Category Archives: The Rolling Stones

First Chinese Restaurant — Mr. Chow

151 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PA

Mr. Chow was the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to.  And the first occasion was my 16th birthday party.  It was lunch for about a  dozen of my friends and my sister Robbie and it was truly wonderful–glamorous and fun.  I can’t remember the food but I do remember that my friend Matt Backer gave me the Rolling Stones live album “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out” and began my life-long love affair with the Stones.

Mr. Chow was opened in Knightsbridge in London in 1968 (outposts in Beverly Hills and New York City followed in the next decade) by Michael Chow the son of Peking Opera Grand Master Zhou Xinfang. It quickly became a place to be seen and to see and introduced many to a Chinese cuisine which may not have been the most authentic was was certainly the most glamorous at that time.  There are now even more Mr. Chow restaurants in Malibu, South Beach and Tribecca to name a few.  And while Beverly Hills’ is my closest, the true Mr. Chow will always be the one in London about which Alan Richman of GQ wrote, “It is an establishment that can not be defined by customary standards but must be appreciated for its sheer fabulousness.”  Mais oui.

Matt Backer’s love of rock-n-roll persists, he is a successful guitarist and songwriter who works frequently with Julian Lennon.  And in a very small world coincidence, Michael Chow’s daughter China acted in my husband’s first movie, Head Over Heels.