An unexpected treasure in the heart of London’s over-busy and often over-priced West End, FuLushou comes highly recommended as a place to relax in a glamourous venue and eat delicious food that’s great value for money.
Hidden deep inside the Casino at The Empire, barely announced by its small poster outside and yet based in probably the most prominent venue in Leicester Square, the restaurant is small but beautifully decorated in golds and greens. There are comfy raised booths and wooden tables with large chairs. The casino itself is tantalisingly visible through the Asian-patterned grille that separates it from the restaurant, and the kitchen is also open and in view as you walk in.
You have to be a member of the casino to enjoy its bars and restaurants – this is free and it can be done on the same day of your visit, but you will need to bring some photo ID with you when you join.
FuLuShou is positioned above the casino on a balcony that sweeps all around the outer walls, and as such feels removed from the high pressure tables and slot machines whilst still retaining its exciting, glamourous atmosphere. It feels very informal, welcoming and relaxed, despite the smart attire of its clientele and the fancy traditional dress worn by the staff. Music is audible but non-intrusive and the service is great; orders arrive fairly quickly and the staff is polite, friendly and helpful when it comes to advice on which dishes to choose.
Despite it being in Leicester Square, the fact that you have to be a member of the casino to eat at the restaurant ensures that the clientele is always sophisticated and conducive to the tranquil atmosphere. You may also spot a minor celebrity or two.
Many of the customers are Asian, which is usually a great indicator of the quality and authenticity of the food at a pan-Asian restaurant.
The menu at FuLushou is pan-Asian and there are plenty of classic noodle and rice dishes, dim sum and soups. There is also a selection of mouth-watering desserts. The food is served in bowls on rough sheets of slate, and it’s quality food, delicious and in good-sized portions. The prices are excellent when you consider the food’s quality and amount, and the restaurant’s location.
Starters include Peking duck and shiitake mushroom spring rolls, which come with a ramekin of Hoisin sauce for dipping. A combination of the classic Peking duck and spring rolls, they work really well together. The duck is perfectly cooked and tasty, and the sauce is wonderfully rich. Classic Thai chicken satay features chicken grilled on skewers with the sauce separate, and crispy whole-leaf spinach, which complemented the other starters and had a lovely sweet, earthy taste.
Recommended mains include a crispy aromatic lamb, which you roll up in large lettuce leaves with spring onions, cucumber, fresh mint leaves and chilli vinaigrette. It's full of flavour and quite light after the filling starters. The FuLushou fried rice comes in a huge bowl bursting with tiger prawns, Peking duck, shiitake mushrooms and egg and is awesomely tasty and a meal in itself. For sides try the Shu Mai dim sum, filled with pork and shrimp, which were soft and slightly sweet, and complemented perfectly with chilli sauce.
Desserts like chilli chocolate spring rolls are very rich and should only be ordered if you have some room after your main course. Banana and sticky rice pudding with mango ice cream is nice; the mango ice cream tastes very fruity and is lovely, but the rice pudding tastes a little like it came from a tin. The standout amongst the desserts is the lychee pannacotta – a set pudding that had the perfect combination of sweetness and fruit tang. Delicious!
There is a standard wine list and the usual soft drinks, but the main feature is the wide range of teas sourced from all over Asia. Helpful information is given to help you choose. Again, prices are reasonable.
The Last Word
FuLushou is a hidden gem in London’s crowded West End and an asset to the new casino in which it resides. Use it as a break from the gambling, or simply as a restaurant in its own right. It is great value for money and a very pleasant dining experience.