Recently, as you know, I am discovering some extremely interesting places that offer a gastronomic style that is still too little known in Milan (and in Italy), that is the cuisine of northern China: Chef J is one of the best restaurants in Milan to offer it. Located in Farini area (between Maciachini and Zara metro stops), this place really made me fall in love!
Chen Bing is the chef of this seemingly anonymous restaurant - his wife, who runs the restaurant, is a perfect hostess, she will pamper you with lots of attention.
His cooking career began at 16 with his father: after cooking for twenty years in Shenyang, he moved to Milan where, finally, he founded his restaurant in 2011.
Chen Bing's cuisine is in this case that of Manchuria, an area located in the north-east of China, the scene of countless influences (especially from Mongolia, Russia and Korea) and known as the land of the Manchu nomadic tribe who founded the Qing dynasty - the last of the Chinese empire.
Therefore, abandon any preconceptions about Chinese cuisine linked to Canton and Sichuan, because at Chef J you will find very different dishes, extremely refined.
I relied on the advice of the hosts for the choice of dishes to eat - I advise you to do the same, without being afraid: here everything is sublime! Anyway, on the menu you will find a part dedicated to the chef's recommendations, so take a look.
My meal began with classic Manchurian boiled dumplings filled with Chinese chives, scrambled eggs, shrimp and pork. Accompany them by mixing soy sauce, vinegar and chilli paste ... you will feel that goodness! Then it was the turn of the sliced beef salad marinated in soy with coriander, spring onions and spices.
I also enjoyed the delicious shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots and flavored sauce made with spicy oil, soy, peanuts and spring onions, the jaw-dropping crispy mixed mushrooms sautéed with mixed vegetables and finally the crusted leg of lamb with vegetables and sauce of the chef with onion, coriander and peppers. To top it all, homemade mochi prepared as if they were mooncakes with different fillings: dried fruit, tea or coconut.
Believe me: it was an incredible climb of dishes, one more beautiful and better than the other! There are many specialties that have impressed me and that I would like to try in the future, such as the eggplant cutlet stuffed with pork in orange sauce, the braised chicken with chestnuts or the shrimp sauteed in Chinese pesto, just to name a few.
If you are passionate about China or want to experience something new and simply delicious, Chef J will not disappoint you. The dishes are treated in every detail, balanced, tasty and refined, they will leave you speechless.
The final bill is slightly higher than in many Chinese restaurants in city but totally justified by the type of preparations and the quality of the raw material used. In short, to try and try again: it will quickly become one of your reference restaurants.