Rupert Hohwieler 07/05/23
Poon’s Wontoneria at Carousel | A Wonton-Fuelled Residency
When it comes to wontons, Poon’s has always delivered the goods.
Last year it started to literally deliver the goods, running a nationwide online delivery service while juggling the demands of supper clubs and pop-ups in between. And this year, those goods (perfectly wrapped silky parcels of meat and veg drizzled in a vinegar chilli dressing, better known as London’s most famous wontons) are available at the No. 23 ‘incubator space’ run by Carousel, next to their Charlotte Street restaurant.
But quickly, before diving into that, we’ll roll back the tape a little bit for the uninitiated… In 1973 a man/masterchef named Bill Poon opened a Cantonese restaurant in Covent Garden called Poon’s. It received a Michelin star, five more restaurants followed, and for the next thirty years they were some of the most popular Chinese restaurants in London (counting cheffing celebs like Nigella Lawson and Jeremy Lee as superfans). Now Bill is retired (as are the restaurants) and his daughter Amy has taken it upon herself to awaken the beast from hibernation; since 2018 she’s been running both residencies and supper clubs – some long, some short, all incredibly successful – and the delivery service, with the end game being to open a permanent Poon’s restaurant, just like how it was back in the good old days. This is a very brief summary of how we’ve got to this point – we could go on, but to do it justice the whole Poon’s story probably needs its own movie or TV series (have at it, Netflix…).
Back to it: the next stop on the Poon’s revival tour is Carousel – a restaurant that, as the name implies, has a revolving-door policy of guest chefs who come in for short-stay residencies. Amy took over their slightly longer-stay residency space next door, No 23, in early February, but what was first pitched as a three-month stay has now been extended until October. She’s heading up the 16 seater space with a concept she calls ‘Poon’s Wontoneria’, a lunchtime-only wonton eating session that features five flavour-packed fillings: pork (with bamboo shoots), chicken thigh (with wood ear mushrooms, water chestnut and ginger), marinated prawn (with bamboo shoots) and a veggie one (with jackfruit, tofu, cabbage and carrot). In addition to the wontons, there’s also a daily special (a wonton noodle bowl) and the option to take home some of the family’s signature sauces like WO (a twist on XO), Chilli Vinegar and Extraordinary Chilli Oil.
Those sell like hot cakes sauce…
NOTE: Poon’s Wontoneria is at No.23 at Carousel until October 2023. It’s open lunchtimes (12-3pm) from Tues-Sat – you can find out more, and book, HERE.
No.23 at Carousel | 23 Charlotte St, W1T 1RL
Want to meet the neighbours? Here are the best restaurants in Central London…
23 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1RL
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