Master Wei, London: Award winning Xi’an Chinese restaurant with prices that mean you can ACTUALLY try a variety of dishes.

After a year off restaurant reviews, I am BACK. Please bear with me, i’m a little rusty.

  • Food (7/10)
  • Value (9/10)
  • Service (10/10)

I’m back to reviewing restaurants, mainly because I spend most of my salary eating out and feeling guilty about it, so telling myself it is a creative hobby will perhaps counteract some of those negative feelings. I went to Master Wei a bloody while ago now, and I’ve got to be honest when I say I have been putting off writing this post because there is nothing more boring than a positive restaurant review. Perhaps actually, it reflects more on myself as a writer, that I cannot keep a reader entertained unless i’m just straight up trashing a place. This is also the first time I have written in a while, so it is becoming increasingly difficult to write anything that I think anyone would WANT to read, and just getting my thoughts onto paper is proving incredibly tough. When I say it has been a while, I’ve actually realised it has been a year, which is shocking and shameful. My last post was about winter lockdown in the UK, how depressing.

Master Wei (Picture taken from Google Maps)

I went to Master Wei on my birthday with my two absolute best friends. I had found the place by googling “Best Cheap Eats in London”, and after seeing a picture of those FAT HAND PULLED NOODLES on the article, I went ahead and booked it. It’s really central, just short walk(ish) from Covent Garden and a shorter walk from St Pancras. In other words, its next to the British Museum. I’m sorry, i’m crap at describing where things are in London, I don’t live there yet and i’m not sure what point of reference people need when explaining where something is. It is on a quiet little side street off a main road, feeling slightly hidden and certainly away from the busy streets and traffic.

In some ways, eating at this sweet little restaurant seems like a distant memory, because the night proceeding that lasted until well into the next morning. In other words, we got absolutely smashed, starting with the very reasonably priced red wine at the restaurant, followed by more and more wine, then absolutely awful homemade espresso martinis, then more wine. I was so hungover that I arrived two hours late to my birthday meal with my family, after waking up and literally running straight to the station (still with the night before’s makeup). I hadn’t showered, I smelled like alcohol, I looked like shit, and everyone knew. It really really seemed to everyone at my family birthday that i’d had a one night stand with someone and come straight from there, THAT was the cringiest part. I’m now wincing as I write this but I had a pair of pants in my jeans pocket and everything, which I have NO IDEA as to why I had put them there, but it was kind of impossible to make them believe otherwise. Like what reason does someone have a pair of pants in their pocket? My mind has drawn a blank. I think perhaps in my rushing to get sorted to go on my birthday morning, I must’ve just shoved them there in an attempt to tidy my room (as I lived on a boat and shared a cabin), and didn’t want my cabin mate to see my pants strewn all over the floor. ANYWAY, I can’t remember fully, and everyone saw them. So I guess i’m mainly trying to erase the whole event from my mind.

First drink of the night, little did I know just how drunk I was going to get.

Pre getting absolutely hammered, was fantastic. Master Wei was an excellent place to have a birthday meal. We sat outside in the warm sun (on the 30th Oct, what the hell?), and ordered a bunch of stuff, mainly exclaiming at the low prices of everything. Also, the waiters were really welcoming, and talked enthusiastically about the food and their favourite dishes, which always helps when making choices from a huge menu. By far the most amazing dish was the Sour and Spicy Pork Dumplings in Soup (£6.80) . Massive, steaming hot and sour and better than most soups I’ve ever had, I would go back again and again just for this.

Sour and Spicy Pork Dumplings in Soup, Xi’an Hand Shredded Chicken in Spicy Sauce, Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

For sure, the Sweet and Sour Chicken (£8.80) was also probably the best I’ve ever had, and enough to feed three people or more as a side dish. Their Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup (£4.90), was decent enough, but lacked salt and was sort of lackluster in general. I wouldn’t have even ordered it but my friend had that shit cold that everyone had in October/November, so for some reason Chicken Soup seemed like the thing to order an ill person.I don’t know why, but on top of this absolute chicken fest I felt compelled to order the Xi’an Hand Shredded Chicken in Spicy Sauce (£8.30), and I think I was the only one that ate it, as there was so much other chicken to plough through. It was pretty decent and apart from the chicken being cold, the spicy sauce was fresh and fragrant. I think perhaps I blindly ordered not knowing it would be cold, and then felt slightly disappointed. It was listed clearly under COLD STARTERS, so whatever, my fault.

Sweet and Sour Chicken (£8.80)

I’ve said it once, and i’ll probably say it a million more times, but the best food to go out and get is Chinese food. No matter how hard I try, I can never recreate even anything similar to something I would order from Master Wei, and I honestly feel so lucky that I live in a society where I can try the most fantastic food from all over the world at such a reasonable price. Hand pulled noodles from Xi’an in China, all for me, and very cheap. I think perhaps I take it for granted a little at times, being English and having access to all the worlds best food at any given moment. I recommend this place to everyone. London has a lot of shit, expensive food, and this is cheap and delicious. This may not have been my finest piece of work, but at least I put words on paper, for the first time in a year. So cut me some slack.

Master Wei 13 Cosmo Pl, London WC1N 3AP

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