Zheng is a premium South-East Asian restaurant, located in South Kensington, with a menu that offers a fusion of flavours based on parts of Asia that were explored by the 15th century Chinese admiral Zheng He; after whom the restaurant is named.
The venue is visually opulent, with strikingly elegant black wooden tables, luxurious chartreuse coloured velvet banquettes and strategically set lighting that delivers feng shui at its very best.
To begin our exploration of the Malacca Empire, we opted for a classic Malaysian dish, “Chicken Satay Skewers”, served with peanut sauce and cucumber. The moist, supple chicken was gloriously smoky and sweet, with deliciously distinctive Malaysian spices that delivered jubilation with each bite. The peanut sauce, while slightly insipid in providing the ubiquitous peanut flavour was still pleasant. – Recommended
“Chilli Salt & Pepper Squid” had a light and crispy batter, with the calamari prepared well and the chilli garnish supplying a sumptuous heat at the back of the palate that was delightful. The dish, however could have benefitted with having a sauce, so to accentuate the flavours and to provide that necessary lubrication to counterbalance the crispy batter. – Worth a Try
For mains, we began with a “Crispy Mango Chicken”, which on initial inspection seemed like an eccentric concoction, but it worked wonderfully. The sweet mango combined with a hint of ginger was divine. However, the batter on the fried chicken was slightly too thick, making the dish somewhat dry. – Worth a Try
The “Beef with Aubergine” was one of the most sensational dishes we have tried. The stir fried beef was tender and succulent, with a magnificiently sticky and glazed ginger soy sauce that was rich in flavour. The aubergine provided a contrasting texture and a smoky taste that conjugated perfectly with the magnificent beef. – Highly Recommended
The “Crispy Cereal King Prawns” was another unconventional dish with contrasting textures and flavours that were simply mesmerising. The prawns were large, juicy and luscious. The fried cereal was moreishly light, crispy, yet slightly moist, which initially delivered a savoury sweet flavour, but then the palate was embraced with a wondrous heat that electrified the tastebuds. – Recommended
The “Green Beans” with fried chillies and minced chicken was visually an unremarkably simple looking dish, but provided remarkable flavours. The lightly grilled and al dente green beans were seasoned perfectly and the mince chicken delivered a finesse of flavours that made the dish a surprise hit. – Recommended
The final main was the “Roast Duck” with hoisin sauce. High quality halal duck is as difficult as finding a good Adam Sandler movie. I have tried many halal ducks in my time and I can confirm that there are only two restaurants in London where the gamey bird has wowed me. However, the dish at Zheng has quite literally raised the bar as the duck was nothing short of phenomenal. The crispy skin was gloriously appetising, the meat was moist and sumptuous, and the layer of fat added an intense umami flavour that was devilishly delectable. – Highly Recommended
To complete our South East Asian odyssey, for dessert we were presented with “Bubur Hitam”, which was black rice pudding with coconut milk. I’ve never enjoyed rice pudding, and unfortunately this dish was not able to fully convert me. However, for all rice pudding fans out there, I would still recommend a try. – Worth a Try
The “Sagu Melaka”, consisted of Topioca pearls served with palm sugar syrup and evaporated milk. Visually a stunning dish and delivered a sweet caramel taste that was quite pleasurable. – Worth a Try
Our experience at Zheng was exceptional, as the majority of the cuisine we sampled surprised us due to the refined balance of flavours and the execution of the dishes. From the decor to the ingredients, Zheng takes you on a journey of hedonistic pleasure of the senses.
So if you are seeking distinctive and innovative flavours that will make your palate sign with delight, then Zheng Chelsea is a must visit.
Address: 4 Sydney Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 6PP
*Disclaimer: We were invited to review the restaurant