New Mayflower needs no introduction in my opinion – it was my first post on here back in September 2012 and I’ve been a regular diner since. Over the years, staff have changed, the punters are different, but most importantly the one thing that has remained constant, is how brilliant the food is. Do your taste buds a favour, go there, order some of the dishes below, they will thank you endlessly. (Some are off menu so show your waiter/waitress the pictures). Go in a group too, as Cantonese food is best enjoyed that way, so you can order-stroke-eat a variety of dishes. They’re are so many exemplary flavours that have coated my palate over the years here, it even got to a stage when I was coming weekly for a feed, that they know how to do.
Ordering bottles of crisp-refreshing Tsing Tao is an essential thing when having Cantonese food.
First up we have crab with blackbean & green pepper sauce on a bed of fresh egg noodles. It’s a mighty dish with alluring flavours from those savoury umami blackbeans that compliments the super sweet crab. It’s fiddly getting all the flesh out, but it is very rewarding to eat, especially with all the sauce soaked into the noodles.
Soft shell crab with chilli and garlic. Fried to a crisp yet the flavoursome integrity of the crab is still intact, sweet as ever and pimped up with all the chilli & garlic. Crab on crab action is a must here in my opinion – why not when it’s this good?
This plate gets attacked with ferocity every time it lands. My love for it will never diminish, so I’ll include a fitting description borrowed from my original posting.. “So let me tell you about this squid dish, because I think it needs a proper mention. Pardon my Cantonese but if you’re going to order it, it goes like ‘Ging-dow-sheun-yung-je-ma-bow-choy-tung!’ Bit of a mouthful (no pun intended) but it is simply awesome. It comes in a crispy sesame/garlic batter with a sweet sticky sauce. Every mouthful is greeted with a crunch and hot, sweet, sour kick followed by the tender baby squid flesh – YUM!”
If you’re stuck on ordering, just show the waiter/waitress the picture – ‘King To’ or ‘ging-dow’ from my above rough and ready Cantonese translates into The Capital which is why this dish is also known as Peking Squid – Peking is the former spelling for Beijing. That’s your history lesson for today.
I was saying to another diner that it’s like playing Russian Roulette with these chilli’s as there’s always one that blows your head off. This time every single one was loaded and ready make your mouth beg for mercy. Needless to say, these glistening stuffed chillis’ with the mashed prawn filling with blackbeans is a must have as they are packed with tonnes of flavour.
Honey pepper eel: If eel grosses you out, I will put money on it, if I were a betting person man, that eating this dish will convert you. It’s crunchy, sweet, peppery and rich from oils of the fish – it’s really addictive.
Egg yolk eel. It comes with a crispy exterior, with a soft nutty egg yolk coating, peppered with spring onions that cling on for dear life. It’s less intense and sweet like the honey pepper variety, but no less delicious.
Another off menu item of sizzling beef fillet with pickled vegetables. It comes out hissing and popping, so it’s not shy of theatrics on table or off the table into my fat mouth. Savoury blackbeans are made for beef, combined with sweet, sour pickles, it’s outrageously good.
There is nothing not to like about this caldron of sizzling oysters, Japanese tofu and mushrooms – enoki and shitake to be exact. The flavour you get from all those umami rich ingredients bubbling together is unrivalled. The silky smooth tofu acts as a sponge to carry heaps of flavour in every mouthful.
X-rated top shelf piggy, every cube is a mouthful of pure unadulterated pork-porn, braised in wine, soy and spices to buttery tenderness. It’s comforting, satisfying, packed full of lusty porky deliciousness, with the alluring flavour of star anise. It’s called ‘Dong-Bor-Yok’, order it, it’s that good and you will be taken into pork custody like me.
It’s that frogs spawn soup again, otherwise known as Taro and Tapioca Pearl desert. But don’t let looks deceive you. It’s utterly delicious. It’s rich from the coconut flavour, creamy from the tapioca and the little cubes of soft starchy taro gives its earthy, nutty goodness.
When did I go? Mid Dec 2015
The damage: Expect to pay £35-£40 per head with drinks
The good: There’s not much to dislike about this place, it’s always busy, full of Chinese folk, rule of thumb for good Chinese food remember? In my experience at least anyway, and above all the else the food is excellent – please give your local a wide-birth for one evening and check out some of the delights here in a group of 4-6 people so you can order with variety of ferocity.
The bad: They sell Western Cantonese food too.
Address: 68-70 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LY
Phone: 020 7734 9207