The culinary adventures of some gluten hating girl in London
Firecracker is one of those dodgy Chinese restaurants that, for no reason at all, doubles up as a horrifying karaoke chamber of doom.
Usually when a Chinese restaurant allows people to maraud tunelessly through 90s classics at the end of a meal it means only one thing: The food is shit. Bizarrely though at Firecracker the food is not, at all. In fact I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the better Chinese restaurants in London… so why the singing? Why? WHY?
Thankfully the singing does not begin until 10pm. I imagine it is hoped that by this time all diners will be suitably inebriated, and may even enjoy the musak. Or they’re generously giving you time to escape with your life. Dine early though, and you shan’t be subject to it. You will instead enjoy a feast of Chinese wonder, as we did this weekend.
We opted for the Set Menu (C) – £22.50 per person. This includes three starters, six main dishes and a dessert. We also added a few dim sum dishes (seafood parcels & snow crab open parcels) and a bit of duck and crispy pork belly for luck.
We began with cocktails. If you’re going to order cocktails here I suggest you order well in advance. They take 20-30 minutes to arrive. Every time. The poor barman must’ve been swamped. (He wasn’t, we could see him). When they do arrive, they are delicious, but you probably won’t want them by then.
Our starters included: Inside out chicken wings, which were amazing and vanished in seconds. Jasmine smoked ribs: not bad, plenty of meat, not too chewy. And finally… steamed vegetable dumplings. These tasted bizarrely of cigarettes. Not good.
Next came the dim sum dishes. The seafood parcels were particularly tasty and appeared to be made of a seafood paste in adorable little moneybags. All food is better in miniature.
Mains proved a veritable feast, not bad at all for a set menu. The menu included chicken with black pepper sauce, sea food hot pot and sweet and sour pork as well as French beans, noodles and egg fried rice. To this we added crispy belly pork and duck breast.
The mains were nothing though in comparison to the dessert. I would never ordinarily order dessert at a Chinese restaurant, especially when I’d just devoured almost an entire farmyard, but the set menu included a crispy chocolate fondant each, and it’d be rude to turn it down.
This was much like a spring roll but instead of the pastry encasing some rather bland vegetables this pastry held within it an oozing molten chocolate centre. It tasted of heaven and wonder and beauty. We ate it all. I want to eat it again. And again. And so on… But then the wailing began and we had to shuffle off.
Gluten Free? The menu is about 40 pages long, so there are plenty of suitable dishes to choose from.
The Verdict: Fab Chinese food in a nice little underground restaurant. Not a bad atmosphere… but make sure you’re gone by 10pm!
44 Horseferry Road