Dim sum you want ???
Dim Sum you get !!!
I cannot remember the name of all the dumplings we got but really, everything was great, at a very cheap price !
Don't hesitate to ask for extra stuff like Soy sauce, as the staff are quite responsive, though not very friendly (alas, a habit among all Chinese restaurant staff....),
Perfectly decent dim sum. A little pricier than my current chinatown favourite Young Cheng just around the corner. The room is a little more spacious here however and the staff extremely attentive. Ensuring items get to your table in as few visits as possible. There were only 2 main visits to our table and we had all 8 dishes we'd ordered.
Nothing was stand out delicious, and whilst the chicken's feet were very nice and meaty, the sauce left me disappointed. And this was a case for quite a few dishes. Portion wise fantastic, but taste wise, extremely lacking. However this this instance you can normally expect the chilli oil to save the day, and save it indeed. It was excellent.
So I have no quibbles recommending this place if you're after good value dim sum. However just don't expect anything to surprise or tantalise your tastebuds. This place has a large number of regulars so they must be doing something right in terms of consistency, but sometimes that is at a price and for my it was the lack of that any one unique dish that you absolutely must go back for.
This place was a big disappointment. I read YGO's review for this and since he seems to have tried every place I see in Chinatown, and the choice here is overwhelming and it's hard to tell which restaurant is good, I thought I'd go for a YGO-approved restaurant. As he said, it is a nice sit-down restaurant atmosphere where you can take friends. Food-wise though they must have been having an off night because my experience was very different from his.
The food here was actually incredibly mediocre and very overpriced. I'm really glad I went for a set menu because the a la carte menu is pricier and the food is really subpar and not worth the money. I have had cheap street food that was much yummier. The chicken corn soup was very very average as were the noodles. I usually love beef with oyster sauce but the one served here was so flavourless that I actually preferred the extremely bland chicken. I am on a quest to find good food in Chinatown, but I guess I will have to keep looking.
I used to go to Joy King Lau as a child with a big group. I don't know whether it's a case of their food going down-hill or my tastes developing but it isn't anywhere near as good as it used to be.
Nothing is offensive but I didn't try anything that I thought was amazing on my last visit. I think a good litmus test for a dim sum chef is how thin they can get their pastry, the Joy King Lau pastry is pretty thick and their food fairly bland.
Go there if you're in Leicester Square and in need of a quick dim sum fix but if you've got time to go elsewhere I think you should.
Holy wow, this was cheap. For 7 of us, it was £9 each.
Menu had a pretty good spread. No chrysanthemum tea. The service was fine. But the food was just so completely un-noteworthy. Maybe it used to be better, but it truly is the poor man's version of dim sum.
You're right around the corner from Chinatown here. Go somewhere else!
To the people that gave 5*
Excuse me? You never had good Dim Sum before? If this is a good DimSum restaurant? Than you must have compared it to those all you can eat joints or the other devil's choice: DimSum Buffets... wwwhhhaaa!! Me? Never... Please just dont. Just dont.
My 13 yr old Stepson's review (yes, he is spoiled with good food):
- veggies were good, everything else was bland and crap.
- staff was friendly but you cannot eat that.
- Lets never go back? :(
- No cart: i like! I prefer my food fresh
- Meh. I've experienced better... i've had better.
- The vegetables, chinese brocoli was good, so was the paksoi,
- Most Dimsum were too fat and didnt have the interesting texture i like,
- Very friendly staff,
- Boring, overcooked,
- Stir fried noodles were good,
- The crunchy Squid was very chewy, very very chewy.
- 5 people, 90 pounds
- Never come back unless i'm back in university and have that hangover-food-feeling with friends.
- Would rather spend a bit more and go to Yauatcha
- Lets never go back...
Don't, when you have had really good Dim Sum, ever.
Don't, when you like Dim Sum.
What I really appreciated about Joy King Lau was that they have a proper chinese menu serving chinesey food and an english menu serving chinglish food.* I didn't think my friend would appreciate the real chinesey food, so we stuck to the tried and tested chinglish menu.
Crispy Duck- excellent. I think they might have put extra skin in the portion? There was heaps of crispy skin (awesome!!!) but surely a 1/4 duck just doesn't yield that much skin (or meat for that matter, it must have been a KFC duck!). Cucumbers could have been better, I have a beef about the inside of cucumber (as in the non-crunchy bits) and that cucumber was all inside soggy crap.
Veggie spring rolls- I was expecting regular ones but these were actually the soy wrapping ones. Good flavours, fresh but the ones from Royal China is a bit better I think.
Sweet & sour pork- "very crispy!" my friend was a bit surprised. Yes, it is supposed to be crispy and I haven't had s&s pork that was made properly in this way for a while. Not keen on the amount of peppers they put in it and the sauce could be more ketchupy. Long live the cantonese tradition of deep frying everything as a preparation step (or at least that was how I was brought up!)
All in all, we were both stuffed by the end of the meal, and it was pretty reasonable at £15 each (though on second thought, we did only share one main dish).
I firmly agree with the yelp community- Joy King Lau is a gem and I can't wait to go back to try the proper chinesey menu.
*Actually Anglicised Chinese food is probably a better description as chinglish food is more chinese-ified western food. But Enginese food just sounds plan wrong, and as for Anglicised Chinese, well I am not writing an academic volume am I?
What can I say? Pretty good dim sums, though a bit bland. The decor was not bad, and the wait staff were very cheerful. They did have to repeat their recommendations a couple of times though.
Will I go back? Probably not. I only went as this was tone of the very few places that served dim sum after 5 pm.
Wasn't sure whether to give this place 5 stars or not. After reading some of the other reviews some of the criticisms are justified so in recognition of that, perhaps 4 is more conservatively just - that said some of the criticisms are the very paragon of asinine ignorance (mainly those complaining about yum cha only being served until 4.30).
Ive been eating at this place for almost 20 years (since i was around 15). So it's fair to say it has a special place in my heart. That said i wouldnt have kept coming back if the food was sh*te. Not that it's always mind-blowing, but it is consistently tasty, well prepared and of an authentic high standard. Also due to it's location in chinatown the prices are competitive. Over the years i have brought hundreds of friends here, all of whom have been converted to adopting it as their regular yum cha place in central.
These days i mainly go here for yum cha (dim sum). I truly believe that along with Yi Ban (docklands) and Lotus (Canary Wharf) it is one of the best "dim sum" places in London - head and shoulders above the overpriced and often underwhelming and sometimes rubbish Royal China, or Phoenix Palace.
By way of exemplifying the caliber of this joint - a close friend of mine, whose old man who owns a couple of chinese restaurants in Chinatown, eats here with his family.
After reading pretty good reviews for this place, my sister-in-law treated me to some dim sum for my birthday.
It was ok. I can't recall any stand out dishes. Just seemed boring and bland.
Staff were attentive, I will say that, but that's not enough for me to go back again. Sorry! =(
Great Peking duck. Good quality chinese dishes.
Hmmmm! I had pretty high hopes having read both Yee Gan O and Kevin L's reviews, but honestly it was just okay. Granted I didn't have the Dim Sum but still I expected the food to be better than it was.
The rice wasn't seasoned.
The squid was greasy.
The crispy shredded beef had too much batter.
The aromatic duck on the other hand, was rather nice but it's not difficult to get it right. However saying that the scallions and cucumber were both dry. I can only imagine how long they had been sat on the side. Poor!
Finally came here for dim sum. It is one of those multi-floor monstrosities that Chinatowns are known for. Where the guy at the bottom (at primetime on a weekend) manages the queue via his cohorts upstairs on walkie talkies. From there, they send you to a floor and tell you a table number.
You get to your designated floor, and flag down a waitress running around who then barks at you (in a way oh so familar and even sort of cherished part of Chinese customer service at places like this) to just wait. Who cares about the table number, they never asked for ours. We waiting another several minutes at our floor level (always feeling in the way between the staircase and the women's loo), then when a table finally left, were seated. I think you have to be a little bit assertive (like, stand visibly in the hall), or they might forget about you.
There aren't any rolling carts or pieces of paper to write your dim sum order on... you just order like at a standard restaurant. The menus appear in both Chinese characters and an English 'translation', i.e. 'roast pork bun' or 'shrimp lasagne' and you just have to sort of guess to figure out what you want if you know it by romanized Chinese (i.e. Char Siu Bao).
That said, the Char Siu Bao were good, as were the 'mixed croquettes', and the 'egg custard tarts'. Once we ordered, the service was prompt and really, really solid. Tons of food for two ended up around £28.
Oh, also, we were pretty sure they added on a service charge without telling us. Sneaky. Easy to do since the bills are in Chinese.
If you took Windsor Dim Sum Café in Boston and duplicated it over four or five storeys, you'd pretty much end up with Joy King Lau. Same delicious food, same brusque and business-like service, and shockingly... Cantonese-speaking staff.
I was particularly impressed with the perfect consistency and crispiness of the luo buo gao. Their do miu ended up being just the tops of the more mature plants - I draw this conclusion from the fact that there were no stems, and the leaves were much heartier (yet still tender) than the veggies I'm used to.
Pass on their Shanghai xiao long bao. Whilst they're satisfying and have the right taste, -none- of the dumplings that came out in our steamer tray had the 'soup' part of 'soup dumplings' going on. Disappointing.
As far as the food goes, Joy King Lau probably ranks at the top of my list for London dim sum. There's still plenty to explore, but I'd be totally willing to come back here for another round.
If you come at a busy time on a weekend night it can feel like one of Asterix's Twelve Tasks to get a table here. Not because it's difficult to get a table but because it's such a mind-boggling system.
Do you have any tables?
Ground Floor: "Hmm, try upstairs"
First Floor: "Go upstairs"
Second Floor: "There are some downstairs"
First floor: "Try upstairs again"
Ground Floor: "Sure!"
But it's worth the hilarity of going up and down the stairs to your own mind's Benny Hill music - because the food here is really top class for Chinatown and you can have a great time here with a big group on one of the large round tables. I'm a big fan of the starter here that comes with lettuce leaves for you to wrap the food in, but more than anything it's the MaPo Tofu here that makes me come back. It's simply the best in London. Flawless on every floor.
An extremely competent kitchen providing very authentic Cantonese food. I would urge you to try some of the more 'Chinese' items.
Here're some examples:
Salt & pepper veal: slices of marinated veal flash deep-fried to keep moist, then stir fried with shallots/ garlic/ spring onions/chili peppers. A 'dry' dish, but delicious. Same cooking method available for pork.
'Hot pots' e.g. Breast of lamb (lamb ribs) cooked with tofu sticks, ginger, spring onions & served with a preserved bean curd paste dip. Or: chicken and salt fish; or chicken, eggplant & dried tofu. Very warming in the cold winter months.
Fresh (live) eel, cut into rounds, then steamed with garlic/ black bean paste. Diametrically opposite to the jellied eel...
Salt & pepper prawns- I prefer the shell-less variety (just tell the waitstaff: shell on/off). Deep fried & very more-ish.
Deep fried pork intestines (chitterlings) 2-ways: plain or stuffed with prawn. Imagine roast suckling pig meets crispy chicken skin.
"Fried preserved red-tofu seafood patties". Pork/ cuttlefish patties deep fried.
Stir fried scallops with asparagus
Stir fried pea shoots with garlic (when in season)
Deep fried taro-stuffed duck (reminiscent of crispy duck, but more moist, & not eaten with pancakes).
Good dim sum could be had at many places in the West End, but JKL's Cantonese dishes really excel. I often think that those who order the standard western fare of takeaway-esque items might be missing out, especially when the kitchen can make the food this good!
The following conversation took place before we went to have dim sum at Joy King Lau:
Me: Let's go for dim sum today, shall we? I've found this place on Yelp called Joy King Lau and their reviews are really promising?!
A: Oh no, let's go to our usual place (New World), at least we know that it's good...
Me: Oh come on, let's give it a try...we should broaden our horizon and try out new places...here, read these wonderful reviews...
A: Mmm...only one Chinese person has reviewed this place...I don't know...plus they don't have the push carts, and I really prefer dimsum places where they serve the food on trolleys...it's so much more authentic!
Me: Let's at least have a look, shall we? We can always go to New World, but let's at least have a look from the outside...ok?
A: Mmm...if you really want to...but...
In any case, as you might have guessed, we ended up having dim sum at Joy King Lau and believe it or not but even A ended up liking the food very much:
A: Yummy...their food is really tasty! And even the chicken feet, which are my ultimate test for a place, are delicious!
So, even though I'm yet another Caucasian reviewing this place, I was accompanied by two very picky Taiwanese friends and they both have approved of this place!
By the way, as for ordering dim sum, I particularly liked the BBQ pork buns, the sticky rice in lotus leaves, the tarot croquette and the meatballs. As for dessert, I can highly recommend the taro-tapioca soup (aka Cold Yum Pudding)...that was absolutely delicious!
Damn. Good. Dim sum.
When i fancy a bit of deep fried squid, pork buns, prawn & chive dumplings, egg fried rice, Vietnamese spring rolls and mango pudding...
This is at the top of my list.
Need Dim Sum! Had a craving whilst in town & was hooking up with a mate for lunch in Soho. I heard good things on Yelp so off we went to JKL, it wasn't too busy so we were seated straight away. This place reminds me of an old school dim sum place, it's not trying to be anything else, it's where family's get together for their weekly Yum Cha.
The menus is quite extensive featuring all the favourite steamed, fried & cheung fun dishes, they also have the obligatory noodle & congee dishes...nice.
We ordered, siu mai(prawn & pork dumplings), chiu jow gau, char siu bow(steamed pork bun), pork cheung fun, fung jow(chic' feet in chilli), Vietnamese spring rolls, taro puffs, steamed ribs, steamed beef balls & cheung fun with dough stick.
Not going to go through each dish, but all were tasty!
My only complaint is the waitress never asked what type of tea we wanted.
All in all, a decent old fashion type of dim sum place, no messing around, no fanciness here & great value, we spent less than £30 for two big lads & we couldn't finish it all!
Ode to Joy (King Lau)!
Yum yum, every time I've been, the food has been delicious and a great value. I can't really compare this to other dim sum places in London, for some reason this is the only place I've been too but from what others have told me it's really authentic "chinese" dim sum (I don't know that either since I've never been to China).
I can't really be helpful to tell you what to order either as I don't know the names of most of the food I ate but the shrimp dumplings were divine and they have this kind of noodle "lasagne" that is out of this world. We had the shrimp one and one with some fried bread in the middle and really really I could have eaten 3 of those it was so tasty. So I can't be really helpful to you here except that you can take my word that it's delicious and you need to try it yourself!!! ;)
Only down side I can think of is this place on the weekend gets really crowded and not only is it a hard time for the host to get people to form a line outside (their entrance are is very small), you constantly need to remind him where you are in the line because people are constantly ignoring the line and just walking in trying to get a table (clearly I'd say there's a reason people are waiting in line but that's just my logic). He was not very organized, no way to take names, etc. so it's NOT for those who don't like a bit of chaos in their weekend routine!
After reading the Time Out Eating Out Guide, we went to have dim sum but left disappointed. Har Kau had stodgy pastry - it should be light and thin. Prawn Cheung Fun was flavourless and stodgy. The staffing of the BBQ Pork Steamed Bun was very small. The only good dishes were Fried Squid Cakes and Steamed Glutenous Rice with meat. We had much better dim sums at other restaurants such as Plum Valley and Royal China. Don't trust Time Out.
Also they tried to charge extra Har Kau and tea which we never ordered or drank, so make sure to keep a tab and check your bill before paying.
When it comes to Cantonese cuisine this truly is "As Good As It Gets.
Cleverly tucked away from Gerrard Street (China Town) and just entering Leicester Square, Joy King Lau boasts the some of the best food you'll find in London if it's Chinese your looking for. The place has a very interesting appearance on the inside, merging both Traditional Chinese ornaments and general setting with very modern yet simple furniture, giving it a very laid back feel about it.
The service is terrific the waiters are all highly experienced, I know, because for the past twenty years I've seen the same waiters in different restaurants all over the West End. The food is Amazing, however it does help if you get to know the staff or you do know a little about Chinese food because they are not scared to make things that are not actually written in the menu.
I was once told that this is the restaurant that the majority of the London Chinese community go to when dining , and many of the other restaurants in the City especially China town are filled with tourists or those who don't really know the cuisine too well.
The food comes in reasonable time and the portions are generous, Joy King Lau is a perfect spot for group dining, with tables that can fit two families on. On many occasion have I been a part of a banquet here, where the entire floor is booked for our Tai Chi group, the waiters seem to double in their attentiveness.
Finally something many people ask... the price range! Now despite being a fan of the food, the cleanliness of the restaurant (two things which are most important to me in any resaurant) and the friendly staff. I also like the fact that two families of five can eat there for slightly over a hundred pounds, which comes to just over ten pounds per head which is not bad for a restaurant dubbed "The place of choice for the London Chinese"
All in all I give it top marks Joy King Lau ? certainly As Good As It Gets
Of many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown that serves Dim Sum, Joy King Lau gets top marks for consistency and atmosphere.
Tucked into a tiny alley is this absolute wonderment serving up joyous dim sums at very affordable London prices. For approximately 15 Dim Sum dishes for 3 people to share, price will come to around £35-40 without drinks total. That's SOME VALUE!!!
Of course, being in the West End means that parking is an issue and although I have some secret locations to park, it can be a nuisance.
Best ones are the Taro Croquette as they are freshly made unlike many other Chinese restaurants and also the Thai Style Chicken Feet is superb (albeit slightly more expensive). Always go for the Cheung Fung, any filling is good but I recommend the Char Sui and the Fried Dough ones as they are a good mix. Also end with a large plate of Ho Fun to keep the party happy. Dishes are around the £2 to £3 prices with reasonable portions. Staff are friendly and most of the customers are regulars who the staff recognise.
The restaurant is spread over 4 floors (with the 4th usually cordoned off for large groups/parties) and the atmosphere on all floors is rapturous.
The only minor downside is that the staircases are very narrow and toilets can be a little on the dirty side. All in all, a wonderful place to eat out and then go to the West end for.
This is where I take my out of town friends when I want to show them nice, reliable, well presented Anglo-Canto cuisine. It's off the main drag of Gerrard Street and so must rely on quality to draw repeat custom rather than tourist drop-ins.
As Tom E has mentioned, you can be passed between floors - they're lacking the customer manager with walkie talkie that some other multi-floor establishments have!
As you're in a generic albeit high-quality Anglo-Canto establishment, you might as well give your friends the standard British experience of crispy aromatic duck, crispy chilli beef, beef in black bean sauce and chicken with cashew nuts with egg fried rice! If you fancy venturing a little more off the beaten track, the crispy oysters are lovely as are the lamb dishes.
I hear good things about their lunchtime dim sum but yet to sample it for myself.
Surprisingly authentic and good value for money.
We ordered a wide range of the usual suspects for dim sum including pork dumplings, siu mai, steamed rice with meat, spring rolls and all came up trumps.
Service was attentive and between 6 of us it only came to 65 quid.
Authentic, tasty, and cheap; what more can you ask for?
I came into Joy King Lau with my Dad one afternoon for lunch based on its solid rating on Yelp (thanks guys!) and needless to say it lived up to its stellar reviews.
We ordered explicitly dim sum because that's what we came for, the selection was exhaustive just on the menu alone but beyond that my dad ordered a few things that were not on the menu and not only was it not a problem they knew exactly what he was looking to have.
The week prior my dad had been in Hong Kong on business eating dim sum and he said this place was nearly identical in both quality and selection. If that doesn't say authentic I don't know what does.
To top it off the bill came to 11 quid a head including a beer each, talk about icing on the cake, I only wish I lived in London so I could come here more often!
Needed a place to take the parents to try Dim Sum and we were pinched for time. Thank you, Yelpers, you delivered us to Joy King Lau!
Called an hour ahead and made a reservation for 12:15pm for 5 people. No problem! Almost everyone in the restaurant was Chinese, so it was like stepping out of London right as you walk in the door.
Food came slowly at first then all arrived at once. Delicious! Service was efficient and friendly. I'll definitely be back for more!
I was at my friends house and decided to get a takeaway, so I checked on here and saw all the great reviews so decided to get a takeaway. I got beancurd in blackbean sauce. It was so average! I wanted to join in with all the good reviews :(
I am so sad, I was looking forward to a good chinese, but I have tasted much much better.
Maybe next time I will have to try the dim-sum and hopefully I can update my review =D
OMG the most expensive chinese food I have ever eaten. And I eat a lot of chinese food. This stuff is so expensive for very random things. I mean what I ordered wasn't even the "expensive" stuff.
I don't know about the rest of you but when I look on yelp and i see a chinese restaurant for more than one dollar sign i stop looking at it. A sad but true thing about chinese places.
However I have to admit that this place does have some pretty good food. I don't know if it was because we were so hungry or if it was really just that good.
The waitresses were really nice and they really work for their tip. We ordered one chicken dish and one duck dish so there were a lot of bones everywhere. So we places all the bones on the plate of course. When the plate was only like 1/4 filled with bones the ladies came over to switch to new plates for us to it doesn't get too messy!!! nice! I like a place that's all about cleanliness.
Wow! This place lives up to its reputation. We ordered a selection of 7 dishes, and each one was just perfect. The chee cheong fun (with pork) came sitting in a puddle of sauce that I was worried would overwhelm the flavor of the pork. Nope! Instead, the sauce added a nice counterbalance to the blandness of the noodles, while the pork flavor still came through.
The prawn and pork dumplings and seafood dumplings were also nice, as were the minced pork and mushroom dumplings. The last of these looked really pretty repulsive sitting in the basket, with the mushroom sitting like a lump on top of a ball of pork, but the flavor more than compensated for the crazy appearance.
My favorites, though, were the char siu bao and the veggie dumplings. The roasted pork flavor was not too overwhelmingly sweet (as can often happen), and there was the perfect amount of pork in the bun. The veggie dumplings were so subtle and so nice - I'm not even sure what every vegetable was in there because we wolfed them down so quickly.
The service bordered on surly, but wasn't bad - the dishes came quickly, the tea pot was always full, and the check arrived right when we wanted it - so I can handle a little surly in exchange for this kind of dim sum!
Let me tell you, I like their lo mien. Not the greatest Chinese restaurant ever but I enjoyed my meals here.
Decent Dim Sum and service. No cart service, order from menu. I will be back next trip.
This is one of the typical chinese restaurants in china town. It's been around for many years, since I was a little kid as we used to come here almost every weekend with the family for Dim Sum.
Dim Sum and dinner are not bad here, you get most of the dishes that you get in other chinese restaurants.
It's a pretty big restaurant too as it's over 3/4 floors and they cater for big groups of people.
You will find all sorts of people coming to this place from families, to large group of friends to tourist groups.
There are lifts in the restaurant too so no need to walk all the way up to the top floor if you don't fancy it.
Overall, one of the better restaurants to go to in china town as its been there for years...
Joy King Lau is a very popular Dim Sum restaurant.
It is always packed with people on Sundays. A large variety of dim sum and dessert choice in addition to the ala carte and set dinner menus.
It is worth waiting even for over an hour on the Father's Day last month.One thing I dislike is that it is lack of customer attention but you have to pay a compulsory 10% service charge while many other restaurants in the China Town London the service charge is optional.
We went there tonight really wanting some dumplings, but dim sum is only sold till 5PM. We had to wait a long time for our order to get taken.
It came being almost cold. I asked the waiter kindly to heat it up, but it came back just as cold. It was very fatty and only little amounts of the meat were actually eatable. Tasted a bit old.
Sweet Sour Tofu
Was very bland, nothing special.
Good dim sum place in the London Chinatown area. I should know - I grew up on dim sum. Cantonese (and English) is spoken here.
One of the better restaurants in Chinatown - some really excellent dishes (especially the scallops in Ginger). Definitely worth checking out - especially the more imaginative dishes
Every week I go with work colleagues to a new Chinese. I went here today after reading good reviews on Yelp. I wasn't disappointed! Great food,clean and my favorite Chinese in soho so far.
I've been going here for over a quarter of a century, and it's still the best dim sum in Soho, IMHO. There are no trolleys, the food is all freshly cooked to order. We love the prawn chung fun, yam croquettes and lotus wrapped glutinous rice. Dim sum is a great value cuisine. Our meal for two today was about £18 with Chinese beer and service. If you haven't tried dim sum, or are looking for the best, this is the place to go.
Atmosphere was ok, nothing appealed to me about it. Service was fast, but not very friendly, and not very good at recommending what to eat. The chicken with nuts (whatever it's formal name) that my brother ordered was good, but I do not recommend the seafood lettuce wraps- tasted a bit like mush, and seafood mush is not a good thing. Way too expensive for what they offer.
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