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18th August 2023

Former MasterChef finalist launches pop-up dining experience

Written by: Edward Waddell
Former MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen is returning to the site of his first restaurant at the Celtic Manor Resort to introduce a pop-up dining experience – the Monkey King.

This ‘exceptional’ dining experience aims to merge the rich flavours of classic Oriental cuisine with locally sourced ingredients, allowing guests to savour a unique fusion of cultures. The Monkey King menu features appetisers such as mapo tofu and chicken and bacon tsukune followed by a classic Sichuan hotpot, as seen on the BBC’s Great British Menu in 2022.

The showpiece Sichuan hotpot is a classic Chinese banquet dish served family style where raw meats and vegetables are skilfully prepared and brought to the table for diners to cook themselves in a bubbling, fiery hotpot.

The unique dining experience will be finished off with dessert choices of salted duck egg custard bao or miso marshmallow, and in line with tradition a classic iced chrysanthemum tea.

The Celtic Manor team have also created some special Asian cocktails to complement the menu including a Japanese Highball, Singapore Sling, Roku Cooler and Tokyo Mary.

Larkin said: “Chinese cuisine is split into many regions and Sichuan food is now becoming very popular across the globe. I’m always keen to develop new dishes and bring new concepts to give diners a totally fresh experience.

“The sharing nature of the hotpot goes to the heart of so much Asian cooking and is a fantastic way to enjoy great food together. I am really excited to be launching this Monkey King experience at Celtic Manor where I had such a great time opening my first restaurant and learning from their experienced and talented culinary team.”

Monkey King will be available at the resort's PAD restaurant on 21-22 September and on 9-10 November. The Monkey King menu costs £69 per person and the sharing concept means bookings have a minimum table size of four guests and a maximum of six guests. For more information, visit here.