House of Ming is a Chinese restaurant owned by The Taj Group of hotels. Head chef was Dickson Leung, who has worked previously at the Michelin-starred Yi Long Court in Hong Kong and at the Shangri La Hotel in Dubai. Pastry chefs Mayank Rajput and Dharma Raj Shrestha, incidentally, competed in the 2023 Bake Off Professionals TV series. House of Ming is a big place, seating 180 diners at any one time, but it is split into lots of smaller sections by wooden screens, so it feels quite intimate in each section. Tables are quite well spaced, though not as large as they might be given that most dishes will be shared. There was background music but it was mercifully quiet.
There was a set menu at £65 as well as a full a la carte selection. The wine list was not available online but it contained examples like Picpoul Cavede l’Ormarine Selection 2022 at £48 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Franz Haas Manna Alto Adige at £81 compared to its retail price of £30, and Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut at £105 for a bottle that will set you back £48 in a shop. There were posher choices too, such as Domaine Ballot-Millot Criots Meursault of mysterious vintage at £180 compared to its retail price of about £61, and Dom Perignon 2012 at £450 for a bottle that has a current market value of £209. The use of the Coravin system allows a lot of wines by the glass, including some very prestigious ones.
We started with a selection of dim sum. The classic prawn har gau was very good, four little dumplings of prawn with delicate, thin casings and ginger and spring onions along with the tender prawn meat (14/20). Char siu bao were light and fluffy buns containing Chinese barbecue pork with a touch of sweetness (14/20). “Scallop golden garlic” was the best of all the dim sum, the dumpling very thin and delicate and the scallop having lovely natural sweetness, enlivened by fried garlic and garnished with Chiniang caviar (15/20). I also tried hot and sour soup, which was better than many, the stock was good and there was a pleasant blend of sourness from the vinegar with just enough chilli kick (14/20).
Sea bass was steamed and served off the bone but with its skin on, resting in a soy-based sauce with chopped red chilli and with a garnish of beetroot. The fish was nicely cooked and the sauce had a pleasing gentle bite to it to complement the soy (14/20). Garlic prawns were quite large prawns that had been deep fried and had surprisingly delicate batter casing with no greasiness, the shellfish inside cooked very well and served with a spicy garlic sauce (easily 14/20). Gai lan was fried with garlic and was also good, bringing some balance to the richness of the fried prawns (14/20). Singapore noodles were unusually delicate and thin, the vermicelli wrapped around pieces of chicken, shrimp and onion and flavoured with curry oil (15/20).
We tried a single dessert, a yuzu mousse disguised to resemble a lemon. The mousse along with lemon compote was inside, the shell made from cocoa butter. This was a neat visual trick, but more importantly, the end result tasted good. The shell was delicate, and there was enough acidity from the citrus to balance the richness of the cocoa but not overwhelm it (15/20).
Service was very good indeed, being extremely attentive and helpful. The bill came to £122 a head with beer to drink, but that was with more food that we could finish. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then you could probably eat for about £95 per person.