When you’re going out to eat in central London, perhaps after a drink or two in Soho, you’re likely to follow the signs and the growling of your stomach towards Chinatown. It’s a haven of Chinese-run businesses, restaurants, cafés and bakeries that should be on the top of any visitor to London’s list.
Sadly, one of the most beloved spots in the districts, Jen Café, has closed down. Any frequent visitors to Chinatown will know just the place, not least because it’s dashing green exterior was easy to recognise; perched on the corner of Newport Street; but also because it served some pretty stunning jiaozi and tea.
It’s enjoyed a run of over 20 years, having first arrived to the streets of London in the year 2000. Food website Eater reported this week that the site had sadly been covered by white sheets and had permanently closed.
Speaking to Eater, Angela Hui, who has reported on Chinatown businesses and restaurants, said she was “genuinely sad”, and that: “I was always so mesmerised watching the aunties make fresh dumplings in the window.
“For me, it’s nostalgia more than anything and it reminded me of old-school cha chan teng in Hong Kong. I always ordered the grilled dumplings covered in chilli oil and vinegar and a luminous bright green apple slush fruit bubble tea.”
On the Chinatown website archives, Jen Café received a glowing report: “There’s no excuse not to find it, just look for Jen’s vibrant jade exterior – and make passers-by green with envy at your delicious dumplings.” After 22 years of doing just that, there’s no doubt that Jen Café will be missed by many.