Tucked away off the King’s Road on lovely Park Walk, Huo has a distinct LA vibe, with a focus on pan-Asian “clean” food.  It helps that Huo’s location is aptly known as “Chelsea Beach”, a descriptor they live up to very well.  It might be just off King’s / Fulham Road, but sitting at a table in Huo feels like you could be on the Miami waterfront, notwithstanding the near minus digit temperatures this February.  Huo’s slick finish is no doubt helped by their origins: the restaurant is from the team behind Notting Hill’s Uli. 

I refer to “clean” in inverted commas given my contention with that term and its polarisation of food groups but in terms of interiors, Huo feels fresh and young.  Architect Jonathan Clark encapsulates the ethos perfectly through a driftwood-heavy interior design.  The space is light and airy, with coloured tables and booths, cosy cushions and an impressive white timber raft ceiling. 

Like its sister venue, Huo serves up Asian cooking with a menu showcasing Chinese and Southeast cuisine streteching across China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.  Head Chef Yam Bahaeur Gurumg has balanced the menu to showcase snacks, starters, soups, a variety of mains.  It’s the kind of restaurant you’d be able to return to and try something different each time and happily for me, there’s a range of vegan dishes.  From the small bites, the (salted) edmame beans failsafe – a bowl that you keep returning to throughout your meal as a useful kind of “touch base” point.  Fresh, green and salty, they provide an uplifting grounding point.

Onto the smaller plates, the vegetarian kaleidoscope dim sum basket is a must and an ideal way to meander into the mains.  Served as a set of six with a moreish and enveloping soya dip, two are “Jade”, encasing chives, lotus root, water chestnut, sweetcorn spring onions and vegetables.  A vivid green, their exterior is spongy and light and the interior fresh, herby and cleansing.  A fail-safe palette cleanser.  Two are “Lotus Flower”.  Filled with mushrooms, water chestnut, sprion onions and vegetables, these are a translucent grey and a woody and Autumnal take on dim sum with a very welcome nutty finish. 

The most unusual are probably the two “Primrose” dumplings, filled with kimchee, water chestnut, sweetcorn and vegetables.  A fermented cabbage, these kimchee dumplings were probably the highlight of the set: tart yet sweet, the piquant finish brings alive the taste buds.  Each bite is like a parcel of expectation and joy, with a fresh finish that makes you feel instantly perked up.

Onto the mains, disappointingly none of the Thai curries – the main attraction of any Thai menu, surely – are vegan (nor veggie), each with a shrimp base.  Whilst my companion enjoyed his Thai green chicken curry, I went for a couple of veggie dishes: Thai aubergine and Stir Fried Tofu. 

Both were solid bowls, with a sweet and sour finish and a saucy texture that would lend itself very well to a noodle pairing.  The aubergines were chunky in cut and cooked to perfection with that satisfying bite.  As standalone dishes though, the veggies work less well, begging for an accompanying noodle to soak up the saucy finish.   

Overall, the combination of food, drink and atmosphere – the ingredients to any great restaurant – are here.  Given the length of the menu, it’s the kind of place that leaves you wanting more.  Lucky for me, it’s nearby-ish – I’ll be sure to return to try their miso noodle salad.

Huo, 9 Park Walk, London SW10 0AJ


Rating: ***

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s