For an authentic Chinese dinner, without all the crispy seaweed and prawn crackers, Kam Tong is one of the best in London.
Competing against numerous Chinese restaurants along Queensway, Kam Tong stands out from the crowd. Although it has the window showing off glistening Chinese-style roast duck and deep red barbeque pork like the others, two further huge windows let passers by admire the calm, sleek and chic interior. Recently refurbished, Kam Tong now looks like it belongs in Mayfair, with its simple ivory, gold and mahogany colour palette. Untraditional, non-patterned Chinese bowls and plates sit on the table next to delicate wine glasses – another unconventional feature. However, subtle ancient Chinese decor can be found around the restaurant to reassure that they haven’t forgotten their roots. A beautiful beige back wall with endless black Chinese writing and framed art adds a bit of authenticity and lifts the otherwise plain white walls.
With an atmosphere designed to allow the customers to relax whilst the staff swiftly keep tables happy, it’s a place to take the pressure off and just unwind. Soft jazz music is played at a low level to help the easygoing vibe. The staff are very attentive always filling up glasses and are well-versed on the menu, happily recommending dishes. You can expect to find a complete mix of people dining here, from professional young couples to families and friends but it’s worth booking a table for dinner as it seems word is out.
Facing a menu with too many enticing dishes, you really are spoilt for choice. The cuttlefish served with spring onions and ginger (£5) is a refreshing and welcome starter to get your taste buds going with a zingy kick and a soft texture. The soft shell crab (£6.80 each) is exquisite, with one easily enough for two for a light starter. The crispy, light batter, juicy meat and generous seasoning of garlic, chilli and peppercorn salt makes this dish a perfect start. The Thai pandan chicken parcels (£5.80) are slightly disappointing thanks to only a faint satay flavour and slightly dry texture, wrapped in a bamboo leaf and served with a much needed sweet chilli dip.
The somewhat controversially named Chairman Mao braised belly pork (£8.80) is a real comfort dish and simply delicious. Beautifully soft, flavoursome chunks of pork are thrown in the heavy crockery pot with florets of bright green broccoli, and is great, even if a tad more sauce would improve it. Scallops with caramelised cashews and chilli (£12.80) is an interesting dish, possibly more popular with the sweet-toothed. Fritter-like batter coats the surprisingly tender scallop, which is all coated in a sticky nutty syrup and dressed with whole cashews and chilli giving it a clean finish. From a good selection of fresh Chinese vegetables and a choice of cooking method, the Gai lan (£8.80) with oyster sauce is cooked to perfection – a crunchy stem and soft leaves. A portion of roast duck (£10.80) is succulent and juicy with a crisp skin.
For dessert – a recommendation well worth heeding – the chocolate spring rolls (£4) are divine. Rich, dark chocolate oozes out of the crisp filo pastry and is served with a scoop of creamy yet refreshing coconut ice cream. The black sesame fondue (£4) isn’t a dipping dessert but instead three balls of crushed peanut coated sticky rice balls with a black sesame paste hiding inside – the texture might not be to all tastes but it is delicious and a traditional dish with a twist.
Although wine isn’t traditionally served with a Chinese meal, Kam Tong has a reasonable wine list. The Borgo delle Oche pinot grigio (£21 bottle) is very easy to drink and has a crisp, clean finish.
The Last Word
Most definitely a Chinese restaurant with a difference, Kam Tong has managed to put a twist on the authentic Chinese look and dishes, whilst not forgetting its roots.