"Modern Chinese food in a very sophisticated setting"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
You may not have heard of them, but Good Earth have been in business for 34 years. Their first restaurant was on the Kings Road, now a branch of M&S. Today they are located in other well-to-do neighbourhoods like Knightsbridge, Mill Hill and Esher in Surrey, additionally there are takeaway outlets in West Hampstead, Richmond and Wimbledon. Wandsworth is their most recent opening, just a few doors down from Chez Bruce.
The sophisticated décor is by Albert Kwan, who is also responsible for the look of China Tang. There’s an element of gentlemen’s club here thanks to dark wood panelling, as well as modern details like the bold green walls and a colourful fish mural. There is a beautiful conservatory with a domed ceiling, and tables have large revolving discs to facilitate sharing food between diners.
The menu has a few standard Chinese dishes, but a lot of it strays from tried and tested territory, which is no bad thing. There are dumplings filled with chicken and chives, with a herby, slightly citrusy flavour, and there is some lovely crispy lamb served with lettuce to be wrapped around the meat, with plum sauce on the side.
Chicken karaage is a variation on the much-loved sweet and sour recipe, here sweetened with mango and with the addition of sweet potato crisps. It’s really good, lacking the cloying taste of so many sweet and sour dishes. The monkfish, served with grilled shallots, is beautifully tender and almost completely unadorned; the same goes for the fillet steak in a clay pot, which the waiter cooks at the table. Save for some beansprouts there is nothing else in the way of accoutrements, which are unnecessary as the quality of the meat does the talking. Even a simple side of fried French beans has been perked up with dried shrimps, making it a well above average dish.
Lastly there is a fantastic dessert consisting of a crispy hot crepe filled with sweet red bean paste, paired with juicy strawberries.
It’s not cheap, as that plate of French beans costs £8, but hey, you get what you pay for. If their takeaway food is of the same standard as that of the restaurant, this has got to be the best takeaway in London. And they should become known for that.
Leila reviewed Good Earth on Wed 27 Mar 2013