Shing Tat Chung, Wai Ting Chung and Erchen Chang, the trio behind London's Bao restaurants, are set to open a Taiwanese restaurant called Xu on Rupert Street in London's Soho.
Due to open this spring, the 76-cover restaurant will open on the edge of China Town, and will be set across two floors, immersing diners in the world of Taiwanese cuisine.
Named after Erchen's late grandfather, the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The food aims to pay homage to the history of Taiwan. The island's cuisine has been shaped not only by the regional mainland Chinese provinces close to the island, for example Hunan, Fujian and Zhejiang, but also through Japanese and Dutch colonies, and the indigenous tribes that make up Taiwan.
Split into sections, the menu starts with xiao tsai or ‘bar snacks' such as ‘century quail's egg' and ‘smoked Taiwanese sausage'. More classic dishes will include ‘crab with chilli egg drop sauce' and ‘sho pa chicken' - a dish often served in the mountainous regions of Taiwan, involving a whole bird stuffed with Chinese spices and herbs and served with the head still on. Braised meats, including goose and pork, will also be on offer served in typical Taiwanese ‘lu wei' style in a master sauce.
Taiwan's vibrant street food culture has also inspired many of the dishes, from pan-fried dumplings or ‘shengjian bao' to pancakes filled with 40-day aged beef shortrib, marrow and pickles.
Alongside the food menu, Taiwanese tea will take centre stage at the new restaurant. Situated on the ground floor will be a dedicated ‘tea bar', housing teas from across Taiwan. Both hot and cold brew options will be available. Tea will also be available to take home, with each batch roasted to the customer's desired level. Teas will include a hand-picked Assam - a luxury black tea, grown in Nantou in Taiwan, through to specialist competition teas such as Baozhong from Pingling.
The interiors at Xu will give a nod to 1930s Taiwan. Designed by BradyWilliams, it will feature dark wood panelling with an emerald tea counter, wooden ceiling fans brought in from Xiao Chi houses and walls adorned with traditional Chinese porcelain. The ground floor ‘tea bar' will seat up to 24 while the first floor at will offer a 44-cover dining space with a more formal feel than the ground floor. The focal point in the main restaurant will be a six-seater blush pink marble dining bar framed by a hand-painted ‘Mountains of Taiwan' mural.
As with Bao, the venture is backed by JKS Restaurants, owned by Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi. JKS owns and operates the Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Trishna restaurants in London and also back other ventures including Lyle's and Bubbledogs.