There’s great Chinese food, there’s bad Chinese food, there’s the modernised, there’s the traditional, there’s the GSM-filled shite and then there’s… Naga.
I don’t have a reason to lie about enjoying a dining experience. I write what I feel and what I want. Yes, sometimes I may write over-dramatic statements such as ‘It’s the best (insert food item here) i’ve had in my life’ but that’s my way of urging you guys to go there to enjoy the place as much as I have (some people need that extra push after all).
So here’s a statement for y’all and I’ll keep it short and sweet. ‘If you love Chinese food or even if you don’t you will fall in love with Naga’, so it’s definitely worth a trip to High St Kensington.
The menu is long but doesn’t try to act flash or be something it’s ain’t. It does what it aims to do and that is to feature traditional, Chinese dishes of high quality (with some Vietnamese extras thrown in for good measure).
The interior is gorgeous with glass ceilings and tropical palm trees which really helps getting that whole South Asian vibe going.
We had a selection of starters, some which appealed to me more than Miss R and vice versa.
I would never go to a Chinese restaurant without ordering a won ton soup. When done correctly as this one was – it just hits you in all the right spots. Usually it features dumplings filled with minced pork and prawn but these were just filled with fresh king prawns and the broth was exactly how it should be – and warms you up good like a hug from a loved one.
It’s pretty unusual to see Vietnamese summer rolls on a Chinese menu but hey, I wasn’t complaining. These were N’s choice and she really seemed to be enjoying them. I took a bite and instantly approved, they were fresher than the ‘Fresh Prince’.
Since I was little, I have always preferred fried Vietnamese spring rolls as opposed to the bog standard Chinese alternative. What’s the difference? The Vietnamese spring rolls are mostly filled with pork, not veg and have a different pastry. They sometimes vary in size and are so easy to get wrong. I’ve had a lot in my time and these were delicious and hearty. Not the best I’ve had (Phoenix Palace make them to perfection) but definitely better than those of Cay Tre or other Vietnamese joints I’ve been to. It’s great that you can have them here in the evening as they usually are part of a daytime dim sum menu.
Their duck salad was filled with flavour and exotic spices. I only order a salad when one really catches my eye and seems good enough to have as a heavy starter or even as a main (as if that’s happened before). The salad didn’t just include lots of greens with stingy pieces of meat, it was actually mostly duck. The unusual addition of watermelon worked extremely well without it tasting like a fruit salad, softenning the spices and the meaty textures down to a T.
Not a usual BBQ spare ribs eater when I indulge in Chinese, but Goddamit was I craving them that night, the verdict? Meaty, meaty, meaty and they weren’t shy with that delicious sweet n sticky sauce either (there’s nothing worse than dry, ‘bony’ ribs).
As we’re such fat b*tches, after a selection of well-executed starters, we decided to indulge in three mains between the two of us.
The black cod aka ‘heaven on a plate’ melted in your mouth like the Holy Communion. It was refreshing to see this Japanese dish on the menu and even more refreshing to see how heavily marinated it was. This was a lovely rendition of the classic ‘Nobu’ dish, with the cod being succulent and flaky.
Now, I love seabass, I love it steamed and I love it with ginger and spring onion (I guess I got it from my mama as she’s just a lil obsessed with this dish). Naga steams that sea creature to perfection, the white meat was delicate, sparklingly fresh and not too rich…..No complaints here.
I am so disappointed in myself for not remembering the name of my desert (it’s not on the website) but let me tell you one thing – I would go to Naga just to eat three portions of it (and that’s coming from someone who usually says ‘Cheese platter please’ when prompted for a desert) – nuff said.
We left with our bellies full and we were thoroughly satisfied to say the least. I highly recommend this exotic gem, it’s also the IDEAL spot for a romantic date. Oh and they also do some very sexy cocktails.
If Naga was a man, I’d want to date him.
2 Abingdon Road