Unlike Andrew Wong’s Michelin gilded A.Wong in Victoria, where the main command is dim sum, roast meats is the core of the situation at Kyms, the second venture from Chef Andrew Wong. It’s dubbed to have a “premium casual, all-day dining menu based on Andrew’s creative interpretation of classic Chinese dishes.”. And it’s named after his parents restaurant before he took it over to the temple of dim sum A.Wong is now – a name deep rooted in sentiment I’m sure. You can read that review here. The newish space opened in Bloomsberg Arcade in October 2018, it’s a business district in the City for office dwellers, or greedy sods like me to dine with some urbanity. The 120 seat venue has subtle Chinese conventions with accents of copper, pinks and reds. The most striking thing is the cherry blossom tree by the circular cocktail bar that makes the spiral stair case an event every time you walk up it to the second floor. It’s a premium venue that’s for sure. Note that Kyms is no more, this review is purely for my intrinsic value and reference, but if you find it interesting too, then it’s a win win.
We start with the sweet and sour pork ribs £6.50 flecked with sesame and the aniseed kick of star anise. They were bone sliding, sticky and clever. That’s the ribs I’m talking about and not your Friday night.
Spring rolls £4 were filled with mung bean noodles, shiitake, wood ear mushrooms and beansprouts. The elevation came in the form a lacy rice cocoon for extra crunch. We dipped them in the sticky crimson red sauce full of lactic tang and fiery chilies.
This is “Jeff” for Russia, our resident photographer.
Lotus chips £6 came with the lively dense funk of fermented chilli bean. It was a dish full of crunch, heat and subtle sweetness. I sipped on my Tsing Tao and grazed very happily on these.
The french bean fritters £6 are a hallmark dish from A.Wong. I’m glad they brought them along as they sing of savoury hits of pepper, chilli and spring onion.
Expert dismantling of their soy braised chicken.
We go for the ‘Three Treasure” £20, a trio of soft soy chicken, honey lacquered char siu pork and a roasted pork belly with a blistered skin that shatters beneath the teeth. Condiments of ginger and spring onion oil, a sweet brew of soy along with mustard feature.
Knife cut noodles £6 from the sides come with a sauce slicked with garlic and soy is a parade of lip puckering savouriness, I could have eaten them by the bucket load. My only gripe is that the noodles are short, not like the long strands at A.Wong who do a similar dish – come on now, who likes short noodles.
Sichuanese spiced aubergine £6 was a dish that gives a massive hit mouth numbing glory and intense savouriness. Just like the noodles there is an impeccable whack of umami.
Ga lan £8 with a sticky sauce of soy and goji berry – they are reassuring greens that make you feel not so bad when devouring pudding.
Steamed dover sole £30 comes from the classics – like some of the other dishes, it has broad shouldered umami, layers of the stuff made from a mix of Maggi’s sauce, red vinegar, soy, sesame, chilli and a generous crush of garlic. You might think that’s a lot going on but it didn’t detract from the flavours of the fish, and the sauce was that good that I asked for the recipe.
I was so compelled by the ludicrously delicious sauce on the fish, here is the recipe.
There is only a choice of two deserts, a Sichuan infused mess of star anise poached dark berries, cherry sorbet and clotted cream £5. And then there’s the pineapple bun £6, the ones you can get from Chinatown bakeries, but’s it’s profoundly fluffy, has a virtuous interplay of crunch from the topping and the goo of luscious custard with a fine dice of pineapple. It’s another elevation here, as the normal ones are so called “pineapple” due to their appearance resembling the fruit, but this one has the real stuff.
When did I go? Nov 2018
The damage: Expect to pay £60/70 per head with booze
The good: Kyms is another compelling interpretation of a man’s wondering adventures around China eating Chinese food worth celebrating about and bringing it to us in London. Most dishes we had are worth trying such as the bean fritters, hand cut noodles and Three Treasures roast meats. Oh and that glorious pineapple bun. It can be very date-nighty or a place to generally impress.
The bad: Some prices are punishing, but you’re in the City and they need to pay for the breath-taking interior design! NOTE Kyms closed in 2020 after 2 years of business, no doubt fallen victim to Covid.
Would I go again? Yes
Address: Formally of 19 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR