This little corner of Covent Garden is becoming a bit of a New York love-in. Neighbouring fellow American export Balthazar, this is Red Farm’s first venture outside of Manhattan, with dim-sum extraordinaire Chef Joe Ng and Chinese culinary expert and highly respected restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld at the helm. But how does it translate?
Well to start with, they’re doing Chinese food a little differently to how London has experienced it before. Chinatown this ain’t, nor is it the stuffy, old-fashioned upmarket kind. Instead RedFarm has bought with it all of the buzzy New York-ness you’d expect the award-winning US Chinese joint to have. It’s a playful space, complete with teeny tiny tables for two as well as one long sharing table which runs along the centre of the restaurant. Its bright white exposed bricks and living wall make this feel like a very modern space. Which continues in the menu…
You’ll have no doubt have heard about (or seen on Insta) the pac man dumplings – surely Red Farm’s most famous dish. And whilst they could so easily have been more style over substance, we reckon they’re actually worth ordering. One big deep-fried sweet potato shaped into a hungry mouth, chases four multi-coloured mini dumplings stuffed with shrimp across the plate – thank god for America. They jostle for space on the menu, alongside the likes of cheeseburger spring rolls and the soup dumplings which arrive with a red and white straw sticking out the top for you to suck out the pork and crab broth innards. Even the biggest sourpuss couldn’t help but smile trying to eat one of these bad boys. We laughed our way through dinner but definitely need more practise when it comes to eating these slippery little suckers.
Less ‘out there’ but no less delicious was a great big pile of spicy crispy beef. The only dish that didn’t really hit the spot for us was the BBQ beef fried rice. Not offensive in any way, but at £23 we were expecting a little more. Now would be a good place to point out that the bill could creep up pretty easily. Portions are on the generous side though, so do bear that in mind when ordering sharing dishes and you should be ok.
Looking to carry on the party? Head upstairs to Toots n Hoots where you’ll find a playful little drinking den. Featuring the imaginative and delicious cocktails of famed NY mixologist Shawn Chen, and an accompanying menu of RedFarm bar snacks, Toots n Hoots gets its playful name from a pair of photos of 2 owls with intense yellow eyes, whose penetrating stare is the first thing one sees upon entering the space.