Former MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen is returning to the site of his first restaurant at Celtic Manor Resort to launch a pop-up dining experience.

The award-winning chef, who has gone on to open restaurants in Bristol and represent Wales on the Great British Menu, has created a special Monkey King dining concept for selected dates this autumn at the resort’s PAD restaurant, formerly known as Cen.

The Monkey King is a famous character in an influential Chinese novel called Journey to the West, and the aim of the dining experience is to transport some famous Asian dishes west to Wales so that people can enjoy the unique flavour profiles of classic Oriental cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.

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.

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.”

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.

After a successful preview launch, Monkey King will be available at the resort’s PAD restaurant on 21st-22nd September and on 9th-10th November so book quickly to catch this special dining occasion. Recently awarded a coveted AA rosette, PAD restaurant is located in the Manor House at Celtic Manor Resort.

The Monkey King menu costs £69 per person and the sharing concept means bookings have a minimum table size of 4 guests and a maximum of 6 guests.

For more information and to book, click here.