Halal Chinese food that’s actually decent and authentic is not the easiest to come by. That’s why I tend to stay away from it to avoid disappointment. When I first saw Mrs Chew’s open in Westfield White City, I was rather hesitant to try it out. But with it being literally right at our doorsteps, it’s inevitable that we eventually went to give it a try. To my surprise, we’ve actually made a few returns since but not without some misses on the food. Here’s the full run-down of our thoughts & review of Mrs Chew’s, what has hit the spot, and what hasn’t.
Mrs Chew’s: the “unpretentious & authentic” halal Chinese restaurant
Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen is founded by Ellen Chew, a Singaporean restauranteur who is also behind some successful names in London, namely Arome Bakery and Rasa Sayang. The concept behind this particular venture is to offer “unpretentious and authentic halal Chinese food” to London, with a focus on fresh ingredients and time-honoured recipes served in an affordable way.
Following its success in Birmingham, Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen expanded to London as one of the food court vendors in both Westfield White City and Westfield Stratford. This food review is based on our experiences at the Westfield White City branch. All meats served are halal, with no pork or alcohol on the menu.
The Food: What We Ordered
Roast Duck (£10.95)
Chinese roast meats are a quintessential Cantonese food staple and one of Mrs Chew’s specialities. You can choose between roast duck, roast chicken, or a combination of both, and pick either noodles or rice with it. Needless to say, I went with the roast duck, which comes in a generous portion and comes garnished with cucumber slices, jalapenos, spring onions, bok choi, as well as a side of chilli oil and broth.
This is the dish that we have been returning for and has become my go-to order at Mrs Chew’s Westfield. The dry-aged Canton roast duck was perfectly fatty and succulent, served bone-in and hits the exact spot. Sometimes, it almost transports me back home as if I was sitting at Wai Kee in Hong Kong! I personally preferred it with noodles and, for the price, it’s a pretty good deal in London.
Black Bean Beef Stir-Fry (£11.95)
Unfortunately, the same praises couldn’t be made for the Black Bean Beef Stir-Fry. The dish was exactly why I’ve always avoided halal Chinese restaurants in the UK and I couldn’t roll my eyes fast enough after the first bite. For me, the sauce really missed the spot as it was far too sweet and very much lacked the robustness of how a black bean sauce stir-fry should be. The “wok-hei” was almost non-existent either, which is the make or break for Chinese stir-fries. At least the beef was tender to taste, but the dish, as a whole, completely missed the mark.
Siu Mai (£4.95)
Other than the main dishes, we tried out some dim sums from Mrs Chew’s as well. First up was the Siu Mai, which wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t stellar either. It uses a chicken and prawn filling, which could use further seasonings and definitely needed a touch of chilli oil to help give more flavours. What hit well was the texture, which has a subtle bouncy touch upon biting into it. Overall, it’s alright and no doubt better than some “halal dim sums” out there, but it’s still not one that leaves an impression.
Jalapeno Chicken Wings (£6.95)
The chicken wings, however, totally failed to impress. Their sizes were a little questionable and the wings were rather dry to taste. It comes with a jalapeno sauce, which isn’t quite a Chinese ingredient so it was a little bit of a confusing flavour combo. Personally, I welcome all the fusion ideas and innovation but, in this case, didn’t have much of an effect.
Chilli Wonton (£5.50)
Chilli wonton is one of my favourite dim sum dishes to order but, unfortunately, they were a bit of a forgettable feat at Mrs Chew’s. The wonton fillings, featuring a chicken and prawn mix, were rather bland in flavour on their own. This dish is meant to be tossed in chilli & Chinese black vinegar sauce to create some punchy yet tangy & piquant flavours. However, this was just wontons sitting in a pool of chilli oil which ended up far too oily and lacked the tantalising flavours it promised.
Fried Mantou (£4.95)
Last but not least, we had the fried mantou. One can say it’s still dim sum, or it can be considered desserts. Anyhow, it appears on the dessert section of the menu, which is fried mantou buns served with a condensed milk dip. This is one of my childhood favourites and I think they did a not-too-bad job here. The mantou buns were generally fluffy, with a light golden crisp on the outside. It could be crispier and give a real good crunch upon biting into it, but it’s still decent. You can’t go wrong with a condensed milk dip but we would’ve really liked a bigger serving portion as it was just about enough for half a plate perhaps. Overall, it’s decent for a quick craving but not outstanding enough to become a go-to order.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, I wouldn’t put Mrs Chew’s high up on a list, but considering it’s just a food court, it’s not too bad and actually fared better than many other food court options in Westfield (at least for White City’s). It’s very much a hit-and-miss depending on what you order but the roast duck no doubt has proven itself to be its strongest offering. If you happen to be shopping in Westfield and are looking for a quick & easy bite at the food court, Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen is definitely a good option as long as you opt for the roast duck! Alternatively, check out what other halal food options are available at Westfield White City here.
All meats served are halal.
Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush