Pot & Rice, famed for claypot rice dishes, a popular dish in Southern China and nearby, now has a branch in centre of Soho.

This is second Pot & Rice restaurant, the first being in Elephant & Castle. The Soho branch is quite petit only consisting of about 10 tables with a long sharing one in the middle.

And it’s incredibly popular with a swift flow of customers plus high number of food take outs. The doors were more open than closed, it was that busy with deliveries.

We were there on Thursday, so not even a weekend. Pot & Rice is probably one of those places that has a queue outside during peak times. And I’m not blaming them, the dishes were spectacular.

In fact I think I now found my second favourite Asian restaurant in central London, not actually second in place because I love them both but for different reasons.

As we settled into the comfy chairs we started studying the menu, it has pictures or drawings I should say, and explanations of certain dishes like cheung fung for instance.

I like that about less than familiar dishes, you know what you are getting. And although I actually tried cheung fung before I didn’t remember its name.

It’s a rice noodle roll, topped with a variety of toppings. In our case we chose tobiko and prawn with sweet soy. It’s a great dish with a combination of textures, the broad noodle rolls are very soft while the prawns are roughly minced giving a good bite to the dish. The flavour pattern is complete with the sweet soy.

We followed manager’s recommendations and ordered quite a few dishes to share, they are very quick at prepping and bringing them out. Next is Taiwanese fried chicken, I was concerned it’d be spicy but it’s not.

The coating is salt and pepper batter, it’s crispy and thicker than normal revealing tender chicken pieces inside. It’s delicious, we can’t stop eating it even though it’s still very hot.

We also order a bao each, mine is with chicken which comes with the same Taiwanese fried chicken piece inside. So if you can’t decide but want both for starters order bao with fried chicken. That way you get to enjoy both as the baos are definitely worth ordering.

My guest went for an aromatic duck bao and he seems pleased with it, gobbling it up in seconds.

We share two more dishes before mains arrive. Pumpkin korokke, which is Japanese pumpkin croquettes and soft-shell summer roll. That was my first time trying korokke, despite always wanting to order them.

Soft puree like pumpkin filling in crisp coating with a curry dip on the side, I’ve been seriously missing out all these years.

We are slightly disappointed in the soft-shell roll though, the only dish we wouldn’t order again. It’s Thai style fresh spring roll. The crab is prepared perfectly and wrapped in plenty of fresh veggies and greens but it’s just lacking a bit more carbs for us and the veggies are taking away the delicate flavour of the crab.

Perhaps we are just too used to maki soft shell rolls with rice. The sides are followed by our two rice pots. I’m recommended chicken and shiitake. It arrives looking presentable I quickly snap a picture before the staff member starts mixing.

They add a bit of soy sauce in the process. The dish is supposed to be mixed, the whole idea is to incorporate the toppings and the rice of different textures evenly.

The dish is cooked in it’s individual clay pots which makes them very hot and continues being cooked while still on the table, making rice on the sides with scorched crust while leaving centre soft and fluffy.

I take portion after portion on to the smaller plate to speed up cooling. It’s delicious, the balance of ingredients and flavour is just spot on.  My guest is also loving his claypot, it’s Korean beef & kimchi and yolk.

It looks and tastes good but way too spicy for me. I only manage to try tiny bit. The beef has a lovely sweeter note to it. That completes our evening we struggle to finish our pots realising we left absolutely no space for dessert.

I wouldn’t have minded it though, matcha French toast sounds particularly tempting. I can’t though. Instead I ask for matcha milk bubble tea with tapioca for take away and we leave.

Pot & Rice does great bubble teas. As you may have gathered Pot & Rice is a fusion restaurant combining popular Asian dishes under one roof at a reasonable price too. If you haven’t been for whatever reason now is the perfect occasion but do book to avoid disappointment.

Pot & Rice, 16A D’Arblay St, London W1F 8EA