Xi’an is the oldest of the four great ancient capitals of China.
It was home to the Terracotta Army, the starting point of the Silk Road, and some of the finest food in the continent of Asia.
And Xi’an Impression is a tiny local haunt in the shadow of The Emirates Stadium in Highbury, which hopes to bring that cuisine to London.They don’t care for bookings, or how your day was, or whether you can fit in the dining room. They have a restaurant to run, don’t you know.
The space is a small, simple, functional hole-in-the-wall canteen. Wooden tables and white walls adorned with a row of identical-looking Chinese–style prints. It doesn’t really matter though, no one is there for the décor.
The food is unashamedly, thrillingly authentic – they’re not going to Westernise your meal by covering it in a sweet and sour sauce, nor are they going to molly-coddle you through what everything means on the menu. Trust, instead, that the food is delicious and jump in head (and hands) first.
Look around, see what the punters have ordered – liangpi (cold noodles served with julienned cucumber and chilli oil), Xi’an pork burger (with a special sauce that the chef will take to the grave); and classic biang biang noodles (thick and chewy belt noodles with mouth numbing Szechuan pepper) are all signatures and should all be tried.
Your only problem…
…will be fitting it all on the table.
NOTE: Xi’an Impression is open Monday-Saturday, 11.30am-10pm; Sunday, 11.30am-9pm. For more information, visit their website here.
117 Benwell Road, London, N7 7BW
In case you fancy a nightcap…Top Cuvée isn’t too far away.