Since it opened in London in 2017, I’ve seen so much on social media about PF Changs, so many images of incredible looking food and cocktails. And so when Love Pop Ups London asked me to come down to review it alongside a group of other bloggers I was so excited to finally visit. We did have a slight issue with our first booking as it was a very rainy day and their kitchen flooded! But this was all sorted out when we tried again. I was so ready to try all of their food, I had been looking at their menu as if it was like a diary, I pretty much knew what I fancied before I went in.
The London restaurant is part of a far bigger American franchise and it’s about time that they finally opened one up over here!
We began with a cocktail, it took me so long to decide which one to have as they all sounded so good but in the end I opted for the Sakura Dream which was Vanilla vodka, Pink grapefruit juice, Guava juice, Lemon juice, Orgeat syrup and was garnished with lemongrass foam. Although the lemongrass foam seemed more like a lollypop sort of thing – I was completely here for it. Not only did it look sensational, it tasted like a dream. I was so happy with my choice and could’ve happily drunk 15 or more of these without giving it a second thought.
Next, it was time to choose food, I loved the layout of the menu, I always struggle with Chinese as I’m not sure what dishes actually mean and so having the images alongside the description was a huge help and helped me to pick something I wouldn’t necessarily order otherwise. So many of the starters sounded incredible, such as the handmade shrimp or pork dumplings, the crispy calamari and the infamous dynamite shrimp – although I was a little worried that these would be a little too dynamite for me as I’m not big on spice. In the end I chose the handmade lobster & shrimp spring roll – hand rolled and filled with the sweetest lobster claw and knuckle meat, poached shrimp, lemon, and chives. Served with a Thai curry aioli. I’m so glad I picked this, it was possibly one of the best spring rolls I’ve ever had, and even though it was one of the pricier starters, the portion size was good and I adored the dip! The pastry was both flakey and had an amazing crunch whilst the filling was full of flavour but not overly fishy. I shared a little bit with a fellow blogger called Katie and in return I got to try her Original Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps – Wok-seared chicken, mushrooms, spring onions and water chestnuts served with rice sticks and crisp, cold lettuce cup. This was also nice but I feel as though it’s something that could’ve been made just as well at home, and the thought of eating basically a whole lettuce as a starter wasn’t really for me, but was still tasty. Although, she said that I’d had the best pick on the starter which solidified how good the spring roll was!
There weren’t as many main courses I was crazy about the sound of as the starters but still, having the pictures next to the dishes helped me to make a choice I was happy with. I was thinking about the lo main noodles, the pork chops and the Mongolian beef, but in the end I decided to go for the honey chicken – lightly battered in a sweet and tangy honey sauce with spring onions over a bed of crispy rice sticks. I’d attempted to cook some honey chicken myself at home a few weeks prior and I wanted to see what it should’ve tasted like (I’m not a very good chef). I can definitely say it was in a completely different league to how mine tasted and was SO SO filling I thought I’d need a wheelchair to get home. One thing I found a little bit weird with the dishes is that they didn’t come with a full side, the honey chicken came with rice sticks but I didn’t actually really eat these as they were a bit weird. I then panicked after being asked if I wanted a side to go with my main and asked for the wasabi mash (which was actually so good, I’m glad I picked it even if it was a bit of a weird mixture with the honey chicken). whereas dishes such as the pork chops come with the mash and the noodles come with, you guessed it, noodles, alongside the meat.
I wasn’t too sure I was going to be able to fit in the pudding but I do love to try and so I somehow managed. I had the white chocolate bomb – which was a white spherical chocolate shell filled with honeycomb, cocoa nibs, popping candy, chocolate soil, hazelnuts & creamy hazelnut ice cream. Covered with a bomb melting toffee sauce. It was very rich and very sweet but luckily wasn’t huge and so I was able to fit it in…just. I think a lot of the attraction is the show that goes on when the caramel sauce was poured over it and left the chocolate to melt and expose the inside.
I had a lovely evening with some great company and fantastic food. I’ll definitely be returning to try the rest of the menu but think it may be a better idea to go with a load of friends and just to share lots of different dishes as then you can try more and not be stuck with the same thing for the entirety. Thanks so much to love pop ups London and to PF Changs for having us to visit