Taste: cha cha moon

Filling a space that used to be a nightclub (or was it a couple shops?), Alan Yau has snuck his latest restaurant into a very tidy spot on Ganton St which opens onto the recently worthwhile Kingly Square. Now that the awful umbarella-awnings have been lifted away, Cha Cha Moon offers accessible, asian, al-fresco dining all but out of reach in this part of town unless you’ve pink pounds to spend.

With a simple 3-fold menu more akin to Wagamama than Yauatcha, cuisine is pan-asian (mayte!) with Hong Kong style influences. Three main types of dish are offered: soup-noodle, stir-fry and Lao Mian (on flat, stocky noodles with a side-soup). As an opening-week offer that was never cancelled all dishes are £3.50 and in the medium-small bracket. At this price it’s worth skipping the starters and going for 2 mains.

Lao Mian crispy duck, jasmine tea soaked chicken and Singapore noodles are high achievers in this class of uncomplicated box-ticking food. The huge open-plan kitchen is churning out plate after plate of pitch perfect dishes to the masses. An army of wait staff, in “have you been to the moon” t-shirts all working a specific function, buzz along precision-packed shared trestles.

Don’t expect to feel special. Once the “have you been here before” script is over there’s no love lost by the unimpressed servers. Food is brought over when it’s ready and sometimes afterwards. In earlier visits at least one plate arrived late and lukewarm but that has recently improved.

Cha Cha Moon is solid. Design, ambiance, presentation are all straight from the Yao playbook, managing an air of exclusivity despite canteen-esque atmosphere – and reality. Unfortunately the word has spread beyond the congregation and evening queues (no booking allowed) often wriggle, back out the front door. At least the display of cookery precision on the other side of the blue glass wall provides interim entertainment.

Cha Cha Moon
15-21 Ganton St
Soho, London
W1F 9BN (map)
+44 (0) 20 7297 9800

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