Sorry, this place is no longer open for business, but we've saved the reviews for posterity.
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Little Venice, London
451, EDGWARE ROAD, London W2 1TH
- Warwick Avenue Station (0.5 km)
- Edgware Road Station (Bakerloo Line) (0.6 km)
- Paddington Railway Station (0.8 km)
- Contact us:
020 7402 0904
- Opening hours:
Lunch: Tuesday-Sunday: Midday-3pm.
Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday: 6pm-11.30pm.
We are closed on Monday.
1453 London Road, London SW16 4AQ
“Welcome To New Woks Cooking Halal Chinese Restaurant The First Strictly Halal Chinese Restaurant In South London Completely Pork Free No Alcohol Sold Or Allowed All Meats are supplied by HMC approved butchers New Woks Cooking...” more...
2 reviews of HSING in English
HSING sadly no longer exists. But please read on if you’d like to take a trip down memory lane…
Little Venice. A place steeped in history. A canal, a basin, a junction, an area, a place rich in foliage and greenery, a prime example of the grandeur, opulence and engineering prowess the Victorians seemed to have effortlessly displayed on road after road, garden after garden, bridge after bridge, brick after brick, time after time. There’s no denying the rich cultural heritage and natural splendour of this oasis of supposed civility, but unfortunately, for those wishing to dine out here, good architecture of an area does not necessarily guarantee good food. Without a doubt, a restaurant’s location can work wonders for itself, providing it with a head start from the not-so-lucky nearby competition, having a good image by default, and having the complete absence for the need to advertise itself to attract business. There are restaurants about town that survive solely by the advantage of their location, a classic example of this would have to be ‘Bangkok’ in Bute St South Kensington. Location first, sometimes the the food happens to be a byproduct.
Hsing is situated in a prime location; just south of the canal, at the foot of the Maida Hill, where the Maida Avenue ramps to a halt, and where the Edgware Rd dips into the Vale. It is a commanding position. If Cafe Laville is the Admiral of the canal, then Hsing has to be his right hand man, the Commodore of the canal. Not technically in Little Venice, owing to the presence of a number 2 in it’s postcode instead of the more desirable number 9, it still holds the proud title as the last jigsaw piece of the Little Venice puzzle, capped in snugly at the farthest right hand corner of the board. It’s beautiful. It looks like an art gallery from the outside, almost ethereal; with its full length glass front, Stucco-like facade, monolithic shiny metal curvy plinth and a roller-coaster of a glass canopy, it could be mistaken for a Corbusier exhibition. The whiteness doesn’t stop at the walls either, it carries on flowing like a tide, right out to the Edgware Rd beach front. It looks like marble, but I’m not sure what it is. It’s lovely to walk on though; makes you feel just like Torvil and Dean. Things get better as you step inside. The initial entrance is like a teleport, a sectioned off glass cubical that serves as a windbreaker and a secondary entrance to the restaurant floor. Good thinking there; excellent design. Inside it looks like a futuristic Teacup ride, with ten or so large round tables spread evenly from wall to wall. Upon entering the actually dining room, you are greeted promptly by either the owner himself, or one of the Mason-attired female staff, who will obsequiously lead you to your table. You feel important the second you step into this place, no matter who you are. The deference doesn’t yield there; it grows with every breath you take and with every move you make. Before you have even taken in your surroundings and adjusted your backside on the comfy cylindrically shaped encapsulating leather chairs, you are forcefully bibbed like you are a patient in a psychiatric hospital. It is at this point that you feel somewhat retarded. In the space of a few seconds, you have gone from presidential to retarded, and there’s nothing you can do about it. To refuse the bibbing would seem far too rude, but on the other hand, accepting it, having already allowed the bibbing to take place, and then to remain seated in the bibbed position, would be humiliating beyond belief. It’s a catch 22 situation. You are then issued with your menus and are given a reasonable time with which to assess your order (a few seconds). One of the oriental masons (a very pretty one may I add) will then return, diminutively perch herself at the edge of your table, and in a grovelingly demure demeanor, reminiscent of Oliver Twist, will dare to ask you if you are ready to order. You are now in a state of utter confusion. This is the same person that bibbed you a second ago, like she was going to administer your medication to you before bedtime, and yet now she is standing there by your side, as though she is about to receive a death-sentence. So effusively deferential is the service in here, that sometimes, when my food arrives, I just feel like sitting there with my mouth wide open, so she can do the honours of feeding me as well. In fact, I was quite surprised not to find a mason downstairs in the loos, ready and waiting to hold my tally-whacker in place for me as I went to do a wazz into one of the urinals. P.s. This is the perfect excuse for the removal of your bib.
The food is well prepared here. It tastes fresh, like the ingredients have been sourced properly. The menu tries to be a tad different, by labeling some of the categories of food with a peculiar alternative name. For example, straight forward classic chicken dishes would be found in the ‘Tame and Game’ birds department, whilst the ubiquitous duck in pancakes comes under the heading of ‘Wraps Specialities’. It’s all very promising, and a nice touch, which adds to overall masking effect. The elegant cutlery and stately tableware compliments the immaculate presentation of all of the dishes that come your way, but by the time that happens, the stuffiness might have become a little overwhelming. So this is the time to ditch the bib, spread the plates out, lose the chopsticks, and start to dig into the tasty nosh. Don’t feel embarrassed to tuck into your food here, you won’t get a slap on the wrist, I promise. When I say dig in, I’m afraid you’re going to have a little difficulty with that one, due to the sheer meagerly shy, sometimes even paltry portion sizes that are on offer. To give an example, try the ‘Crispy Chili Shredded Beef’. When the dish arrives (in it’s own spectacular nest), you’ll have a tough time distinguishing the shredded carrots from the shredded beef, such is the scarcity of the supposed titular ingredient. Nothing wrong with the flavour, quite nice, tasty, but I think this dish should be called ‘Crispy Chili Shredded Air’. They do their own style spring rolls called the Hsing seafood roll, which are unique and quite tasty. The prices range from very reasonable £5/6 meat/vegetable dishes, to an extortionate £40 for a whole Peking Duck. To put that into perspective, The Phoenix Palace charges £32, as do most decent Queensway joints, hovering around the early 30’s mark. £40 is unreasonable. Even the Dorchester charge £36 for a whole Pi Pa duck and 45 for the Peking version. And when it comes to the Peking Duck, it’s a bit of a hit and miss to be honest. I do recall having a good one here once, a few years back, but having said that, I most definitely do remember having a very lousy one indeed. It was just a warmed up roast duck which had a bit of soy sauce slapped onto the skin prior to serving (it seemed like it was cooked maybe a day before). This is most definitely not how a Peking Duck is prepared. The menu is quite extensive though, with loads of dishes to choose from. Try the Crispy Noodle with Seafood; unlike the Peking Duck, this one is a winner and a surefire bet. The noodles are tasty and crispy, and the assortment of seafood pieces look like characters from a superhero comic magazine, mini caricatures leaping from the plate. They do ‘sizzling’ dishes too, and unlike some places that use this term misleadingly, some of these dishes actually do come to your table sizzling. As far as drinks are concerned, they serve Chinese Tsing Tao beer here, which is a delicious beer, really fruity and tasty. Saki is also available too.
The overall quality of the food here is fairly high, there isn’t a shred of doubt about that. My only real gripe about Hsing is the service (and the Peking Duck), which personally makes me feel a bit awkward; and this in turn affects how I ought to be enjoying my meal. That, and also due to some of the slightly modest serving sizes they do, that sometimes make you feel a little foolish for ordering them. I want to love Hsing, I really do; it’s right on my doorstep, a real local, and the only Chinese for miles. But I can’t. To put it simply, if Hsing served food like the Phoenix Palace, it would a little slice of heaven. I’ve lost track of the amount of times in the past, my father and I have walked up to the canal bridge in search for dinner, only to be faced with the eternal Akash/Hsing dilemma, then always finding ourselves slightly naturally deterred by the thought of eating at Hsing, whilst at the same time being magnetically drawn to the other side of the road towards Akash. It always happens. By the time we hit Cafe Laville, it’s like there’s a tractor beam sucking us over into Akash. It’s not really a tractor beam; what it really is, is that deep down we know that for £40 we can stuff our faces in Akash, in comfortable familiar unobtrusive surroundings, and come out bursting at the seams, fully satisfied. I really wish it was like that for Hsing. As a little pre-dinnertime joke to amuse myself, just before the sucking into Akash’s tractor beam began, I would always ask my dad if we could go to Hsing for dinner. And it was a never failing delight to hear his excuses come pouring out one after the other, the prefabricated Hsing replies he had at the ready. “£120 for what, man? To come out starving? No thank you.” That was one of them. “It’s full up man, forget it, let’s just go to Akash.” This was actually a bit of an exaggeration and more of a chickening out. “Do you really want Chinese? Akash is a quarter of the price.” As you can tell, money was used at the weapon of choice here. But this was just a scapegoat really. I knew the truth; he didn’t feel comfortable eating in there. Full stop. I want to give Hsing 4 stars, and in essence it is a 4 star restaurant (by my Qype standards), but for it’s shortfalls, and for my personal preferences, I can only really give it 3. It ought to be a 5 really….. But don’t tell them I said that.
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After living nearby for a few months now, I really should check out the restaurants etc. in the area. So, one evening after work I went to Hsing and ordered the very delicious lemon chicken with rice.
The restaurant looks clean and kind of minimal, the chairs are really comfortable and the staff are very friendly. I sat at a big round table by the window, so had enough space to enjoy my wine, reading the newspaper and drinking some wine, while waiting for the food. The music was funny. It was basically piano music, but sometimes reminded me of well-known nineties songs. The lemon chicken then tasted fantastic.
You just should not go there for the desserts. The list is very short, and what they actually have on offer might be even shorter than the menu makes you think. But if you want some nice food, there’s no reason not to enjoy it at Hsing if you’re around.
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