This year, it was my turn to organise Valentine's day. Luckily for me, Boyfriend doesn't like a fuss, just likes good food.
Colleagues of mine were discussing over lunch what they thought were their best addresses in town and Yipin China was mentioned - especially their "Fragrant Chicken on a Pile of Chillies". I am not a massive fan of spicy food, but boyfriend is - so hey, let's go.
What I liked the most about this place is that it was not the regular asian restaurant you would go to. The food was very different - but in a GOOD way. You won't find your regular sweet and sour, but mainly dishes you've never heard of.
Servings are generous and the meals are really tasty. We shared some dumplings (OMG SO GOOD) for a starter, I went for their signature Yipin Chicken Pot (a bit "too" bony for me, but sooo good) and Boyfriend went with the super spicy beef, both shared with a portion of their chef rice.
I would have definitely given them a 5 star if it wasn't for the service - we had to wait 45min for our maincourse and seems that there was a bit of a mixup with our reservation - made 3 weeks in advance. I blame it on Valentine's Day, and will definitely go back - as well as recommend it!
We have yet to find 4 or 5 star Chinese food in London, but Yipin China is a good solid 3 star. It's a bit pricy, but definitely worth the extra money when comparing it to other local Chinese restaurants.
Our standard order:
- Wonton soup (my favorite on a cold evening!)
- Deep Fried Beef with Cumin
- Chicken with Peppers in Black Bean Sauce
- Egg Fried Rice
The portions are decent sized, though not huge. The staff are attentive and we usually are able to pick up our order about 20 minutes after we call.
Yipin will continue to be our go-to takeaway for those evenings when we just don't feel like cooking.
The first thing that came to my attention when I entered was the mediocre, close to dull interior design. It's plain and simple and for some it may be just enough but for me it was just a 'staying on the cheap side' thing going on.
The menu is also not very big - it's focused on the Hunan setting and you are not given such a big of a choice. The good part here is that the food is very tasty and actually saves the day (and my judgemental but honest rating). Also, be warned that most of the dishes are quite spicy.
The little restaurant is worth the visit by I don't think I'd go out of my way just to go there again.
The spot can definitely become more famous and desirable if someone reads my comments and does something about it. For now it hardly achieves the 'hidden gem' status. That's just my opinion.
Fantastic Chinese at very good prices. Definitely a place to go with a large group so you can try many dishes and share. Try the mapo tofu, dandan noodles, peking duck, and dumplings. Pretty authentic style, so don't go in expecting highly westernized Chinese
My non-Chinese friends picked out this restaurant and said it was really good. That alone kind of discredits the restaurant already. What's more it is at the not-so-busy part of Angel and the night I went, it was half empty. I was all prepared for a bad dinner when I was pleasantly surprised by its menu. It was a nicely printed menu with pretty pictures like the ones they have in China. I recognized a lot of my favorite Sichuan dishes though the name of the restaurant suggests it should be Hunan. Well, both are known for spicy dishes, so close enough. We ordered poached sliced beef, twice cooked duck, cumin beef, and since we had to have fish to celebrate Chinese New Year, we ordered a sweet and sour sea bass, which was a mistake. First off, the fish was tiny, so you didn't quite get the feeling of abundance, but rather had to ration the potion to make sure everybody could get a piece. Then it was the taste. It was a bit fishy and I swear food coloring was used in the making of the orange color sauce. However, that was just one dish, all other dishes were quite delicious. They do poached sliced beef well and I am excited to find a restaurant near me that I can come for that dish on a regular basis. Overall, it was really good and I definitely would recommend it.
Very decent experience here yesterday. Nice guy serving, liked my shoes!
This place serves up quite a variety of chinese cuisine. I had the smacked cucumbers and the cumin beef. Both of these were totally decent examples of the genre.
I was happy to learn that cumin beef is a hunanese dish, not sichuan as i had thought.
Anyways, don't hesitate to go here. Not as cheap as one might wish, but good food is worth paying for.
From my previous review of Bar Shu it may have become apparent that my partner and I love Sichuan food so were very excited to read about Yipin and went immediately after reading Yelpers reviews.
Overall we liked it, it was prob not as fine a dining experience as Bar S but then it was significantly cheaper. We tried some more unknown dishes in Yipin because there were more things we had not heard of before and looked interesting.
I just love that there is a place that does smacked cucumbers, uses PROPER mouth numbing sichuan peppers and looks outside the usual Chinese food box. More please...
I heard a lot about this place so was very excited to try the food. The restaurant itself isn't in the best state, we could see a room full of boxes opposite our table. However, I didn't let that put me off. The menu is great, so much to choose from, if you don't like spicy food do not food there is so much choice you can easily avoid any spicy dishes. We ordered and food arrived very quickly.
However, I found the food slightly greasy and not what I quite expected, in comparison to what I have read. I would return to sample the menu a bit more maybe I made poor choices. If you want to experience something more than just your average Chinese then this place is worth I try.
As a Chinese who comes from Sichuan , I suppose my review should be enough object. Yipin China Restaurant's dishes are very authentic in comparison to many restaurants in Chinatown , especially spicy ones. Some western individuals may feel dishes served here are greasy or a bit salty, but that is what real cuisine from Sichuan and Hunan! Anyway, if you like Chinese food and especially Sichuan or Hunan cuisine(famous for hot, spicy and strong taste) and wanna try some authentic Chinese cuisines, then do not miss this restaurant . I give it 4 stars not because it is not good enough, just because as a Chinese I am very picky on Chinese food!
Visited on a Friday evening. The place was bustling and packed so we had to wait a while for a table for four.
The menu is quite unlike your standard Chinese restaurant and is an adventure in 'Chinese' Chinese food, as opposed to 'westernised' Chinese food. Lots of colourful pictures and interesting sounding dishes. It took ages to decide what to get so to some extent it was trial and error since there was so much that was unfamiliar to me but lots of dishes that I wanted to try.
The range of dishes covers Hunanese, Sichuan, and Cantonese with the Cantonese items being more familiar and the Hunan and Sichuan items being more unusual and interesting. Lots of seafood dishes also on the menu with choice of simple preparation (black bean, ginger and spring onion etc).
I opted for stewed pork belly with preserved vegetables from the Hunan section. Thin slices of super tender and flavourful pork belly (think of bacon Chinese style but stewed rather than fried) on a bed of finely chopped and full of flavour preserved veg that had a flavour of soy with perhaps black bean / yellow bean...not sure. Sounds a bit unusual but it was great. Coupled with some garlicky choy sum and steamed rice it was perfect for me.
Since I also ate a good deal of my dining partners' dishes including the more familiar crispy duck and pancakes, dan dan noodles and beancurd dishes, I couldn't finish all of my pork belly dish but happily they boxed it up for me and made for a tasty lunch the next day.
I was so intrigued by the menu I am looking forward to going back to try more...
The waiters were friendly and the owner came over for a chat. Extra points for doing something different, achieving high standards and for going for bold and interesting dishes.
This place is friggin' fantastic - amazing food, great service, and they're about to open a Karaoke room downstairs (whoohooo!).
We ordered a ton of stuff; it was great that we had a Chinese friend with us, who helped us order the good stuff :)
What he had:
Crispy Pork Belly
If you order anything in this place, it has GOT to be the crispy pork belly. OMG. I died. The plate lasted less than 5 minutes... addictive, perfectly crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside and full of delectable smoky flavour. This is like crack to me.
Smacked Cucumbers Hunan Style (vegan), £5.90
These were absolutely delicious, surprisingly spicy, and an ode to garlic lovers; it's one of those dishes that is highly addictive and makes you keep eating... loved it.
Dried Bean-Curd in Spring Onion and Oil (vegan), £6.90
This dish was so popular that we ordered it twice ! It is so much more than tofu, and infused with subtle flavours. Highly recommended, especially if you're with a vegetarian/vegan crowd.
Spiced Fungus (vegan), £4.90
WOW !!! This one had a true kick in good ol' fashion Hunan style. It was absolutely divine; great texture, served cold, and the chopped chillies will 'blow you away'. For spice lovers only though.
Blanched Spinach in Sesame Sauce (vegan), £5.90
Tame dish, but delicious... the Spinach tasted earthy in a kind of organic way. Enjoyed this a lot.
They were out of the Northern Sichuan Pea Jelly, which the vegetarians at the table were keen on tasting... but next time will be the one :). So many more appetizers to choose from, we'll have to come back!
From the mains, we had:
Deep Fried Beef with Cumin, £9.90
My least favourite dish, ordered by a friend of mine; I'm not too keen on cumin as I find it overpowers a lot of the meat and is hard to be subtle with; if you like cumin though, this will be a hugely satisfying dish... the beef is cooked to perfection, and tender.
Gong Bao Prawns with Cashew Nuts, £12.90
Didn't have a taste of this one, but it was gone in less than 5 mn; I think that it might have been *that* good !
Sliced Sea Bass in a Soup of Pickled Mustard, £12.90
This was one of the highlights for me (I ordered it, so it had better be the best tasting dish for me ;-). Served in a great tasting broth (not too salty), the sea bass melted in your mouth, and the flavour profile was out of this world. Slightly mustardy, delicately spiced, a hint of anis seed... yum, yum yum!!!!
Dry-fried Green Beans (fresh runner beans, minced pork and Sichuan bean sprouts), £7.90
Another surprising banger ! There's some serious chilli in this, so be prepared to cool this off with some Tsing-Tao or Tiger beer :) But very, very good.
Stewed Beef Brisket in Five Spiced Sauce, £9.00
Another one of my favourites of the night, ordered by my friend John (who did the review below). Very tender, not too fatty, the sauce was not too hot, subtle, but with strong flavour profiles. Highly recommended.
Bitter Melon, £10.90
I hate that stuff by default, so I'm not in a good place to review it.
All in all, Yipin China is one of those places that you very much hope will succeed. It's pretty unique in its offering of traditional Hunanese and Sichuanese as well as Cantonese food; and it offers a menu that caters for gung ho risk takers (Swan feet, duck tongue, offal) as well as adventurers (the sliced sea bass, or the beef in extremely spicy sauce)... as well as the more conservative, risk averse diners (the bean curd, aromatic crispy duck, etc.). Great options for vegans and omnivores alike, and they are fully licensed.
I really want to keep this place a secret, but I want it very much to survive... which in Islington is touch and go, especially since it's not on Upper Street per se, but on the road less traveled of Liverpool Road. That being said, given the quality of the food, the fact that the Chef has been part of some pretty famous restaurants in mainland China, and that they're opening up a Karaoke downstairs, they've got a lot going for them. I just hope it won't become too popular so that we can selfishly walk in whenever we want to have some soft shell crab or 5 spice beef !!!
Just had lunch at Yipin. I had high expectations after reading the reviews on Yelp, but I'm sorry to say... my fellow Yelpers let me down. This place is awful. I had the pork and peppers, as well as the squid in black bean sauce. Both were very salty, very small portion, and looked/tasted old. The pork especially looked like left-over scrap meat (tiny pieces and discolored). The only thing that was decent was the rice, which was two quids. When you see the menu, you'll get excited because they used professional photographers to take pictures of the dishes, but the actual items that come out look nothing like the photos (portion-wise too). Service wasn't very good either. They never checked up on me (food alright, need more water, etc.) and this place doesn't take Amex. I'd recommend elsewhere.
Cudos to Shayan S who wrote the previous (and first) review of this restaurant, and adequately plagiarised the menu for you to get an idea of what Yipin is offering (I shan't bother to repeat).
I will say I feel sorry for them being located here, because it's a bit tucked away from the main drag and they deserve WAY more business than they get, I hope that the Upper Street usuals get bored and wonder up Liverpool road.
The food was amazing, and very authentic which is impressive as the menu is incredibly vast and we did hop-stop gastronomically around Chinese provinces ordering what I'm sure a Chinese person would think was a hugely uncomplimenatry array of dishes... didn't stop us enjoying everything from spicy Szechuan aubergine to 'Chairman Mao's pork belly' (which actually I ordered because the title made me laugh).
Incredibly polite and helpful staff. I did witness a couple here composed of one 'Chinese' half who looked like she knew what she was ordering and showed no restraint in displaying her satisfaction for what was served... so take the thumbs up from the Asian side too.
When we booked to come here for dinner on Saturday I did so with some anticipation - an exciting menu and good reviews. It is probably fair to say that in the absence of those reviews I would never have wandered off the street into the restaurant. The interior looked a little stark and unwelcoming and dancing fairy lights in the windows in March is just wrong.
Unfortunately we found Yippin China a bit hit and miss. We ordered crispy pork belly and Peking duck as appetisers with Gung Bao chicken and beef with asparagus & black pepper to follow with rice and pak choi in ginger sauce.
The starters were a miss. The pork belly was crispy but had not been sufficiently rendered in our view which means there was just too much chewy fat to work through for the dish to properly work. The Peking duck (served after the Gung Bao chicken had already arrived sans rice) was also not as crispy as I would have liked and was on the cool side.
However, the mains were excellent. The Gung Bao dish was our favourite with peanuts providing welcome texture and balance to the soft chicken and chilli sauce. However, this was bizarrely served before the Peking duck arrived and without any rice. While it tasted good anyway, it was better when the rice eventually arrived to accompany it. The beef dish was also excellent. The beef itself was tender and the asparagus perfectly cooked with the black pepper sauce holding everything together.
The only frustration with the mains was the pak choi. We had ordered it with a ginger sauce but it was served with a garlic sauce. Consequently, while the pak choi itself was perfectly cooked the garlic hit (delivered by the bucket load) was not what we had been looking for. This said, we were so full from the previous courses that we could not have done this dish justice in any event so it did not really matter too much.
So. lots of good, lots of not so good - hence the 3 star rating. Given the strength of the other reviews we may have had an unlucky experience and we will give it another go soon. Watch this space.
Authentic Chinese food! Emphasis on the authentic! Don't expect to come here for your General Tso's chicken. I got pig liver and loved it. The prices are fairly reasonable here, the menu is huge and inviting, and the atmosphere is clean and nice. Go on an adventure here!
This new Hunanese restaurant in Islington is absolutely wonderful. We went with friends, one of whom is Chinese, and she was as enthusiastic as any of us. Great, authentic food; wonderful service and atmosphere, fair price. A REAL FIND!
Sadly not for me. My choice of starter was a non starter. Spicy fungus was not what I expected,it was cold and tastless. Put me off the main meal. I wont be back. I give 3 for good service.
Finally Angel has a decent Chinese restaurant. The menu was more Hunanese than anything else with a pleasing range of dishes from nicely done common dishes (such as Kung Po Chicken) to more obscure (man-and-wife offal) all of which was decent, flavoursome and much, much more than generic Chinese of Young's, etc. They were still playing the Italian music from the restaurant's previous owners but we were too busy concentrating on the food to notice. The bill was under £20 per person too which made it surprisingly cheap.