It would be disingenuous to focus purely on BCC’s merits as a restaurant. Rather, it is a concierge service linked to some of the capital’s most premium brands – Ralph Lauren and the Playboy Club in particular.
Essentially, BCC is an upmarket Chinese, focusing particularly on the cuisine of Shanghai. Having partaken in what can only be described as a booze parade in the Chinese metropolis only a month previously, I know the lingo, and I know the food (and FYI, it’s not that sticky chow mein or greasy sweet and sour pork). But did BCC live up to my high expectations?
Booking a table for 6.30pm has two advantages: having chowed down three courses in record time to make it home for The Apprentice, and being guaranteed a decent 30 minutes’ chinwagging before the sound of your neighbours’ chairs being scraped back eliminate any chance of a meaningful conversation. Arriving at BCC, it was empty, save for a slew of waiters and waitresses, who outnumbered us four to one.
iPads soon arrived, with both a Hong Kong-style menu (that sticky chow mein again) and a Shanghai menu. It’s not quite as revolutionary as it sounds, though: you browse, choose, and then order from a waiter in the normal way.
A wobbly start, but the food is as good as you’ll find it in Shanghai. Soft dim sum filled with soup, grilled scallops and chilli, steamed aubergine and silky tofu. For the adventurous there’s the famous Shanghai abalone (shark fin) and birds nest soup (basically a bird’s phlegm, boiled down into a soup). Then there are the classics: sea bass, prawns in Sichuan sauce and everybody’s favourite Peking duck – but without the grease and sloppiness. It goes without saying that chopsticks and impeccable table manners are appreciated here: the service is pleasant and deferential – JUST LIKE IN CHINA.
By 9pm, the guest to waiter ratio was down to about 1:1, which in such an expansive space (there are private dining rooms to the back too) was slightly jarring. But, just as the middle classes are transforming China’s economy, it’ll be the suits that transform BCC. And once they’ve had a sniff of top-class Chinese cooking, I’ve no doubt they’ll keep coming back. For the food, mind; not just because they’ll also get looked after at The Playboy Club after dinner.
Bright Courtyard Club,
45-48 Baker Street,