HomeReviews - UKEkachai (South East Asian) – King’s Cross, London

Ekachai (South East Asian) – King’s Cross, London

HALAL STATUS • Halal chicken • Prepped and cooked separately

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant

Having opened only last month, Ekachai in King’s Cross is the brand’s fifth London restaurant.

The southeast Asian specialists cater for Halal chicken across all their branches.

FtL has been informed: “We use halal chicken in all chicken dishes in all branches of Ekachai.

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant“We have three pork items: pork dumplings, char siu pork, and ribs. These are both prepped and cooked in a different section in the kitchen [sic]. With all dishes, the woks are washed out thoroughly after each dish is cooked.”

Regarding the use of alcohol or pork-related ingredients in their dishes, then Ekachai has confirmed with us: “No; we do not use any alcohol in marinades or any other pork products except the three mentioned above. The only alcohol we have is from our bar.”

Focusing on the streetfood of Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong, Ekachai says it specialises in the tradition and skill of wok cooking and stir frying, with locations in Liverpool Street, Oxford Street’s Selfridges, Wandsworth, and the Flat Iron Square in Bankside.

The King’s Cross branch has a capacity of 48. With wooden light shades that give a symmetrical look above, there’s a beautiful painting of an attractive Oriental lady at the back, adjacent to a black and white illustration of a busy market place.

We use halal chicken in all chicken dishes in all branches of Ekachai… both prepped and cooked in a different section in the kitchen.

DRINKS

drinks Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant

(Left-Right) Red Juice – Strawberries, oranges, raspberries and pineapple, £4.00; Coconut Water & Lychee Juice – 100% natural Vitacoca coconut water, lychee fruit pieces over ice, £4.60; Mango Lassi – Crushed with natural yoghurt, £4.00

Beverages of a simple kind here, with a standard pulpy, green Mango Lassi; a Red Juice that promised and managed to deliver a sweet strawyberry and orange combo flavour; and a Coconut Water & Lychee Juice that was decently balanced though fairly insipid. Like we said, simple!

LITTLE PLATES

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Tofu

Salt & Pepper Tofu (VE) – Chinese-style crispy tofu pieces with salt, pepper, chilli, spring onion & sweet chilli dip, £4.95

More of these addictive Salt & Pepper Tofu please! Well seasoned crispy cubes that were soft on the inside with a good kick of ginger.

It was the addition of the chilli slices, however, which, when had with the sweet chilli dip, married in such a way as to lift these to another level. Like we said, addictive!

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Crab

Soft Shelled Crab (POPULAR) – Lightly battered and deep fried and served with Sambal chilli sauce, £6.95

It was the fishy-cum-chilli sauce that made this dish what it was. Now, given how utterly good the Sambal chilli sauce accompaniment was, it really didn’t matter that the subtle taste of this soft shelled crab, with its gorgeously light and crispy exterior, was altogether lost against the strength of the dip.

Hence, we can understand why it’s been designated the restaurant’s most popular Little Plate.

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Prawn & Scallop

Prawn & Scallop Siu Mai – Scallop dumpling with minced prawn and chicken, steamed in a light wheat pastry. Topped with fish roe, £5.95

These Prawn & Scallop Siu Mai were soft and fragrant and pretty good.

The vinegary-sweet edge of the soya sauce combined well with the apparent taste of prawn in these dainty little packages.

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay – Marinated chicken on skewers served with peanut sauce, cucumber and onion garnish, £5.50

These Chicken Satay were well judged, being soft and relatively succulent on the inside and lightly crispy on the out.

These skewers had a gentle sesame marination that went well with the sweet, viscous peanut sauce sprinkled with crumbled peanuts.

SALADS

Prawn Mango Salad Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant noodle curry

Prawn & Mango Salad – Prawns with crunchy salad, mango slices, £9.95

A well conceived salad where the tender and soft cold prawns were, along with the crispy leaves, dressed in a light dressing, whose sour edge was nicely countered by the sweet fruity smoothness of the mango slices therein. All in all, a light and refreshing bowl that was pleasant without being memorable.

NOTE: All the main dishes had below were designated by the restaurant as the most popular of their respective categories.

NOODLE SOUPS

noodle curry Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Seafood Curry Laksa

Seafood Curry Laksa – Mussels, prawns, calamari and vermicelli & egg noodles in thick curry laksa gravy made of coconut milk, mixed spices and herbs, £9.95

Despite looking the part, the major shortcoming with this Seafood Curry Laksa was its intensity of flavour, or lack thereof.

In spite of the well cooked noodles and prawns, generous amounts of tofu, and two average quality mussels that were erring on the side of chewy, the spices and the lemon grass didn’t really come through as much as we’d have expected. We also felt as though the coconut sauce could have been slightly thicker and more robust.

In the end, if you’re after a lightly spiced laksa, then this will be perfect.

CURRIES

Malaysian Chicken Kapitan Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant

Malaysian Chicken Kapitan – Succulent chicken in chilli, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, mixed ground spices, roasted coconut and kafir lime leaves, £8.25

This Malaysian Chicken Kapitan was a strange dish in that whilst the initial hit of the spices and chilli were redolent and quite strong, their intensity quickly waned to leave a peculiarly mellow curry.

Nonetheless, with the familiar taste of the kafir lime leaves coming through, the curry was fragrant and aromatic enough, containing really nicely cooked chicken, and would definitely suit a palate seeking after something warm and comforting.

WOK FRIED RICE & NOODLES

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Nasi Goreng chicken

Nasi Goreng – Wok fried rice with chicken, egg, diced vegetables, cucumber and tomato. Perfect with a fried egg (add £1), £8.95

A satisfying and thoughtfully presented Nasi Goreng which came with two slices of cucumber, a slice of tomato, and what appeared to be dried onions (or perhaps even dried egg), along with chilli sauce meant to be added to taste.

This famous Malaysian dish had shredded chicken, diced red and green peppers, and a few slices of red chilli mixed into a quite viscid and subtly spiced wok-fried rice concoction. A good, wholesome dish which was brought alive by the strength of the fruity chilli sauce.

Pad Thai noodle Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant

Pad Thai (Prawn & Chicken) – Famous wok fried flat noodles with egg, chives, beansprouts and choice of prawn, tofu or chicken. Topped with crushed peanuts, chilli flakes and lime wedge, £9.75

The sticky consistency of the noodles tossed in with the soft scrambled egg and the crispy wet beansprouts, made for an interesting Pad Thai, particularly with crushed peanuts, chilli flakes and a wedge of lime cleverly presented on the side.

What this allowed us to do was to gradually build up on the heat and sourness of the dish in order to counter the naturally mild sweetness of the noodles. Once satisfied with the balance, we added the peanuts for some textural contrast.

In the end, not only did this make for a thought-provoking meal, but an extremely tasty one too.

WOK STIR FRIES

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurant Kai Krapow chicken

Kai Krapow – Classic Thai dish of ground chicken with chilli, fine beans, fragrant lime leaves and holy basil. Traditionally eaten with a fried egg (add £1), £8.25

Ekachai South East Asian Kings Cross Chinese halal restaurantAnother solid dish where the succulent minced chicken and crunchy fine beans were tossed in a hot, tongue-tip burning chilli sauce.

But what made this Kai Krapow far more interesting was the crispy, fried lime leaves that not only provided some textural contrast, but a fragrance that ultimately lifted the dish.

The only criticism we could draw was that the accompanying rice should have been stickier so as to make it easier to eat with chopsticks.

Having said that though, if you’re fancying a hot flavourful plate of food, then this is the one to get.

THE ROAR
Ekachai
3.5 FTL's Roar
4 Pride's Roar (1 Roar)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ NO
FSA HYGIENE RATING
Last Checked: 10/03/18
Facilities
  • CHILD SEATING
  • DISABLED FACILITIES
  • DELIVEROO
Summary
Ekachai has a number of branches in and around London. The one we visited was their latest in the busy inner city district of King's Cross.

And yet, going by the smooth and efficient service and ultra-friendly waiters, you'd never have guessed this opened only last month.

The food was as fresh as you'd like and expect it to be from a restaurant emulating the various street food styles and cuisines of South East Asia, with some dishes offering strong, punchy flavours and others rotating around the delicate and subtle.

And though it's decor was deliberately minimalistic in nature, the wooden seats did start to take their toll on our collective behinds after a while.

But, such a quibble can certainly be forgiven when taking into consideration Ekachai's impressive prices, particularly given the location, in relation to the generous portions served for almost every dish.

Menu Recommendation

Drink - Red Juice

Starter - Chicken Satay

Main - Pad Thai

FOOD
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ATMOSPHERE
SERVICE
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Ekachai
66 York Way, King’s Cross, London N1 9AG.

T: +44 (0)7719 193 780 | W: www.ekachai.co.uk | E: kingscross@ekachai.co.uk

Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 14:30-22:30 | Sun 12:00–22:30

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