Hello hot-pot, where have you been all my life?!
Thanks to Yee Gan for making arrangements for the evening and to Becky for suggesting the hot pot at a dumplings resto.
If you've never had a hot pot before its pretty rad and easy and yes you will get filled up. Trust. Its essentially all you can eat meats and veggies for £20 and your food is cooked in a double sided pot with two types of soup atop of a skillet thing in the middle of your table.
There was lamb, and beef, and mushrooms of different types, and meat balls of different types (i don't know what they are i just ate them. Don't ask questions.. just eat) and beautiful shrimps and noodles and spinach and and and and... so much!
Our technique was to just dump a ton of food in there and then scoop out what you wanted to eat in few minutes and voila you eat the said meats and things with delicious dipping sauces.
nom nom nom
Great place and location, located in the heart of London's China Town.
It was a cold and rainy night, then again it's alway's a cold and rainy night in London . . .
In my opinion the two best dishes here are the dumplings and the Aromatic Duck served with pancakes - don't get me wrong, all other food dishes are also very good. But, they only serve steamed dumplings and not fryed or grilled.
I have had chinese food pretty much all over the world and this place is one I remember to come back. The service is what you would expect at a chinese restaurant; slow, they forget, they pretend not to understand and just nod, you know the whole drill - but, I will always come back here every time I'm in town, after all it's what you would expect, I love the whole atmosphere. Afterall, if the service here was great, it would be McDonalds . . .
I dined here with me mate for Chinese New Year 2014 - all the dishes swishing by me looked great, very fresh and traditional. Place has good buzz and is Michelin rated!
For what appeared to be a small hole in the wall, this place can seat alot of people since they have a really cool basement seating. But wait, there is more they serve wine and beer!
A "must do" whilst in London.
Big Bad Booty Daddy ~
This is a review on BD's hot pot / steam boat, not their XLB.
This is only time I've had hotpot in London, and it was some time last year so my memory is a bit foggy! for those unfamiliar with hot pot, it's a communal pot of soup where you cook your food in the soup at your table! You get a range of veggies, Chinese greens and mushrooms, fish and beef balls, tofu, assorted meats, noodles, dumplings, etc and while there are different soups, the common standard is a split pot with spicy Szechuan soup, and a simple stock. Perfect for cold winter days where you feel like you're just wrapped in a warm blanket the entire evening.
For £22ish/person, you get unlimited hot pot with 1.5-2 hours of eating time. I think the soup is around £10 for the pot. I think 6-7 people per pot is the max to share one pot, with more people you might want 2 pots.
The variety of food is alright. I can't compare it to any other place (for now), but I think this is decent value for Chinese food.
On the plus side, they have a very good selection of sauces and toppings that you can mix together (satay sauce, chili oil, peanut sauce, garlic, coriander etc). Restaurants *usually* charge for anything other than soy sauce. The sauces and toppings are listed on the menu so be sure to specify what you want. They tried to just give soy, but I'm like no ma'am, I want it all!!
Service was ok, but my biggest gripe is that you can take home any wasted food but you will be charged £9/box. Understood - but we were unfairly being given insane amounts of food when we were being careful to order adequate amounts. I love my veg, I really do. But they gave us a huge mountain of veg/tofu along with a decent plate of meat, and certain things we didn't even order. We had a second round and asked for 1 order of a couple of items (1 order is usually 2-3 pieces) for the 3 of us to share. They brought over what seemed like 4 orders of everything. Massive plate of meat. 15 dumplings. 8 pieces of tofu. A big pile of squid. Surely this isn't 1 order.. But I think we were being stuffed to the max in hopes we'd not finish and have to pay for the excess in the end.
Not a good way to do business. I would go back bc I like the food and variety in sauces. But if they try to give me excessive food, I'm gonna have something to say about that.
Avoid. Very rude staff. Asked what is in the hot and sour soup , staff replied "meat". Turns out there are prawns in the soup which i am allergic to. Dumplings were dry and hard and soggy at the same time. Avoid this restaurant.
I knew this place was going to be a firm favourite, but it's not fair to say that after just one visit, right? Right.
Since our first visit was at a slow time of day, I figured we'd hit BD's (can I give them a nickname? is it too soon?) on a Sunday night. Sure enough, it was buzzing. The dining room was divided nearly in half, with white folks seated up at the front and all the Chinese diners clustered around the cosier space in the back, near the bar. We ended up getting tucked into the back area, which was perfect--my darker-haired half got to see just how much of her Mandarin language classes she'd retained, and the atmosphere was more convivial than intimate.
So how was BD on a busier night? Food came out just as fast, and everything was just as good, so they clearly run a tight ship.
Spicy pork xiao long bao do not disappoint--the spice is pleasant and a little on the mild side, so make sure you ask for the chilli oil if they don't offer it first. If you aren't familiar with 'soup dumplings', you will inevitably burn yourself with the first one, no matter how many people warn you. Consider it a rite of passage.
We opted for enoki and wild mushrooms, as well as chicken fried in garlic. Both dishes were perfect, not greasy, and neither was overwhelmed with sauce. Portions are generous.
The classic cold cucumber salad is, and always will be, one of those things we just 'have' to have. Sesame oil, salt, soy, garlic, chillies, cucumbers? Perfection. Also good for soothing your scalded tongue when you bite into a xiao long bao too soon.
Share a pot of Chinese tea (usually jasmine) and you'll come out under £30.
The famouse chinese hospitality strikes again. Staff is rude, brash and mostly interested in getting you out quickly again.
Anyway, the dumpling which were advertised as being served in a soup of broth, came swimming in plain hot woter without any salt or seasoning and only had a couple of dashes sesame oil sprinkled on them. I thought it was a joke. The dumplings itself couldn't make up for it either, unfortunatly. The dough was very sticky, the filling bland and boring.
Went in late on a Friday night and asked about a table for six. There were maybe three other people in the restaurant and the host/waiter told us it would be 30 minutes to an hour to get food. We decided against it, turned around and walked out. I think one of our party said "Nah, screw it. Let's go somewhere else". The host then followed us out onto the street and shouted at us to "Go home and f*** your mothers!" before storming back into the restaurant. Needless to say, we were pretty shocked at that.
He was incredibly lucky in a city like London that we weren't the type of people to kick his head in. Because there definitely are people out there who would have and he's playing a dangerous game flying off the handle like that at a group of (mostly) men late on a Friday night. I certainly won't be going back after that. No food is worth someone treating you like dirt because you don't want to wait up to an hour to order food in a nearly empty restaurant.
im not sure if we just came here on an off night or they dont make the XLB the "correct" way anymore but we got two different orders of them (crab and pork && spicy pork XLB) and they were both DRYYYY!! nooo soup AT ALL!
and again, im not sure if the style here is just different that what ive had my whole entire life... but the salt and pepper pork chops here was not fried, just simply baked or pan fried
i was just a tourist in london so i cant really compare this place to other places in the area and what locals expect from a chinese restaurant, but as far as authenticity goes, this is nottt a place i would recommend
Went here on a busy Friday night, it was packed but we were seated quickly. We had a variety of dishes but the stand out ones were the chicken dumplings and salt and pepper prawns - both were absolutely gorgeous, so impressed! Also had a lovely bottle of prossecco for only £19 which is remarkably cheap for central London. The place itself is very cute, very buzzy with lots of Chinese people eating there which is always a good sign. The food and drink are very reasonably priced and good portions. The seating is benches so might not be the sort of place you go to and stop all night but fine for popping in on a night out. So impressed with this place - will definitely be back.
When I see a chinese chef making xiao long bao at the windows of a restaurant, my stomach automatically growls. I can't help it!
So I get in, they hand me over the menu and my eyes are delighted to see the different choices of xiao long bao on it.
Unfortunately the waitress is telling me that all the dumplings have been sold out, and there's only the spicy pork xiao long bao left. I must admit that made me pretty sad :(
The xiao long bao were quite good, not great for home made, but more than decent.
I mean you can't be too difficult on xiao long bao when you come from Paris (we have like near to zero choice here)
I also order a crab and chicken soup, which i usually LOVE, but this one was strange. It tasted more like water then soup, plus the quantity is small and quality average.
What I would recommend though is the Singapore style noodles and the fried pork cooked in salt/pepper style. The noodle portion was big enough for two and really tasting. The fried Pork was perfect. If you like food with stronge taste and spice, go for the salt and pepper pork! It was tender, tasty, just perfect.
The area is very touristic so you won't find the cheapest food here, but Beijing Dumpling has some pretty decent pricing though.
Chinese New Year 2013 after walking for hours in miserably rainy and cold London we decided to give this place a go.
Overall, the atmosphere is ok. There is a basement space as well that is actually comfy compared to other restaurants. However, the restaurant was really cold and people kept asking to be re-seated to avoid the draft.
As for the food, I had the veggie dumplings in a soup, the broccoli/garlic and mixed veggies with cashews. The vegetables were really good and well prepared, but the dumplings were the most bland and saddest dish I remember tasting. I tried spicing up with chilli and soy , but the end I had to abandon the dish. I would probably not come back.
I've been to the famous Joe's Shanghai in New York many times, and I look for xiao long bao in every city I visit, so I guess you could say I'm a XLB connoisseur :)
I stumbled upon Bejing Dumpling walking by, not even knowing they had XLB. They make the dumplings in the front window so I figured they might have decent dumplings :)
AMAZING. Far, far better than Joe's, or any other dumpling place I've tried. Get the crab & pork. Beautiful decor, nice staff.
It was a somewhat warm and sunny Sunday for once in England and ... Ah a story is not needed. This place is really nice, my brother had recommended it, after he, funnily enough, got dragged her too. We ordered beef noodles and pork and crab dumplings (First dumplings I have ever tried). This food was just pure NOM! the noodles, were good, very good. We had them in little bowls, and I attempted to use chopsticks, gave up with them, then gave up with knife and fork and went back to my first option, chopsticks.
Dumplings, were hand made in the window, and they tasted as good as they looked! the soup came out, when you bit into that juicy juicy pouch! so damn good! the noodles, one of the best I have tried to date. I would recommend this place, if you are looking for a nice place to eat in china town!
Given the name of this place, you'd think you're getting Beijing-style food; however, after eating here we determined it's really a Schezuan take on Beijing-style food. Our tip-off was that every dish had peppers in it, except for the xiao lan bao. The xiao lan bao were decent, but I was expecting them to be juicier. I've definitely had better. We also ordered zha jiang mian, fried mussels and an eggplant dish. The zha jian mian did not taste like zha jiang mian, but it was good. The fried mussels were in the spicy salty tradition, so they were great. The eggplant was decent as well, but not too memorable. Service was better than usual for a Chinese restaurant, but that could be because it's in the middle of tourist-central. Overall, a decent Chinese place!
Beijing Dumpling has sprung up on Chinatown's secret foodie street, Lisle Street. Although its name suggests food from Beijing, the decor, ambiance and some crossover food items on the menu like xiao long bao show a lot of similarity to Leong's Legends a few doors down, which serves Taiwanese food.
The similarity comes down to being able to watch the chefs make dumplings in the shop window. Making xiao long bao is a real art to make a thin enough skin to make it tasty and now over-chewy but strong enough to hold the soup inside the dumpling without tearing.
The seating inside is on wooden benches and tables reminiscent of Hong Kong kung fu movies, a strend started by the original Leong's Legends restaurant on Macclesfield Street
I ordered zha jiang noodles from the street food section part of the menu and some spicy pork xiao long bao. The zha jiang noodles came with thick udon sized noodles and a thick sweet and spicy sauce. It filled a spot but I think I prefer dan dan noodles.
The xiao long bao were really good - better than the ones at Leong's Legends, which are rather thick-skinned. The only slight reservation is that the spicy pork ones tasted just like regular pork xiao long bao.
Although the dishes at this restaurant are also available at other eateries in Chiantown, this is a good addition to Lisle Street
I don't even bother to order anything else when we come here.
Dumplings. It's in the name. You see them making it. Duh.
It's that obvious right?
I've had them all. And they're pretty down right delicious. Order the Xiaolong bao (dumplings with meat & soup). But be careful, don't burn your tongue! You've been warned.
Me, looking at the menu posted outside: [gasp] What? They have dan dan noodles?! Wait. They have xiao long bao?! Uh... want!
Friend: So... would you rather eat here than cook at home?
Me: I mean... it looks pretty good...
Friend: Then let's do it!
I can't complain when life's tough decisions are handed to me on a silver platter. Or, in this case, a bamboo steaming tray...
... because -of course- we scored some xiao long bao. I mean... I don't remember the last time I had some. And especially ones that made me go 'Nom!'
Meanwhile, the dan dan noodles were savoury and spicy, but not of the Szechuan peppercorn variety. Same situation on the mapo tofu. It's unclear whether or not these dishes have been toned down for the British palate, but they differed from the numbing delightfulness I'm used to. No matter - we thoroughly enjoyed each dish, regardless.
Combined with the pleasant, legit Mandarin-speaking service and a comfortable interior featuring lots of dark wood, Beijing Dumpling offers plenty of reasons to return. I'm especially curious to learn more about their hand-pulled noodles and their zha jiang mian!
Definitely agree with all of the positive reviews posted so far. My first comment when I walked into the restaurant was - it's so clean! I suppose compared to the other chinatown restaurants. My friend and I shared the seafood ho fun (2 thumbs up) and the pork and veggie dumplings in soup (really good 'cuz they're nice and fat!) with a side of broccoli. I'll definitely go back to try the Xiao long bao + some of the other noodle dishes.
Happy lunar new year!
I was lured in by their presentation of chefs making fresh shiu long bao by the window. So kudos on great advertising.
Ordered the pork and crab with pork shiu long bao. I was a bit disappointed with the limited quantity of soup in each dumpling. Additionally, I felt the dough was too chewy for my liking. I also tried their bean curd and Malaysian noodle dish. They were decent, however, I don't think Beijing Dumpling wowed me enough to be my go-to restaurant in the area.
Beijing dumpling is a fairly new restaurant on Lisle St. Looks enticing from the street with dark wood, cool, dimly lit interior. You can see dumplings being freshly made right inside the window - must be a good sign! Inside wood tables complement the dark wood panelled interior.
I ordered the pork dumplings (xiao long bao). These are the ones that come with some soup inside and vinegar dipping sauce. You can take a tiny bite to burst the skin and suck out the delicious soup lurking inside.
I'd experienced this type of dumpling before on a trip to Shanghai at a hugely bustling place that only served pork + crab soup dumplings. Those dumplings were so good that the punters, including me, were going just crazy ordering basket after basket (each giant bamboo steamer holding 17).
The xiao long bao at Beijing noodle were a little more modest but still tasted good although a little smaller and less soupy. Probably unfair to compare to a venerated institution in Shanghai that but that was my previous reference point.
My second dish of Szechuan chicken was a bit less successful as it was coated in that gloopy bright red sauce with a few pepper chunks and chilli slices thrown in. This was more like your standard high street 'sweet and sour' kind of sauce but spiced up a bit so wasn't too impressed.
My partner's Malaysian noodles was definitely better having pieces of squid that were notable for being tender vs. those rolls of white rubber squid that some places serve up.
My thinking here is that choosing the right dishes is probably key so would probably need to try a few different things.
Beer served in a smallish glass, not from the bottle and not cold.
Overall 3 stars, maybe 3.5 based on overall experience.
In my opinion this place offers one of the better experiences in the London Chinatown. The food was good, especially the dumplings are very good there. The service was efficient and more welcoming then other places around the area, and the prices are good value.
I always felt that compared to Chinatowns in North American cities the London one offers mediocre food with relative high prices, but this place is an exception. Sure it's not up to the same quality as restaurants in Beijing or Shanghai, but the food is good!
This mostly empty place just refused me, my wife, and two teens an order of two dishes of xiaolumbao saying we needed to spend a minimum of 20£. Their loss... I had originially requested takeout. Took my money down the street...
You always have to love when a Chinese restaurant has a large window showing someone making the food. And when that food is xiao long bao, even better. I came in with a couple of friends and several points of note about this place:
a) the food is delicious, particularly the xiao long bao. DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT EATING THEM. Not as much soup as what I'm used to, but the filling and dough are perfect.
b) the tables and benches totally remind me of China. Yet..... the atmosphere in here is very serene, not the usual clinging and clanging of dishes and soup spoons.
c) the staff are very attentive.
I would've gave this place a 5, but one of the dishes (the eggplant) was not as good as it could've been - but it's worth a trip alone coming for the xiao long bao. Won't you take me to yumtown?
There's one main reason to come here - warm, wet balls. I'm talking about xiao long bao of course (or XLB simplicity). Beijing Dumpling is one of a few dumpling specialists that have recently arisen in Chinatown and have added the much-sought after soup-filled dumpings known as XLB to London's must-eat list. I think they could be the best.
The first thing you'll notice is the XLB being made as Beijing have cleverly put their dumpling-making kitchen right at the front window on Lisle St. This means you can see your lunch being expertly crafted and smell the pastry, soup and meet even before you open the door to the stylish wood-interior dining room. It also means that sometimes you can't see anything due to a crowd of euro food tourists with giant digital SLRS taking photos.
There are 6 or so different variants of XLB or soup broth with dumplings in and apart from that the menu is quite yawn. The XLB are decent, if small (they come in eights) and have a nice consistency which means they don't break but don't taste just like pastry. Good job BD!
Definitely worth a try, and if you have the chutzpah too, it's definitely worth asking them why they're called 'Beijing Dumpling' when XLB is actually from Shanghai.
Oh, I love this place. Thanks YELP London for introducing this place to me! I had time today for a sit down lunch, so I went to Beijing Dumpling, plus I was craving chinese fooddd soo much, and xiao long baos? OH YES! This place is so close to the tube, I only stopped because I saw people making the xiao long baos in the window and I looked up and was interested only to realize it's where my destination is! I came at 2, there was only one other person there at the time...and like 3 servers and 2 xiao long bao makers... You can watch them make it if you stand outside the window, a little weird, but hey, if you interested...
They seated me, and I asked if I can switch to a bigger table, since yenno, there was no one there and i wanted to put my bag and coat next to me, but I didn't realize they had hooks on the wall, but nonetheless, i like big tables. So they gave me a table that can sit 4..LOL, usually parties of 2 get these. The servers are very polite, can be more cheery though, some of them... I ordered the "spicy sichuan dandan noodles" and the pork xiao long baos. Each was 5 pounds.
My noodles came pretty quick, and my oh my, were they delicious in their own little way, and the fact that I was starving!! It's not regular dan dan noodles I was used to, and I've been to china and all that jazz, so I know how it goes! But these seem legit, though very very thick, kinda like udon, except better? The soup was not too spicy, it was perfect, and I cannot handle much spicy, so I guess it's definitely toned down a notch.
The xiao long baos came slightly afterwards, and it comes in 8 of them. They are mini xiao long baos...I was worried it would be too much, cause really, me and noodles and 8 gigantic xiao long baos?!?! After getting over the shock at their size, i took my chopstick, grabbed one, dipped it into the vinegar, and with my spoon, pinched a little hole, sucked up the soup...mmMMMMMMmmmm. SO GOOD. I love the fact that it didn't rip when i picked it up, NONE OF THEM DID!! The skin was soo soft, so fresh, so moist, but not too moist/soggy, and it wasn't hard, it was just..perfection. It tasted so good too. It's almost as good as shanghai ones.
I would come back just for the xiao long baos... wow London, you keep on impressing me! Oh, this place is mighty big too, downstairs wasn't opened, but there are more tables there...and the top floor is quite large too if you keep walking. Bathrooms are downstairs! Oh, and everyone that came pretty much ordered the same thing, xiao long baos...and maybe dan dan noodles.
Caught our eye because their chefs were making dumplings by the front window as we strolled Chinatown looking for a lunch option.
Had the vegetable pancake rolls and hot and sour soup to start. Both were decent, but that wasn't the reason for the visit. On to the dumplings! We had the spicy pork, spicy chicken and vegetable dumplings. The spicy chicken stole the show. On my list for a return visit based on that alone.
Timely service even though the place was packed (we went during the Chinese new year celebration).
To be fair, I think this place is more 3 and 1/2 stars.
We got the chicken xiao long bao, pork xiao long bao and the Aubergine plate (yu xiang qie zi).
1. quality of the xiao long bao was so-so. it could use more soup, and the skin could be less dry around the top. the sauce they provided was good, but i never think it's too much to add a little scallion or extra drop of sesame oil or something that really would make the dipping sauce.
2. aubergine/eggplant dish - granted it was a decent dish, it's no where close to the authentic taste of Yu-Xiang.
But then again, what do I expect? This isn't China. I've had some amazing Yu-Xiang eggplant in Maryland (U.S.A. and never found again elsewhere in the States).
The window with the people ,making the dumplings is a nice touch, but makes me feel a bit like a touristy sucker who fell for it. Also, the name "Beijing Dumpling" was the line, hook and sinker for me. I grew up in Beijing as a kid!
Spent half the time ogling the couple close to the door way because they got the peking duck wraps. But somehow I get a sneaky feeling that it probably just looked good, and I'd be disappointed again.
I think you'd like this place if you have no expectations. Mine were set too high =(
Bonus point for the waitress who replaced our 7-up that came out flat, and brought out a new one with the can to make sure we got a fresh can.
The space itself was very nice! So definitely a pleasant place to eat in.
Does London not have any dirty hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants where they seat you next to random strangers at a round table, and can donate your leftovers to an old granny more than happy to take it home?
Being a tourist in London, I was fascinated with the performance art in the front window of several Chinese restaurants with chefs making dumplings so we stopped in for dinner at this place with the lure of fresh xiao long bao. I was excited to see how they would turn out and ordered the crab and pork batch. And while they were good, I still prefer the NYC Chinatown version of them. When I bite into them, I like them to be extra soupy even though it may just be melted pork fat in them. The dumplings here were not very soupy, but that could have been a difference in preference from across the pond. The seafood chow fun was ok at best, but the Taiwanese Chicken was pretty good. The decor was a bit bland with wood panels everywhere and the service was rather slow and unresponsive.
Until today my number one spot for dumplings was the Jen Cafe. No longer! Beijing dumplings offers a better range at better prices in a more pleasant environment.
£5 for a set of 8 pork/chicken/veg/spicy dumplings with/without broth. Give it a try.
They also do an all-you-can-eat Sichaun hot pot for £10 per person (minumum of 2 people), which I shall look forward to trying soon.
There were other things on the menu. I didn't look.
My husband loves the dumplings , but the veggie dumplings are not flavourful at all. I tolerate this restaurant since he adores it.
My friends and I love to go into this place, as its food is good and it's reasonable priced for such a tourist area. Around Leicester Square you will find a lot of overpriced but bad Chinese eateries, so we were glad to have found this nice place. They also don't rush you out of the door like some of the other restaurants in this area. One can watch the chefs prepare the dumplings in the front window and the food is always fresh.
For a place that has "dumpling" in its name, you would think that the dumplings would be the star of the meal. Methinks not! The xiao long bao was disappointing; the skin was too thick, there wasn't enough soup in the dumpling, and the overall taste was lackluster. That was just the beginning of the disappointment. I ordered a white wine that came out sour and a Szechuan prawn dish that was uninspiring. The only reason this place gets even gets a single star is because the decor is interesting enough for a Chinese restaurant. One more thing...the wooden stools were uncomfortable to sit on for more than 5 minutes.
Had excellent food and service here. Ordered the seafood dim sum platter, veggie dumplings in soup, and some shrimp appetizers. Wait for the table was a drag but worth it in the end.
Having had siu long bao all my life growing up, this place makes me feel cheated. We ordered the crabmeat .... Where was the crab?!? We ordered spicy pork... it's basically just pork with piece of chilli... flavourless. And the most important thing about siu long bao is the skin, which was unspectacular as well. It was thick and not "que que" which means it has bounce to the dough. The whole point of soup dumplings is to have an amazing soup that fills the spoon, this was 4 drops... We counted! Worst part was there was a £10 minimum per person for awful food!
Food is average. Dumpling was okay.
Amazing, I was drawn to this place by the sight of the 2 chefs skillfully rolling and wrapping dumplings in the window. Standing outside in the rain watching them we decided we had to give them a try. The dim sum that was served to us weren't just dumplings, but art, they were so neat and full of flavour. One of them was shaped like a perfect little fish complete with little orange eyes. In the hustle and bustle of Chinatown it would be all too easy to overlook this little gem, but to my mind they make some of the best dumplings in London. Give them a go you wont be disappointed. UPDATE Sadly I came back to Beijing Dumpling for a repeat of my previously good experience. Unfortunately I was faced with bland dumplings that all tasted the same. The salt and pepper squid was not bad but not good enough for me to justify the 5star rating, unfortunately I feel Beijing Dumpling is now a 3 star establishment.
Probably the best dumplings served in London?
In the cramped streets of Chinatown, it's easy to feel spoilt for choice in rush lunch hours. There are competing aromas in the air, the spectacles of hanging meat and chefs preparing to serve up specialties. If you steer away from humble sandwiches, you'd be richly rewarded by the wide range of offerings in Soho.
So what drew me to Beijing Dumpling? Yes, there's the element of homesickness (I'm from Taiwan) and the real people wrapping up my beloved snack behind the shop window was just to tempting to resist. I entered the premise, however, with a healthy dose of apprehension: This is a first visit, and I've never heard of the restaurant before.
It's half pass three on a Friday afternoon, well off peak. Bar me and my companion, there's only one table of a young family who looked to have consumed all in front of them. Encouraged, I ordered mixed mushrooms, shallow fried dumplings, crab meat (steamed) dumplings, Singaporean rice noodles, and pork dumplings in soup. The lady at the front window had stopped working and dropped back to have a chat with colleagues. She spoke with a Beijing accent (sounded Beijing to me!) and smiled broadly. As can be expected from many Chinese restaurants, the order in which the dishes arrived at the table cannot be predicted, but the arrival of the mixed mushrooms really did me proud. It's a lovely lot of shiitake, golden needle and chestnut mushrooms with a bedding of mustard greens. The taste of it quickly dispelled any lingering doubts and we settled to sample the beautifully constructed dumplings.
OK, let's be frank, for xiao long bao (the steamed ones mentioned above), the best offerings this part of the world do not come close to the likes of Dintaifung (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Di…) , but we are in London. The trophy Beijing Dumpling deserves really rests on its handmade pork dumplings. The contents, consist mainly of Chinese chives and pork mince, packed a punch. Too often the Chinese restaurants in the UK tread on the safe side of Chinese takeaways and run a mile from distinctiveness. Pork dumplings, being an everyday item, should have long been recognised as a favourable alternative to sandwiches...Well, the jury is out, but we certainly can do with more dumpling eateries in any case.
Areas for improvement? Dessert, dessert, dessert!
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