Article
14 comments

Alan Yau’s latest flavour – Cha Cha Moon

Cha Cha Moon

Another year, another stylish restaurant opening from Alan Yau. The entepreneur and restaurateur, native of Hong Kong, has taken London by storm in recent years with a succession of well received asian restaurants including two michelin starred restaurants (Yautcha & Hakkasan). He started with Wagamama in 1992 which he sold in 1998 when it comprised 2 restaurants. These were followed swiftly by Satsuma (for the Royal China Group), Busaba Eathai, Hakkasan, Yautcha, Sake no Hana and now Cha Cha Moon.

Cha Cha Moon

Famously, he was very unhappy with what happened with Wagamamas. It was a hostile buyout and he is quoted as saying that that was “was like seeing your baby brought up by strangers with different values”. He is seeking to make amends with Cha Cha Moon. It is intended to be the Chinese Wagamamas serving healthy, casual fast food.

On approach, Cha Cha Moon is even more startling and modern than previous offerings with bright panels of lights on the walls, broader than at Yautchas, a pretty neon sign by the door. The kitchen is open and, as you walk in, behind red glass, which lends it a surreal and exciting effect. Stylish, modern and in a great location, it’s a similar formula to some of his previous establishments offering communal eating on long wooden tables and food served swiftly as it’s ready. The menu, on first glance apperars very traditional, serving the likes dan dan noodles & szechuan wontons.

It was quite empty when we arrived at 7.15pm, I can only assume that not many people know that it’s there yet, and we had no trouble getting a table. In fact we had a large table to ourselves. I took a couple of photos until someone ran over quickly advising “no photos allowed”. I obliged and put my camera away, but really, it’s a little silly. Especially as I already had taken some ;)

We ordered a beer and a shibuya casual cocktail. The cocktail, made of lychee, sake and martini bianco, was delicious. It was also very pretty with four raspberries nestling on some white foam on top. To eat we ordered jasmine tea smoked chicke lao mian, seafood ho fun, szechuan wonton and spring onion pancakes.

I really enjoyed the chicken, it was delicately flavoured and light, and the noodles were flavoursome especially when blended with some nice accoutrements inluding a beautiful light bowl of light soup/stock. The seafood ho fun was extremely fresh and contained scallops, prawns and squid but the sauce overwhelmed. I am not a fan of black bean sauces generally, so I am sure this is why it disappointed on that front. Why order it then? It wasn’t my dish but my dining partners, he also was underwhelmed. The szechuan wonton was tasty, but not as firey as one I previously had at Angeles, a traditional szechuan restaurant in Kilburn in London. The spring onion pancakes were very flavoursome and a nice accopaniment.

Overall judgement? It opened only last weekend, and so, while they are perfecting their craft, all food on the menu is £3.50. Bargain! Therefore, I can’t really judge the food just yet, it wouldn’t be fair. First impressions are that it’s cheap, stylish, central and quick. I think it will be good for that stopgap on a busy evening or a quick sociable bite with friends.

Cha Cha Moon
15-21 Ganton St, Soho, W1F 9BN
020 72979800

28/05/08 Visited Cha Cha Moon again and had Sigapore fried noodles which were delicate, light and beautifully seasoned. Choi Sum on the side was well seasoned and flavoursome. Spring rolls were disappointing. More photos added to the post. I managed to take some this time! :-)

Posted by

I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

14 Comments

  1. Haha! You and I have chosen the same photo to start the review, what a coincidence! Love your photo of the kitchen by the way. That bloody ‘no photos’ policy. I interpreted it to mean no photos of the interiors. She didn’t come back to stop me taking food photos…

    I’ll try some other things next week. Can’t go wrong at £3.50, right?!

    Reply

  2. I love the photos!
    I’m so excited to see what everyone thinks – go bloggers ;)

    I also had the shibuya casual, and would probably go back for that if nothing else – YUM.

    Reply

  3. Ooo thanks for the tip, I’m in town tomorrow so will try and pop in. Did you notice if there were ny nice vegan options by any chance?

    Reply

  4. Thanks Helen! Your photo is nicer though – I was told off for even tamking photos of the sign. What is that all about?!

    Thanks Charmaine. The shibuya casual was yum!

    hi there Laura! It’s almost all meat and fish but I did spot tofu and aubergine lao mein and enoki lamian.

    Reply

  5. Looking forward to trying this one! Thanks for reviewing it so soon after it opened!

    Potential correction–I don’t think Alan Yau was involved in Ping Pong. Ping Pong is somewhat related to the dudes behind Nobu…

    Reply

  6. Hi Krista! Really?? I was sure he was behind Ping Pong. I’ll research. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Get down there while it’s cheap :-) Enjoy.

    Reply

  7. That no photo policy makes me break out in hives. So ridiculous!! And of course when I was told off at Yauatcha, this only spurred me on to make more photos whenever the server’s back was turned. And we weren’t photographing the room at all – just the dumplings!! And let me tell you, steamed parcels in bamboo baskets ain’t exactly visually on the cutting edge, people.

    I think Krista may be right about the Yau/Ping Pong connection…

    Reply

  8. Krista was right indeed. Must not be so speedy with my posts in future!

    In total agreement about the no photos policy too. Ridiculous!

    Reply

  9. We had a very dissappointing meal. all of the dishes were glutinous and heavily/overly sauced. The duck in Duck Lao Man (?) was delicious but the noodles were no better than those out of a pot. The decor is lovely, the service is slow but the staff are nice. However there is better food in chinatown. Maybe the half price menu is on while they get the recipes right

    Reply

  10. That’s a shame, Rachel, but it is cheap for that reason I would imagine, here’s hoping they sort it out! I’ve read some very good things on other food blogs, so hopefully it’s just an issue with consistency right now and not overall quality.

    Chinatown is always your best bet really, this is aiming to bhe upmarket fast food. Which if it works, will be well received! :-)

    Reply

  11. wonder when will their 3.50 offer disppears… as i would want to visit before its gone!

    Reply

  12. Awful !!! A psychological trap to pull in punters who have a bit of spare time on their hands. Waiters are lovely and very friendly, but I got the impression they weren’t pleased to be part of Alan Yau’s new baby which appears to be stumbling and unable to find its feet. Never again !!!

    Reply

  13. Hi Mark. The reviews do seem to be getting more negative which is a shame. Sorry you had a bad time.

    Reply

Leave a Reply