Jul 19 2013

Bright Courtyard


I had an incredible meal here, the sort of meal that the next day I woke up still thinking about it. In my view this is one of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Bright Courtyard is located in London (on Baker Street) and in Shanghai (where the original restaurant opened in 1997) and is part of the Shanghai Life Fashion Group that owns other restaurants and hotels and whose motto is “innovation, style and quality”, which you can definitely see in the food. London’s Bright Courtyard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant that specializes in authentic dim sum, modern Cantonese and traditional Shanghai cuisine with a twist.

I went to Bright Courtyard on a Friday evening as my boyfriend was craving some Chinese food, and I told I would only go to Bright Courtyard, as I had already reviewed the other Chinese restaurants close to us. We arrived there at 7.30 and the restaurant was 70% full and we were seated at a small table for 2. Bright Courtyard is located across from Royal China and Royal China Club, so this is a mini Chinese restaurant hub here on Baker Street. Whilst in Royal China the proportion of Chinese to non-Chinese people is 50/50 in my view, the proportion of Chinese people in Bright Courtyard was definitely more, and around 70/30. The dining room is spacious, with white leather chairs and definitely feels more upscale than the restaurants across the street.

The waiter brought me the menu, which was an iPad and you could go through the different sections on the ipad (starters, soups, fish etc) and see pictures of all the dishes in great detail. I absolutely loved it. Most of the times, when I am in a Chinese restaurant, I order the same thing, the westernized Chinese dishes, but that is because I have no idea how the more creative/ typical Chinese dishes would look like or taste like, hence I always prefer to go with a Chinese person to a Chinese restaurant so they can order. But in Bright Courtyard I did not need to, as I could look at all the pictures of the food and I felt like I had made the best possible decision as to what to order. The dishes on the menu are very different to your average Chinese restaurant, as they only use very high quality ingredients, for example they only had 1 beef dish (and that was fillet steak, the best one you can have) and the rest were dishes with wagye beef. They also had many dishes with expensive fish, like steamed turbot with ginger and spring onions, which the waiter explained was one of their signature dishes (together with lobster), and I later saw one of the waiters carrying it and it looked sensational, large, very good quality, beautiful fish cooked in a Chinese manner. I also would recommend this place for anyone that likes good quality fish and seafood and wants it to be cooked in a more unusual way (not just French or British), as Bright Courtyard preserves the good quality of the fish and seafood just cooks it in an interesting, Chinese manner.

To start our meal, my boyfriend ordered a “Seafood Hot and Sour Soup” and this was one of the best, if not the best, hot and sour soups I have ever had. Full marks for this soup, it was flavoursome, full of thinly cut vegetables, very tasty, just perfect in my view. We also ordered three dishes to share, from the appetizer section the “Boiled Chicken Slices in Chilli Oil”. I have had this dish served hot in other restaurants, which is how I prefer it, but here at Bright Courtyard they served it cold, which is what my boyfriend did not like (and they did not tell me it would be cold), but despite being cold I very much enjoyed it. The quality of chicken was good, it was flavoursome and hot, but not too hot. We also shared “Assorted Seafood in Thai Spicy Soup Stock”, which the waiter explained was similar to eating seafood from a Tom Yum type of soup, and the sauce/ soup of this dish did resemble a very incredibly tasty and wonderfully spiced Tom Yum soup. The dish contained prawns, fish, clams and scallops and was very good, excellent. We also ordered “Diced Fillet Steak with Black Pepper Sauce”, the only beef dish (apart from wagye beef) on the menu, as the waiter recommended it and it was stunning as well. The beef was so tasty and soft and wonderful to eat, I can see why it is so much nicer and such a treat to eat Chinese food with these good quality ingredients, loved every mouthful. We also ordered a vegetable dish to go with our meal “Green Beans with Minced Pork & Chilli”, and whilst I very much enjoyed these green beans, and they were nice and subtly spicy, I did not think it was the best bean dish I have had.

Bright Courtyard uses top quality ingredients for their Chinese dishes, so this restaurant is not cheap, and we paid £60/ per person and did not have that much alcohol (and the big good quality fish dishes cost around £30/40), but I think it is absolutely worth it as the dishes are amazing. Everything is so tasty, wonderfully flavoured and you can feel the good quality produce used, and you know what you are paying for. This is now one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in London. It does not have the view that Min Jiang, another top class Chinese restaurant, has, but I think the food here is actually a bit better.

Date: 19/07/13
Price for 2 people with some alcohol and service charge: £110.70
Location: Baker Street

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Bright Courtyard
43-45 Baker Street, UK W1U
United Kingdom
Bright Courtyard Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5