases, cult hits, double bills (there’s a Goonies/Raiders of the Lost Ark bill on at the time of writing this article) and lots of participatory events such as sing-long screenings of The Sound of Music, the Prince Charles of one of London’s best cinemas … it’s also one of the cheapest and arguably the most fun too.
14-16 Rupert Street, W1D 6DD
Okay, this ginormous Irish pub (with a big tree running through the middle of it) might be more kitsch than a leprechaun’s shillelagh, but with live music on offer four night’s a week and a “surely you’ve been to Waxy’s before” reputation preceding it, a visit to this mainstay boozer is not without some merit.
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