Zen China Restaurant
Zen China Restaurant
  • Address:
    County Hall, Riverside Building
    Queens Walk, Westminster Bridge Road
    London, SE1 7PB
    Neighbourhood:
    Waterloo
  • Cuisine:
    Chinese
    Price: £25 and under

Zen China Restaurant

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.zenchina.co.uk/
  • Phone: 02072611196
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am - 3:50pm



    Lunch: Tuesday - Sunday: 11:30am - 5:30pm



    Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Executive Chef: Yanliang Li
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet, Beer, Entertainment, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Wines and drink receptions with canape. Buffet banquets.
  • Private Party Facilities: We can provide quarter, half or whole venue for any size private dinings. Please contact us for details.
  • Private Party Contact: Michael 02072611196
  • Entertainment: Occasional live Jazz bands, single or duo instruments, Modern and Classic Chinese bands.
  • Special Events: New Year's Eve special event: Best menu ever, plus music, beautiful view, Big Ben New Year Countdown, and best of the best - London Eye Fireworks above your head! Register your interest today, we only have limite place every year.

Getting there

  • Public Transit: Buses: 12, 53, 77, 148, 159, 211, 341, 381, 453, 507, C10, RV1
    Tube: Waterloo, Westminster, Embankment
    Taxi drop-point: Belvedere Road off Chicheley Street.
  • Parking: Public Car Park
  • Parking Details: There few car parks available on Belvedere Road: The closest is the Southbank Car Park which just 4 mins from County Hall, and the Royal Festival Hall car park which is 6 mins away from us.
A word from Zen China Restaurant
With a position which will send other restaurateurs green with envy, Zen China is an exciting addition to the South Bank dining scene. Set within the County Hall, right on the banks of the Thames, Zen China is a high class Chinese restaurant head and shoulders above most. The interior has the atmosphere of an old country house drawing room, owned by a well-travelled aristocrat with an eye for antiques. That is to say that the combination of the very British location and the Chinese cuisine are reflected in the most beautiful way, making the most of a very special location with views over the water to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Serving traditional Chinese cuisine and Imperial style dishes, Zen China is without doubt one of the most unique spots on the South Bank. Zen China"s team believes "green food" is best, therefore they use only green and entirely natural ingredients for all of their dishes - no MSG or colour additives.
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Zen China Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
63 reviews since 21 October 2013
Average Rating3
  • Food3.2
    Service3
  • Ambience3.4
    Value2.8
50% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romance (16)special occasions (16)business meals (15)group bookings (13)pre/post theatre (8)fit for foodies (8)good vegetarian options (6)child friendly (5)sunday lunch (3)outdoor eating (2)outstanding value (2)afternoon tea (2)brunch (1)Show More
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 15/10/2014
    Struggled to find the entrance but enjoyed the meal with good food and attentive service.
    Special Features:
    group bookings
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A decent meal
    bb49
    Dined on 3/10/2014
    It was a decent dinner where I enjoy good food in a comfy environment with friends. Spicy dishes are especially recommended.
    Special Features:
    business meals
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Rude, obnoxious staff
    Kennejist
    Dined on 28/9/2014
    The one star here is for intention to be restaurant. It does not merit anything else. The staff are incredibly rude, non attentive and obnoxious. Their attitude screams 'we don't care'! The food is nothing better than an average Chinese takeaway. What a colossal waste of a prime location in London! I don't understand how this restaurant has gained some stars on open table - and can only imagine it was engineered by their PR person. They should employ better waiters and chefs, rather than tricking customers into going there.
    Special Features:
    Sunday lunch
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Great service
    agillanes
    Dined on 18/9/2014
    I was visiting from Mexico with my wife and 10 month old daughter and wanted a place with a good view of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, the place has a great view, the food was good and also, the staff were delighted with our baby girl and even played and ended up almost like baby sitting while my wife and I enjoyed a ice dinner. Congratulations!
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea, business meals, group bookings, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • hpatel
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    the waiter suggested the meals for us and even saved us money by not getting another main meal but sharing one with another together
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good high quality Chinese food
    JohnR
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Overall we had a very good meal however the service was slow and despite the great view over the Houses of Parliament the restaurant was lacking in atmosphere. Despite going on a Friday night the restaurant only had 10 covers. We had two set meals and a bottle of champagne which came to £190. I would recommend Zen China and would return again in future.
    Special Features:
    business meals, fit for foodies, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Rosemary
    Dined on 13/7/2014
    The view from this restaurant is fantastic - across the river to the Houses of Parliament and Big Gen. Temperature in the restaurant is just right. The service is slow but very helpful (we had a set menu but wanted to switch the starter to another one listed a la carte at same price and they did this for us). Price for dinner very reasonable and amount of food for two so generous that I asked for a "doggie bag" which lasted me for two day's lunch! You can eat here for whatever price you like, cheap for set meals or expensive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Interesting
    sandy
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    Booked dinner for four, comment from companions which I agree with. Restaurant was lovely, food was nice shame about the waiter that served our table. He was rude and we ask not to be served by him again. This one member of staff spoilt my enjoyment of this restaurant. They have no concept of customer service we where not made to feel welcome and the service offered was quite abrupt. The decor looked clean and tidy. The food was full of flavour Although some of the service was adequate, polite and at times kindly, the atmosphere was not warm or inviting. There were points when it was rough and curt. Maybe they were not used to handling a polite party of four ladies. Either way, we shall not be returning to find out.
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    • Value
  • Disappointing
    Travellers
    Dined on 25/6/2014
    At 1 pm, several dishes on the menu were not available. The first course (three starters) took an hour to arrive. The main courses began to arrive half an hour later and came intermittently. The expensive Beijing Duck was undercooked and very fatty. The chef spent a long time carving and a dish consisting of the bony and fatty remains fried in batter was inedible. Some of the other dishes were in a thick and tasteless sauce; the sweet and sour pork pieces were hard and chewy. This meal did not meet the standards of Chinese meals we have enjoyed elsewhere. The service was very slow and at 3.15 pm, we were told that the restaurant would close at 3.30 pm ! The restaurant was not busy.
    • Food
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    • Value
  • Mr. Mohammed aloudob
    Hamoudi
    Dined on 21/6/2014
    Unfortunately the expectation was more than what we got, service were very poor, food choice is great but it maybe wronge waiters in the wrong restaurant.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Zen by big Ben
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 16/6/2014
    had a great meal here,good portion and spicey hot,went mid afternoon on a Monday so was very quiet,no doubt that if there had been more diners the ambience would have been better,but all in all a good meal
    • Food
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  • Avi
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 29/5/2014
    Excellent location and view - horrible service. Guests do not feel welcome at this restaurant, worst customer service I have seen in quite some time. As far as the food, they do have good vegetarian options, which were quite delicious.
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options, pre/post theatre, romance
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Misleading
    Leneie
    Dined on 29/5/2014
    They had advertised on open table 20 per cent off food when we got there it was not applicable to most items on the menu only very restricted dishes and not even the set menus. Food was expensive and served too quickly 3 courses on top of each other
    Special Features:
    group bookings, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Nicky
    Dined on 16/5/2014
    Terrible service! Ok food, not great! Would not go again
    Special Features:
    romance
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • We were rushed to leave asap
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 15/5/2014
    We were told that they close at 10pm and they have 11pm on their website. The service wasn't excellent as the waiters seemed tired and just wanted to finish for the day
    • Food
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    • Value
  • Early evening meal
    Robt
    Dined on 15/5/2014
    We wanted somewhere quiet on a Thursday night, in a good Chinese which we found here. Also, there is a great view of the Thames, big Ben and parliament which you forget till you're there. Entry to the upper level above the aquarium is not evident until you've been once!
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best eating experience
    Theforeigncouple
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    We have now ben here five times in total and it has been anything short of perfect every time, one of our favourite restaurants in London.
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options, outstanding value, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • PLEASANTLY SURPRISED
    MINGALWAYSRIGHT
    Dined on 29/4/2014
    Some less-than-100% reviews had caused some misgivings or reduced expectations, but we were wrong. We were a group of 5 who had booked through our Chinese host. The welcome and all the service was instant, warm, friendly and immaculate. Our host (a very able Chinese cook) chose for us. These good choices were promptly served. We all praised the food and enjoyed the atmosphere looking across to the Houses of Parliament. We chose to split the bill and found it was not as high as might be expected.
    Special Features:
    business meals, fit for foodies, group bookings, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • KEEP AWAY.
    MIDDAY
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    Sunday at 2 30pm,restaurant had no seated,except us 3no. Food cold, service non existant. NEVER AGAIN.
    • Food
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  • Amazing atmosphere & great service!
    Shanz
    Dined on 29/3/2014
    I can't understand all the negative reviews I see online! I went to zen china for my 1st anniversary with my boyfriend and it was great. Service was of a high standard as waiters and waitresses were very attentive. Of course the view was beautiful and the food just as good. We had the set meal for two £28 each and it filled us both so well we had to take most of the last course home with us. The food and drink was a little over priced however that's expected in a popular london destination. I am a fussy person when it comes to restaurant quality but zen china definitely did it for me!
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • nothing out of the ordinary
    jemrobbo
    Dined on 1/3/2014
    We ate here due to convenience, food was ok but nothing special, the service was not very good at all and we were frowned upon for asking for cutlery (not chopstix) for the kids!, wouldnt return and is overpriced for what it is
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  • Disappointing
    Yang
    Dined on 25/2/2014
    This restaurant was my top recommendation but I decided not to go again after last meal. The only reason to go there was the Beijing duck and some Beijing dishes. But the other parts actually decreased Zen China's attraction. Their service was extremely poor, waiters were careless about table service, always hard to get their attention since they always chitchat instead of paying attention to customers. Also the access to this restaurant became so difficult. No more access from the Marriott hotel, my clients had to spend really long time finding it. The sign posts are very bad too. All these facts made Zen China no longer a good restaurant because you may have better food at Min Jiang or else where. Won't be birth weed to go again. Bye.
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  • Poor service and mandatory tip!
    Karl
    Dined on 22/2/2014
    Had great expectations having been a couple of years ago. Brought along friends too. Were sat immediately but waited 20 minutes before being asked if we wanted drinks. Drinks arrived 10 mins later minus the wine which was a further 10 mins (after two reminders). Food arrived after an age (other tables around us were being served constantly, almost receiving personal attention - anything to do with the fact everyone else was Chinese and we were not? Hmm). Food was ok but noodles and rice was already luke warm when served and some dishes tasted burnt. Overall, the food was expensive for what it turned out to be - take away dishes. £80 per couple. The biggest insult was the mandatory £18 tip for what was poor and INCREDIBLY SLOW service.
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  • good food but really poor
    Customer
    Dined on 15/2/2014
    good food but really poor table service. plates being collected before even having finished the meal.
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    • Value
  • I love the ambience of the
    LoveDine
    Dined on 15/2/2014
    I love the ambience of the restaurant, relaxing place. Very suitable for a romantic meal with a loved one. would definitely recommend Zen China to family and friends.
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good value lunch
    JJBS
    Dined on 14/2/2014
    A work lunch for 8 of us. The setting is fantastic - with views of the Houses of Parliament across the river. It is probably unfair to judge the quality of the cooking on the very restricted lunch menu, but it is excellent value at £9.80 for two courses. Staff were friendly.
    Special Features:
    child friendly, group bookings, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • zen feed
    Ceejay
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Very average all round, overpriced, did not apply 20per cent discount for booking through toptable.
    • Food
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  • Although it is a beautiful
    Shir
    Dined on 28/1/2014
    Although it is a beautiful restaurant, the food was less than standard but the price was very high.
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    • Service
    • Value
  • OK
    ExILEAemployee
    Dined on 26/1/2014
    Restaurant location in County Hall (in a bit I'd never gained access to when GLC / ILEA lived there!) was excellent with great views of Thames and Big Ben - great for grandchildren. Restaurant was very child friendly. Hard to find despite reading reviews which said it was - really does need improved signing - the man who patrols the South Bank to direct people in had not started work when we arrived. Food was OK without being particularly special. Disappointed to find 20% food discount did not apply to set meal or to Crispy Duck - Toptable should have mentioned this on offer.
    Special Features:
    child friendly
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • very fair service
    tina
    Dined on 15/1/2014
    The service was just fair and was't my expectation. Defiantly was't worth the 12.5% service charge.
    Special Features:
    business meals
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Definitely not a worth going
    Rayyyy
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    The view is the only reason for me to go. But turns out the view is also not that nice on their advertise. Also the food is way too expensive for its value. In terms of the tasts, it's much worse comparing the restaurants in Chinatown. Service is not good, cause waiters speak loud to other waiters. Defenily not recommended! Instead, one spicy Sichuan restaurant is recommended, San xia ren jia. Don't know where excactly is it, u ll find it around British museum
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  • A hidden gem !
    SpoilYourself
    Dined on 28/12/2013
    If you are looking for a Chinese restaurant in London in a special setting, with fabulous food and nobody rushing you to finish your meal, then this is definitely the place to head. Looking forward to lots more visits.
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, special occasions, child friendly, group bookings, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Christmas lunch with a view
    StephanieBVIP
    Dined on 25/12/2013
    My father loves Chinese food. Although it was a bit strange to eat Chinese on Christmas Day, I chose Zen because of the view. The location is privileged, specially in a day where there is not much to do in London. The food was OK. We ordered the ducks special set menu with soup in the first course, Peking duck as second, and fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and sea bass for third course. The terrible thing was the service. I do understand that it was Christmas and they could be a bit short on staff, but we waited for an hour between our second and third course. When we asked our waiter what was happening, he said it was Christmas. To be fair, we had a 10% discount because we complaint. I wouldn't return, but for the view.
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  • Shocking Chinese food
    Willlvisitagainnextlife
    Dined on 25/12/2013
    Absolute ripoff of tourists around London Eye. Poor attitude of waiters and the standard of food is just nowhere close to its price. Must not visit unless this was the only Chinese restaurant available in central London.
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  • Poor dishes and unreasonable
    Anonymous
    Dined on 25/12/2013
    Poor dishes and unreasonable prices ever! We'd rather go for a Michelin at similar prices but much more classy.
    Special Features:
    Sunday lunch
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • If you can find it...
    NigelHuggins
    Dined on 21/12/2013
    Almost impossible to find and is not signed correctly when you do eventually find the tabard man who takes you to it. There are many "zen" restaurants in the area and this one needs to have signage or sink. It is actually right next door to Gilrays steak restaurant in the Marriott Hotel County Hall. Approach via steps at side of sea life centre (honestly). OK, the food is nice and tasty and portions satisfactory EXCEPT the king prawn fried rice which at £12.95 is completely ridiculous! Choice is good, waiting staff friendly and ambience not surprisingly quiet. It could do with a few more artefacts to jazz it up a bit as it is in a "posh" room. Enjoyed the food but wont be a regular here as its too out of the way for what it offers.
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  • Fantastic food and a beautiful
    Shoppo
    Dined on 18/12/2013
    Fantastic food and a beautiful view across the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. Spolit only a tiny bit when leaving by an extremely rude security guard on the front door who tried to stop us taking a picture of the view...!
    Special Features:
    business meals, group bookings
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceptional Quality Food
    Jermaine
    Dined on 14/12/2013
    This restaurant is the right place to venture out for a wonderful night; however, on the night that I went the service had been really poor, due to the staffs catering more for their people of similar ethnic origin. Overall good quality food - but me and my partner had to wait nearly an hour before we had received the main and just to empitomize the poor service, the two times the main was cold!
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions, good vegetarian options, outdoor eating
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service lets it down
    Wii4
    Dined on 14/12/2013
    Finding the restaurant is a challenge in itself. We circumnavigated County Hall several times and found no sign for Zen Chinese restaurant. We weren't the only ones, we came across some others who were also trying to find Zen so a whole troop of us all arrived at once. Service was very, very poor. We asked for a jug of water several times - it never arrived. Took them 15 minutes to serve the drinks we ordered, Starters took about 50 minutes to arrive. (nothing fancy, just soup & spring rolls) No explanation or apology. I could go on with other examples but this will give you the picture. It's a pity because the location (once you find it) is fantastic and the food is really nice 0 but the service is just appalling.
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  • Amazing food but average service
    Lovechinesefood
    Dined on 29/11/2013
    I think the title is bang on.... The food was a mix of dishes to a fixed price (£35 per head) and it was delicious, probably the best Chinese food I have tasted. The service was average often nobody on the table had a drink and you had to ask several times to be served. They also ask us to order in bulk as the kitchen was closing, but they took the 9pm booking without informing us of this issue. I would go again but a little earlier....
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, fit for foodies, special occasions, good vegetarian options, group bookings
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.