Look & Feel: Like the food, the décor here fuses different things—albeit this time it’s aesthetics rather than flavours, ingredients and textures. On paper, it shouldn’t work; in reality, it does, coming off as cute and unpretentious. Diners sit at black marble tables on plush blue-and-cream chairs with design-forward lighting, but the floors are a simple light wood and the ceiling features exposed pipes and wiring painted grey, lending a decidedly industrial feel. There’s a big bar and service area to one side of the restaurant, and French-windows that open onto a terrance on the other. It’s all very relaxed and convivial, with groups of people huddled around tables groaning under the weight of numerous dishes and bottles of wine.
On the Menu: The BC in 1908 stands for British-Chinese, and this description appropriately captures the essence of the food here. If you’re wondering, 1908 is the year the first Chinese restaurant opened in the UK. The concept of British-Chinese cuisine was developed by the Chinese immigrants who went to the UK in the 20th century and attempted to recreated their beloved traditional dishes while being limited to British ingredients and attempting to please the British palate. Owner Suzanna Ho’s family was part of the wave of Hong Kong families that emigrated to the UK in the 1970s and set up shop in Bristol, specializing in Cantonese cuisine with a British edge. Now, 1908BC pays tribute to her family’s culinary legacy—but make no mistake, this is definitely not a classic Cantonese meal. But then, it doesn’t claim to be.
We dive right in and start the meal with the Chip Shop Curry a deliciously decadent curry influenced by Britain’s smorgasbord of Chinese, English, and Indian cuisines and paired with a hefty bowl of chips. This is, without a doubt, the absolute highlight of the meal—we keep the dish on the table and periodically sample it throughout the meal. We order the House Special ($230), the simplest form of the dish, but it’s also available with Prawns ($250), Chicken ($180), and or Vegetables ($160). Paired with a so-fried-it’ll-clog-your-arteries (but in a good way) Butterfly Prawn Toast ($120), this meal was off to the races.
Another signature dish here is the Crispy Aromatic Shredded Deck ($140), a BC twist on the classic Peking Duck. It’s served with the traditional accompaniments, but the crispy, shredded duck added a nice texture that makes the dish fun. We also order the Crispy Shredded Chili Beef ($180) with a side of rice though, unfortunately, this turns out to be a bit of a let down. Although the flavors are good, the strips of beef were so heavily fried and crisp that we couldn’t taste the meat’s flavours or textures at all, resulting in a dish that felt more confusing than anything else.
Overall, though, we enjoyed the meal. 1908BC specializes in hearty, British-Chinese comfort food and sometimes, that’s all you need.
Jeng: The Chip Shop Curry is 100% worth going back for, and the Crispy Aromatic Shredded Duck is a solid choice.
Not So Jeng: The beef dish was not bad but it was genuinely confusing…we didn’t get around to finishing it.
FYI: Some of the dishes were crowd-sourced through social media. There’s also a private dining room if you’re dining in a group want some a little privacy.
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This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.