Review: Gouqi

by Tsui Chung

Break away from the traditional and enjoy this innovative, Chinese inspired Afternoon Tea at Gouqi, Trafalgar Square.

As soon as you step into the restaurant, you’re transported to a sleek, modern space with Chinese inspired interior design and plush aesthetic seating. The elegant dining area features a centrepiece Dragon floating above the bar and Chinese lanterns adorning the ceiling throughout. The staff were inviting and friendly greeting us at the door and taking our coats before showing us to our table.

The Afternoon Tea is a set menu, and the Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea is included as the recommended pairing, but if you fancy a different tea or an alcoholic beverage, there is an extensive drinks menu. The jasmine tea had delicate sweet notes and a floral aroma, which was refreshing on the palette. It complimented all the flavours of the food perfectly.

Savoury items are served first, presented on a beautiful 3-tiered birdcage. The top tier had a fun and imaginative take on steamed items you would normally see on a dim sum menu. The waiter lifted the bamboo steamer lid to reveal plump, colourful dumplings that looked like precious gemstones! The meticulously hand-crafted parcels were all abundantly filled and packed with flavour. The prawn dumpling, known as ‘har gau’ particularly wowed us, with its umami flavour, and was elevated by the black truffle.

 

 

On the second tier we had the juicy, slightly sweet char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) and the crispy, decadent pork belly. The familiar humble sesame prawn toast was reimagined with a pillow-soft garlic bread base and topped with a generous layer of juicy prawn paste. However, the beef basket was the true star of the show with two chunky pieces of tender beef in a rich black pepper sauce sitting atop a light crispy pastry case. 

 

 

Lastly for the savoury items, the third tier featured cold items such as the prawn tartare pot with mango, avocado and quinoa. The chicken roll with mung bean noodles was a texture sensation - the chicken melted in the mouth and the mung bean noodles were springy and chewy.

 

 

 

 

New plates and cutlery are set as we make our way to the sweeter side of this incredible culinary experience. Desserts were show-stopping, presented on top of a stand with dry ice creating a beautiful fog effect. The golden ‘Lucky Dragon’ mousse cake was divine, an indulgent blend of coffee and cinnamon mixed with sharp citrus notes from the kumquat. The standout dessert for me was the ‘Midnight Sun’, a crunchy black sesame biscuit base with a fruity mousse layer and topped with fragrant chopped mango. All the desserts were works of art and delivered on flavour, and in true Asian fashion were not overbearingly sweet!

 

 

 

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Tsui Chung

Food enthusiast - eating out is her hobby! Find Tsui Chung over on Instagram at @thatfoodiescene.

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