It was while working in the kitchen of his parents’ Cantonese restaurant Kym’s that Andrew Wong noticed the connection between cuisine and culture. Many Chinese restaurants in the UK at the time focused on the food of Hong Kong but, after training as a chef and travelling around China for six months, Wong was keen to introduce the flavours of many other regions and provinces of the country to the UK. He took over his parents’ restaurant in 2012, renaming it A Wong, with a view to introducing regional Chinese cuisine with his own unique twist. His latest restaurant, Kym’s, which opened on 2 October, pays homage to the original restaurant but with the concept of educating and enlightening diners on the possibilities of Chinese cooking within a fine dining atmosphere.
Situated in the heart of the new Bloomberg Arcade in the City, Kym’s has a serene, luxurious and refined interior. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows on one side flood the restaurant with natural light in daylight hours – and pink, gold and teal hued lights provide a decadent, warm glow by night. The most notable feature is the giant blossom tree as you enter the restaurant, which is flanked by a glitzy semi-circular bar on one side and a twisting staircase on the other leading up to an additional dining mezzanine level. There’s a comfortable bar seating area to the left of the restaurant and rotating stools dotted around the front of the bar where you can enjoy a delicious cocktail from the restaurant’s generous list. On a lower level is the main dining space, with booths and tables sitting adjacent to the gold-countered open kitchen where slow-roasted meats can be seen hanging – similar to those found hanging outside street-food vendors in many a Chinese province. There’s an instant buzz in the air; chefs happily, hurriedly milling about in the kitchen and friendly waiting staff enthusiastically delivering nuggets of intelligence on the origins of the dishes to receptive diners. The distance between tables may be snug but the sheer Instagrammable nature of the space, along with the mouthwateringly flawless food, more than makes up for this.
Sharing is the general concept of Kym’s menu. Our waiter, Lorne, suggests six to eight dishes between two from a selection of small and sharing plates, skewers, classics, sides and fritters. This is where Wong’s vision of bringing regional Chinese food to the table, comes to life. There’s a real mix of cuisines from melt-in-the-mouth wild mushroom steamed buns and Tiger prawns covered in a kind of prawn cracker popcorn, to Sichuanese spiced aubergine (to die for) and a deliciously simple slow-roasted soy chicken with ginger relish (seen hanging as we arrived). Then, moving to the northwest of China with influences from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, come the moreish aubergine fritters with soy caramel, peanut, sesame and chilli – yum.
Finished off with a Hong Kong pineapple bun filled with custard and washed down with a couple of lucky lychee martinis (tamarind soaked cherries, vodka, sake, lychee and lime) and a yuzu negroni (yuzu infused sake, rose vermouth, campari), this is a thoroughly satiating experience.
Meal for two including wine or cocktails, around £120
We left educated, enthralled and enlightened on the sheer variety of cuisines from a country bigger than the whole of Europe. Wong’s dynamic and delicious vision has come to fruition and we will almost certainly come again.
Kym’s, 19 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8CR; kymsrestaurant.com