The Reverend Eats … Hing Lee in Shad Thames
One February evening I couldn’t be bothered to cook – Who’da thot it! So we took a stroll down to our local chinese restaurant , Hing Lee, in Shad Thames for an early evening dinner.
Probably less than 100 meters from the Thames, Hing Lee is tucked away in an area called ‘Shad Thames’. It is very close to Tower Bridge but the ‘wrong’ side for most tourists and visitors as the area is a lot more residential than the area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
Outside Hing Lee
As the restaurant is hidden away you really have to go searching for it. Once you are on the right road you’ll soon spot the green signs and the gold lettering. If you are on Curlew Street and looking north you’ll be able to see all the way to the other side of the river.
Inside Hing Lee
I’ve been to Hing Lee plenty of times and it has never been too busy to be able to seat me immediately. The main bar greets you as you enter and then there is raised seating to the left and the main dining area to the right.
The decor is muted but each table does include a vase with a rose in. This adds a nice splash of colour to the various apricots and beiges that are in the restaurant.
The menu does say this is a Peking, Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine restaurant so you should find all your ‘chinese’ food favourites here. Bearing in mind the location, I don’t find the prices here too outrageous.
Everyone has their ‘go-to’ dishes for chinese food and we are no exception. Main courses are usually Beef Fried Ho-Fun and Crispy Shredded Chilli Beef. Today we included a portion of Salt & Chilli King Prawns as part of the main course and started with 1/4 Aromatic Duck.
The Prawn Crackers are brought to the table with the menu – something to nibble on while we decide.
Aromatic Duck. More of an intermediate course however with just the two of us and wanting to have a quick bite to eat, getting actual starters would have been far too much food.
They gave the right amount of pancakes for the duck and I’d say it was a ‘good’ quarter of a duck. Sometimes you can get quite stingy 1/4 duck so I’m glad Hing Lee don’t do that!
The Mains Event
The Beef Fried Ho-Fun was very tasty and had some proper sized peices of beef. Not just the off-cuts from the butcher’s floor. It is served ‘dry’ – so not swimming in sauce – and the serving is about right for two people to share. If there was an improvement they could make to it, it would be that some more actual ho-fun noodles be added.
My main course choice is Deep Fried Crispy Chilli Beef. I’ve had this across London and rarely is it the same in any two restaurants. My favourite ever was from a chinese takeaway out in Berkshire that has long closed down.
This DFCCB is one of the better London offerings. It is not smothered in a ‘too hot to eat’ sauce and it does contain other veg in the serving. It does contain something that I’ve not had anywhere else – Celery! Who puts celery in Crispy chilli Beef? I’m always surprised when I get a bit of celery when I’m not expecting it even though I’ve had it loads!
The final main option was the Salt & Chilli king prawns. I must say, if ever you see this on a menu you really should check it out. The prawns should be in a very light batter that is half way between a tempora and the batter you get on sweet and sour chicken balls. The serving size of this is just right and perfect for two people to share. The prawns have a heat from the chilli that does ‘ping’ in the mouth. I’m always glad I can order these here and I might, one day, even was my DFCCB for them completely….but I’d then not share them!
I think including a tip it was about £40. Not a bad price for a chinese meal for two, especially as we had 3 main courses shared between the two of us. It would have saved us about £8 to only have 2 main courses but I REALLY like those prawns! Only having Jasmine tea and water helps to keep the cost down.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
Its a little unfair of me as I love chinese food and this is the closest chinese restaurant around so I’m bound to love it. The truth is that with its hidden location it is never very busy and this means the service is both attentive and never rushed.
On Sundays they do an All You Can Eat menu which is reasonably priced however it works at about the same in cost BUT doesn’t include some items we love. We’d rather eat what we wanted but not mountains of it than fill up on things we aren’t as into. The AYCE is not a help-yourself buffet which does make it feel more civilised.
If you are visiting the south bank of the Thames and are near Tower Bridge then I can recommend Hing Lee as a great place to eat. It also shows that The South Bank doesn’t end at Tower Bridge!
Other Restaurant Reviews
I ate at the Chi Kitchen on Oxford Street. You can also read my other restaurant reviews by checking this link.