Guangzhou Restaurant Review: Alan's Kitchen

By Lena Gidwani, July 30, 2018

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The Place

Hidden away in K11’s basement, Alan’s Kitchen stands out amidst a small sea of eateries, exuding an old-school, rustic, fine dining touch to a casual floor space. It’s cozy, with an expansive open kitchen, exposed brick walls with plenty of polished wood touches, luxurious foliage and dim mood lighting. 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

Whilst we do concur that mall restaurants are usually not ideal for romantic dates and swanky business rendezvous, Alan’s is actually quite refined and boasts some delicious Italian-inspired, Westerncentric fare. 

The Food 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

Helming the kitchen at Alan’s is the awardwinning Alan Yu himself, a Shanghai-born, American-raised executive chef. Yu has served at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as cooktops at some of the most desirable Michelin-starred locations in New York and Washington DC. Currently running Le Rivage and Alan’s Bistro in Shanghai, Alan’s Kitchen is his latest establishment in our humble South. 

The one page, leather-bound menu is undoubtedly short, but there’s a ‘less is more’ philosophy here. For appetizers, start with the burrata cheese (RMB78), with fresh rocket, grape fruit and a light balsamic dressing. Colorful, albeit on the smaller side, this fresh starter comes with a drizzle of crunchy hazelnuts, adding a textural component. Less successful appetizers are the Canadian scallops (RMB98) and the octopus (RMB98), which, oddly, could both do with an additional sprinkling of seasoning. 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

Main courses fare better than the appetizers, and the beef Wellington is one reason to dine here. It seems like a crazy idea for any chef (unless your name is Gordon Ramsay) to pursue, as it’s one of the hardest preparations to pull off. A chunk of tenderloin is covered with Parma ham under a spread of finely chopped mushrooms and then packaged individually in a light puff pastry. Sitting on a buttery bed of potato puree with a rich red wine jus, the meat is well-cooked and the pastry flaky, although a decent touch of seasoning is needed to bring this dish up to snuff. 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

A good order, although it’s yet to be added to be menu, is the American premium rib eye (RMB588). A 500-gram slab can easily feed up to four guests. It arrives divided for us, surrounded by swooshes of red wine jus and artistically presented seasonal vegetables. 

The arrival of the risotto (RMB128) is an immensely delightful welcome. It wallows in a creamy, black truffle-laden plate, topped with a generous portion of seared foie gras. We’d like to say it’s bliss on a plate, and that you’d ought to apologize to your thighs before indulging in this lush creation. 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

To end the repast, order Alan’s signature dessert: lemon (RMB36). And yes, it looks just like one too. Crack lightly with a fork and dig in; there’s light mousse, bits of candied lemon and finely chopped mint. 

The Vibe 

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Image via Alan's Kitchen

Alan’s Kitchen works a decent treat even though it’s in a mall, making it a fine example of yet another establishment that has sprung upon us with little fanfare. Go on, dig into a beef Wellington or truffle risotto, and just remember: keep the salt and pepper shakers close at hand. 

Price: RMB300 
Who’s going: fans of restaurants like Li Chateau, chilled beef lovers 
Good for: swanky mall meets, dress-down fine dining 
Nearest metro: Huacheng Dadao (APM Line), 2 minutes 

Open daily, 11am to 10pm; see listing for Alan’s Kitchen

READ MORE: What to Eat – and Avoid – in Guangzhou's K11 Mall

[Cover image via Alan's Kitchen]

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