Mr Kong continues to deliver reliable Cantonese food. On my last visit I deliberately tried several dishes that I often have at my benchmark Royal China: hot and sour soup, steamed sea bass with black bean sauce, gai lan steamed with garlic. The gai lan was certainly some way below that at the Royal China in standard, but still capable. The sea bass was nearly at the same level, while the soup was a little less well balanced. However this was still solid 13/20 territory, no mean achievement given the moderate prices and then generally low standard of cooking in this area.
Below are brief notes based on visits some years ago.
It is surprisingly hard to get a decent Chinese meal in Chinatown; both Royal China and the Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater (“little Chinatown”) knock the restaurants in Chinatown proper into a cocked hat. Part of the problem is that the ones in Bayswater cater mainly to Chinese people, whereas the trade around Leicester Square is dominated by western tourists. Perhaps the best of the Chinatown places these days is the long-established Mr Kong in Lisle Street (parallel to, and one street south of, Gerrard Street, which is the heart of Chinatown). Don’t go for the décor: scruffy green carpet, toilets with bare wires hanging out of the wall, harsh lighting. However the food is consistently good.
The menu is vast, which is rarely a good sign, but the kitchen seems able to deliver across the range. Steamed scallops are excellent as a starter, while pork belly cooked with yam in a hot pot results in tender, moist pork and yam slices that have absorbed the cooking juices of the pork. Rice is excellent, as are Singapore noodles, while vegetables are generally handled well. Service is fairly brisk, but not rude as in so many Chinatown venues (in case you thought this frequent trait was put on for tourists, it isn’t: try eating in Hong Kong).