Author(s): Mr. Peng
Founded in 1982 by Mr Peng, Hunan is a legendary London restaurant which attracts customers from all over the world. At Hunan, diners don't choose - they simply say what they don't eat and how spicy they like their food. Mr Peng then does the rest, serving up small portions with the emphasis on sharing many courses. The orders are hand-written and are sent down to the kitchen by a chute and the food travels up in a dumb waiter. Mr Peng is a firm believer in simplicity. Hunan is a landmark book that captures the essence of a unique menu from a unique character. Among the 70 must-have recipes are Mr Peng's 'absurdly delicious' prawn dumplings, lettuce wraps filled with diced chicken, 'which you just pop into your mouth and scrunch' and mouth-melting double-cooked pork. As Mr Peng says: 'I often say to people I've only just met: I'm a very strange person. And then I have to explain: food is my life. Despite being close to 70 I'm still in the kitchen at Hunan, on the floor almost every day doing prep, working the wok and talking to guests, most of whom have been regulars for years. The food is the only thing which has changed, and which changes almost daily. It is really about bringing out the most in the ingredients. Subtle blends of chilli and Sichuan peppercorns push enormous pearly scallops to the edge while the gentle salty miso cuts through the tenderest slivers of corn-fed chicken. It is possible because the ingredients I use are fresh and of faultless quality.
'I have long accepted that Hunan may be the best Chinese restaurant in the world.' Giles Coren, The Times
"The best Chinese restaurant in London.Hunan isn't your typical Chinese restaurant." Zagat 2013 "One of the top 100 restaurants in the UK (40)" Sunday Times 2012 "Out of this world,' said my friend of fine beans encrusted with garlic and sea salt. 'The brilliance is how they've been fried quickly to seal in the sweetness. Absurdly delicious for a humble bean." Matthew Norman ES "Forget the menu, leave it to the boss', when you visit this 'unprepossessing' Pimlico stalwart - simply the best Chinese in town; Mr Peng ensures 'there's never a dull moment', and the 'wonderful food' - a 'superb feast' of 'exciting, unexpected and eye-opening' dishes - 'just keeps coming." Harden's "Mr Peng is to Hunan what Andrea Riva is to Riva - a consummate restaurateur. He is the maestro of a chaotic medley of food, conjuring the most fabulous titbits out of a basement kitchen." Evening Standard: The Fantastic Mr Peng
I may talk about my heart a great deal but I speak very little about my past. If anything it's because I'm too sentimental. I still have all the love letters I wrote to my wife many years ago and I still travel frequently to see old friends. But the thing I like to talk about most, the thing I'm most passionate about, is always food and the kitchen.