After a day of feasting on Golden Age Dutch art we were looking for big food on the walk back from Zuid to our digs by the Museums and boy did we get it.
New China City caught my eye as our local Chinese is called China City – could this possibly be an offshoot? Almost certainly not. Rather than Harringay CCity’s plastic chair, strip light and MSG vibe NCCity is a much more luxurious operation with a vast room be-linened and golden.
The menu had a picture of our host posing with a local dignitary in a tricolor sash; he looked like a big unit so already had the impression we weren’t going to go hungry. This was confirmed by the ubiquity of doggie bags being carried away by fellow diners.
Up front we went for a mixed dim sum starter and then duck for me and sizzling pork for the old boy. The dim sum were six tasty dumplings and four crispy things filled with various flavours of yum with a good dipping sauce alongside. These were dispatched with the first Heineken and then came the main event.
And by event I MEAN event. My dish was pak choi propping up the biggest pile of crispy duck I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it was more the size of a swan than a duck. This was impressive enough but became banal as the pork arrived on a metal platter with veg scattered around it. Our host proceeded to scatter Rémy Martin over this like a drunk student at his parents’ New Year’s Eve party. Then she lit it with a flamethrower and while dousing the whole thing with sauce folded everything together. We looked suitably wowed and almost broke out into applause.
We had met the best restaurant manager of the year. A woman who owned the room with the easy air of someone who instinctively knows what each customer wants that comes form years of experience and care. This to the extent that I asked for a plaster for my breadknife-maimed finger (it was a breakfast thing) she treated this as if all of her customers required the odd bit of first aid from time to time and prepared the dressing herself with the same thoroughness that she’d shown to the pork.
Somehow I finished the duckpile with a modicum of rice and staggered, clutching my happy guts, into the damp Dutch air.
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).