Professional and slick service but the location is a bit meh
As you walk in, you notice that this is certainly a celebrity hotspot. I don't think there is a prime minister that hasn't eaten here, and they even get christmas cards from Tony Blair!
If your party hasn't arrived yet, you are sat in an area with really nice thai prawn crackers. To be honest I don't mind people arriving late when I can be left alone with those bad boys for a good 20 minutes. They also do takeaway in which case you're also left with this dangerously addictive prawn crackers. Score.
The venue looks extremely nice, with lots of traditional design cues, think traditional chinese fancy restaurant. Lots of wooden panelling and mystic meg orbs :)
Service is super efficient and prompt. Despite the size of the place, you never feel watched, nor are you waiting long to get the attention of a member of staff.
The food is nothing spectacular but the ingredients are good but then for the price you hope so! The scallops were the biggest I'd ever laid eyes on and were cooked perfectly. Nice and charred on the outside, but soft in the centre flesh without tasting raw. Portions were also decent. My favourite item being the yam cake which is done close to what you'd get in asia, if a little lacking in flavour. It's cantonese style so expect a LOT of cornstarch in your dishes and plenty of shiny thick sauces. Taste wise, nothing was very salty, a positive in my mind.
When the bill came, it was about as expected about £30 per head. It would have been slightly cheaper in Chinatown, but this restaurant is much nicer than any of those, it's just a shame the location in quite out the way.
In all, worth a try if you're in the area, or looking to impress somebody with the decor. Oh and the prawn crackers. YUM
As another reviewer has mentioned, the quality of the courses here has fallen. First started going here around 2005, it was Tony Blair's go to apparently. The food was remarkable and the atmosphere pleasant and now neither is true. A victim of its own success as my contemporary stated. Hope it gets its mojo back someday.
I won't bother listing the various plates and dim sum we had. All middling to less than. The third star is in deference to its pedigree.
I used to love this place, and it used to be my go to place for Dim Sum. I've been there with family, and with friends. But after yesterday, I might start looking elsewhere.
The Dim Sum yesterday was decent, it's okay for London, but you have to understand that it used to be so much better. The dough stick Cheung fan tasted like it'd sat around for a while, what should be crunchy dough with a fluffy exterior was chewy and dense. Xiao Long Bao dough was thick compared to previous occasions when it barely held back the soup and meat inside. Octopus patty was chewy but had good flavour. Thankfully other items we ordered were good, beef ho fun was well cooked and tasty, the congee was similarly well prepared. Turnip cake - good as ever, a beacon in our meal.
Also the place was NOISY! Not sure what's happened but we could barely talk to each other, where we used to have good catch ups. Probably a victim of its own success. Service was good.
Hopefully it's just an off day, we shall see, but I'm going to one of my alternate dim sum restaurants next time.
Went back recently and wow, so shocked.. I believe the chef changed and every dish is slightly nicer... I was there for dimsum and tried:
Hargow: It is juicier and bigger
Turnip cake: okay, it was good to begin with
Charsiu soh (bbq pork puff pastry): it is no longer puff pastriy but rather an authentic chinese puff pastry
Chong fun: Indeed, much better and texture
overall - very positive experience and also service? wow, it got so much better. It is very attentive and also nice, classy. Everything is all around so much better!!!
I've only ever been here for dim sum but I've got really mixed feelings about this place.
The food is amazing, they do the best fried turnip cakes in London as far as I'm concerned. They do the usual suspects very well but also have other dishes like bbq glazed suckling pig and turnip cakes and chinese broccoli in xo sauce which are even more delicious.
The reason I am giving them 4 not 5 stars is that the service is shocking. I've had to stand up twice and walk into the centre of the dining room brandishing a menu to get served in the past. A decent portion of the staff don't speak English so you quite often have to ask for things numerous times.
Overall it's a great dining experience but it can be quite stressful so it's not always suitable for the Sunday blues.
It's all about the dim sum, boys and girls.
We go nearly every Sunday morning--er afternoon. And while it's still too expensive for dim sum and starts far too late in the day (what is with the cost of dim sum in this city!?), it's still one of my favourite places to chill on the weekends.
The fare is a very standard dim sum offering, everything from har gao to chicken feet, but it's done solidly and in a timely fashion. Go and sit among the tables of multi-generational Chinese families, while they enjoy one another's company over jasmine tea, pork pastries, and congee.
They don't take reservatios, but the wait is never very long. Be prepared for screaming babies; they're everywhere. But this place is loud in general, due to the sheer size and number of people they've managed to cram into a room. While you wait, make sure you check out the photos on the north wall... hey look, it's Yoko!
This Chinese restaurant serves good-old Cantonese-style food...with a Marylebone price tag, of course. I've been here a few times now - both for Dim Sum and for dinner, and every time it was pretty good.
On my last visit, we ordered the spicy chicken, which from a taste-point-of-view was really nice. What I didn't love as much, was that it was relatively small pieces of chicken, with even smaller bones still in them. The other dish, also excellent, was a kind of stew of aubergine & pork in a sauce flavoured with Chinese sweet olives.
The Phoenix Palace is a traditional banquet-style restaurant, so don't be surprised if there's a big birthday party going on or if it seems like you're crashing someone's wedding...just enjoy the buzz and the cultural experience!
Phoenix Palace is somewhere I go fairly often as it's a convenient place to meet my parents before we go home via Marylebone, and I've had my fair share of both dim sum and evening meals here. It's a hard one to review for me though - when I recall the food, I usually think very favourably about it, yet I can't quite shake a feeling of slight disappointment straight after eating there. It's a weird one.
Phoenix Palace very much prides itself on being a classy eating establishment. Whilst places such as Royal China may look glossy on the outside with its faux lacquer walls, there are certain noticeable things which come from corner-cutting (such as chipped teapots). Not Phoenix - head to tail, it's pretty prim, with a wide open central dining bit, as well as some tables tucked in a separate room at the back.
So, after sitting down, you get the menu. This is my first gripe - the menu is colossal. It goes on forever. And just when you think it's finished, ooh, look, 4 more pages of Chef's Specials! Oh, and there's usually another specials card on the table too, just for funsies (currently featuring Chinese tapas dishes, or something like that). I know this is not a problem exclusive to Phoenix Palace, but the length of the menu combined with the vagueness of description makes it very very hard to choose what you want to eat. The staff also aren't always so hot at elaborating on what a dish is, so asking for recommendations kind of goes out of the window too.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on a place which tries hard to do a lot of things well and has a diverse range of dishes (from standard Hong Kong fare to Szechaun-tinged dishes, and even Singapore-style chilli crab), but I find it very difficult to really get the best out of the menu. That and I can never remember what I've eaten there, especially not by the exact menu name. In spite of this, we usually have decent meals there, but even after 10 or so meals here as a family, we still have no definite go-to dishes (save for hot and sour soup), and - as a highly indecisive family - we're often left scrambling trying to put our order together.
Generally - for both dinner and dim sum - the food is well prepared and quite fresh. The dim sum is good (the fried ones don't taste like the oil is constantly reused which is always a big plus in my book), and this is currently our go-to dim sum branch, especially as it means we don't have to brave Piccadilly Circus at the weekends.
I will say that it's fairly pricey, and the bill usually turns out to be more than you'd expect albeit not outrageous - around £30 a head for food at dinner. In the end, I really want to love this place (especially given its convenience)...I just don't think I'll ever get to that point. However, it's still a solid place for both dim sum and dinner. And hey, if you guys go and have some really tasty dishes, please send some recommendations my way.
Dinner on 3.12.10.
Started with (no, not aromatic duck but I'll have to search for the name of this dish later......) duck, which came on shrimp crackers, alongside with pancakes for the duck, and lettuce cups for the vegetable/duck stir-fry. The duck was delicious while the crackers were on the stale side. Next we had an order of their spicy scallop and leek shoots--absolutely perfect combo of spice and flavor.
We had a huge dish next......Lobster Noodles. Gingery, savory heaven with succulent juicy pieces of lobster in the shell. Then we had this dish of Pork in Plum & Champagne Sauce...ZOMG. Sweet heaven. That's all you need to know.
No, it did not end there.
We also had their Steamed Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom & Ham, followed by their steamed Chilean Sea Bass topped with red dates, wood ear mushrooms and dried lily flowers. Both were very flavorful, beautiful presentation, and just filling. And then we had one more dish, pea shoots with wolfberry (goji), which I was so saddened to not be able to eat much of, as I was already too stuffed by then. Around the time of the fish, they finally served us some rice...hahaha, they were dreaming if they thought we'd be able to eat much of it!
By the way, all of that food above was for our table of 7 adults, and there was another table of us (with 6 adults), with the same amount of food!!
Dessert was mango pudding for those not wanting to try the red bean seaweed soup. (Trust me, I was skeptical about the seaweed bit, but it was sweet and delicious!!!)
Service = friendly enough.
Decor = very upscale cushy chinese with plenty of red carpeting, red decoration, chinese characters, white and black marble stairs, and a very clean loo!!
Prices = high, as expected. But worth it for such great Chinese cuisine! Totally worth coming here for a very nice dinner (albeit it was a sad day for us) but the dinner was a very nice finish though.
Do you dodge Chinese restaurants like the plague because of bad memories of MSG-sodden egg fried rice and consumer reports about how unhealthy a cuisine it is? Well, you shouldn't if you know where to go and what to eat.
Phoenix Palace's mastery lies in the sheer size of their menu and quality of their produce. There is something for every taste here, from classic Dim-Sum to a full Rotisserie to sumptuous dishes like Belly Pork and Oyster casserole. I was completely agog at the extensive drinks menu too, which also includes cocktails and spirits alongside the wines and traditional beers.
The portions are generous and the atmosphere, with 80s decor and low-level lantern lighting, is enchanting. The prices for mains are around the £10-12 mark, but worth it.
I came here once long ago for dim sum, and I don't really remember what it was like. Certainly, nothing that stands out in my memory.
However, I went in over Chinese New Year for dinner, and pleased to report that it was really good! We had a couple of really nice Chinese New Year dishes - the new year cake dish was pretty good, and very unusual as it was savoury rather than sweet. We also had salt baked chicken, pigeon, tofu, soft-shell crab and a whole host of other yummy dishes.
Because it was Chinese New Year, the place was absolutely packed and completely buzzing! There were a lot of families eating new year's noodles and sashimi (apparently all traditional new year's dishes) and the new year was seen in with style!
Our waiter also deserves a special mention - really very attentive, and quite funny at times - particularly when he tried to convince my mum that the "virgin" pina colada didn't have alcohol, when it quite clearly did.
It's whetted my appetite to remind myself of the dim sum, so I'll be back!
A friend and I stopped by this place for supper, as we were in the area visiting another friend. I had had dinner, so was just planning to have a soup and a starter, while she had not had dinner, and was planning to order a big plate of noodles.
Initially, the place itself was very impressive, the decoration inside was amazing and service was quick and prompt. However, when it came to ordering, we were told that there was a £10 minimum charge per person even though the restaurant was half full and this was at 8:30pm on a Tuesday night!
We then politely asked to leave, as the £10 minimum was written in font size 8 right at the bottom of the menu, and there were no warnings at the entrance bar the same small warning at the bottom of the massive billboard menu outside. To our shock, the manager came over and insisted that we pay for our chinese tea, which came up to £3.30 for the two of us, even though we only had a small cup each.
Although I am sure the food is good and the atmosphere was indeed amazing, the reluctance of the manager to allow an exception to a rule on what was clearly a very slow night was shocking, as well as the insistence to pay for tea. In addition, the prices were rather high, I would say at least a good 30% more than other good chinese restaurants in London. Dim Sum was being served at £4.80 a basket; most other good dim sum places charge between £2.50 and £3.
It was a nice fancy Chinese restaurant. The food was good but the service was so-so. It was difficult to understand the server. She never asked if we were fine. When we needed something, we asked another server but we found out he was a busboy that's why we never got what we needed. The busboy never told our server what we needed. Oh well. It was a nice meal.
I am surprised by some of the reviews for Phoenix Palace, as I find that the service is far better than in many Chinese restaurants, with smiling and helpful staff. We go there for Sunday lunch for their dim sum menu, which we love, the quality is excellent and the prices are reasonable.
Especially recommended are the steamed prawn dim sum and the prawn and chive, though today I deviated and had the soft shell crab with chilli, garlic and peppercorn salt from the main menu, quite the best that I have had anywhere and really fresh.
Their house white wine by the glass is a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, which is most drinkable.
Since Chinese is quite popular and readily available in london you to expect a certain standard when having Chinese ate here twice both take away. The food was okay nothing wrong with it but far from acceptable price wise. This place really makes me feel like a money laundering joint if you go eat there you will see what I mean.
The main reason I visited here was because it was pretty much the only place in the immediate area that was open at 11am on a Sunday. I was out with a group of seven friends to support my wife and one of her colleagues having participated in a morning 10K race around Regents Park. Needless to say, she and her workmate were HUNGRY afterwards. Most of the good places I knew around there didn't open until noon. No was against dim sum, and the only person among us that had tried it was keen to go.
Going here turned out for the best. Having a huge round table with a Lazy Susan packed will a wide variety of dim sum was perfect for our varying appetites and tastes. I found the food to be yummy too. Not the best dim sum (even within walking distance) but not bad at all. A somewhat celebratory atmosphere,cheap prices, quick service, tasty and plentiful dim sum options with a space that can accommodate large groups in comfort - I would not be averse to returning to Phoenix Palace and will definitely keep it in mind for future occasions.
Phoenix Palace - Pics at The London Foodie
After a disappointing dim sum experience at Royal China Bayswater (until now my gold standard dim sum venue in London) over the Christmas period, I thought I should broaden my repertoire and so recently decided to give Phoenix Palace a try.
Louise of Penguinette Cooks and a few Italian friends accompanied me to this well known Chinese restaurant in the Baker Street area. Despite our 2pm booking, we waited in the restaurant's cramped entrance for 45 minutes before being seated.
As a table of 6, we could order a large variety of different dishes. Carefully chosen by Louise, who is a native Cantonese speaker, these were:
Spicy baby octopus in chilli, garlic and pickled onion dressing @ £3.80 this was a recommendation by Mr Noodles and was indeed one of the best dishes we had the octopus was very soft, it was also sour and sweet from the marinated sauce with a gentle burn from the chillies.
Salty pork and black egg congee @ £4.20 I love congee, and this was as good as the ones I tried in many cafes in Hong Kong.
Pork and prawn turnip cake @ £2.60 this was disappointing as the texture was slightly floury and there was little pork or prawn to be seen.
Cheung fun with crispy dough stick @ £3.40 I normally go for prawn cheung fun, but this was a pleasant change I enjoyed the crunchy texture of the crispy dough stick against the delicate cheung fun skin.
Some of the fried items like Sesame prawn roll, Mashed prawn in soya pastry roll and Octopus patty with vinaigrette all @ £3 were competently made but were rather unexciting.
Prawn and chives dumpling @ £3 I always order this dish but Phoenix Palace's was a big let down. The skin was white and very thick and filled with little if any chives or prawns. They looked like they had come straight out of the freezer.
Shanghai dumpling with pork @ £2.60 - this was the most disappointing item on the table the skin was again very thick and the dumplings were completely devoid of broth. They ought to go down as the worst Shanghai dumplings I have ever eaten.
Noodles, beef brisket with ginger and scallions @ £7.50 the brisket was very tender and sweet, making for a delicious dish that went well with our choices of dim sum.
Glutinous rice in lotus leaf @ £3.50 these were smaller than the ones from Royal China and with an ungenerous filling. I would not recommend this at Phoenix Palace.
Egg tarts @ £2.60 I am not a huge fan of these little tarts, preferring the original Portuguese pastel de nata. Phoenix Palace's version had a strong taste of eggs yolk (not custard); they were lacking in sugar and were not to my taste.
Mini onion pancake @ £2.60 we were expecting small, flat pancakes and were surprised when these little morsels arrived. The pastry was crisp and delicious, and filled with fried spring onions.
Pork and prawn dumpling @ £2.60 these were hard and rubbery, and tasted as if they had been sitting on the steamer for a few hours.
Char siu pork bun @ £2.60 these were surprisingly light and with a delicious filling of char siu pork.
Black sesame glutinous ball £2.80 the glutinous outer layer was a tad thick on these sweets although I enjoyed both the texture and nutty flavour of this dessert.
Front of house staff were unfriendly and brusque when inquiring about our table, we were simply told to be patient. It baffles me why the restaurant would bother taking bookings for dim sum if these cannot be honoured.
Since my visit to Phoenix Palace I read a positive review of their a la carte menu by Mr Noodles of Eat Noodles Love Noodles which made me think that standards might be better at dinner time. I hope to try this later in the year and report back.
Cost: total bill came to £75.60 (or £12.80 per person) including £9 for tea, and 12.5% service @ £8.40.
Likes: large & spacious restaurant, good central location, some recommended dishes are spicy baby octopus in chilli, garlic and pickled onion dressing, salty pork and black egg congee and cheung fun with crispy dough stick.
Dislikes: rude service particularly front-of-house staff, not honouring bookings, slightly pricier than other venues in Bayswater or Chinatown, some dishes to avoid are the Shanghai dumplings and the pork and prawn dumplings.
Verdict: Mediocre and forgettable dim sum experience, rude staff, pricier than other similar venues. To my surprise, the place was heaving. Not recommended.
I was recommended this place as I have been on a quest to find the best Dim Sum in London Town and it did not disappoint. The menu is humongous with anything you may want and then some. The food is so fresh and absolutely delicious, and the portions guarantee you get some to take home as a night grub if you are planning to go out the next day ;)
This place is very popular so you may want to book to avoid disappointment.
This place is really good. Efficient service, authentic and tasty food, reasonably priced, and accessible. We go every Sunday and really enjoy it.
Favorite dishes include Char Siu Bao, Har Gao, Lo Pak Ko, Salted pork and egg congee, and Hot & Sour Soup. Their special fried rice is also very good. I'm not so happy that they charge 1.50 per person for tea, but that is my biggest complaint.
I highly recommend Phoenix Palace for anyone who likes authentic dim sum or wants to try it for the first time, as well as for large groups.
First, the positives. As a HK native and avid foodie, my expectations are high. The dim sum menu featured the usual fare plus a couple of "specials" which were pleasing to find. The deep fried items like sesame prawn rolls and beancurd sheet rolls were good - easy to get right as deep frying is a forgiving cooking method. We also had a braised noodle dish which was beef brisket braised in soya sauce served with spring onions, ginger and cantonese style egg noodles (believe it or not, a typical HK "dai pai dong" dish which everybody loves); this was good. The beef brisket was most tender and flavoursome.
Now, a lesser positive. The chive dumplings contained very little chives and the dumpling wrapper was thick and doughy, as opposed to thin, translucent and al dente. The pulled pork and thousand year egg congee was lacking in both feature ingredients and the congee was gloppy, which was a sign of starch thickening having been used to effect the porridge like texture of congee and which was WRONG. Actually, it was cheating. Congee is made from long simmering in order to make the rice's starch granules burst thus yielding a porridge like consistency.
Second, the negatives. Both the Xiao Lung Bao (Shanghainess dumplings) and Xiu Mai were clearly bought in wholesale, frozen and steamed to order. The Xiao Lung Bao had NO BROTH inside!!! It was plain dry mushy seasoned minced pork meat. Sacrilege! The Xiu Mai were just lumps of mushy meat. Yuk. Next, the pan fried turnip pudding slices. They were mushy, had no cured meat/chinese sausage bits, shrimps nor mushroom pieces inside them. Another sacrilege.
Finally, the service.
PLEASE TEACH THE FRONT OF HOUSE STAFF ADEQUATE POLITE ENGLISH TO COMMUNICATE WITH CUSTOMERS. I cringed listening to them in both Cantonese and English.
We booked and arrived 5 minutes early, only to be told to wait (which we did for over half an hour) and when followed up, the male maitre d' bluntly said in broken English that we had to wait because we were late arriving. Totally untrue!! He also told us to "be patient" in a blunt manner. Could he not have said "please bear with us"??
All in all, I felt that the dim sum was of a good enough standard to satisfy a need but really, one had better elsewhere.
Excellent chinese food in beautiful surroundings with friendly service. We ordered dim sum platter, wasabi prawns and prawn toast. Big suprise was the prawn toast which was aeons away from its takeaway incarnation. Bulging with prawns it was absolutely delicious. Mains included crispy belly pork, lamb with ginger and spring onions and orange duck. All were wonderful. The more adventurous can have a ball with amazing seafood, abalone, duck, and even ostrich dishes.
Don't bother with Chinatown and enjoy the quality of the offerings in Marylebone.
This place is a find, for this dimsum afficonado. After the Princess Garden disappointment of a fortnight ago, my dimsum chum Helena and I went to this place. It's in an odd area for it, you'd think, just by Baker Street station, but then again so is a branch of Royal China.
We went for the dimsum. Unlike most such places, the service was actually quite good, and the interior decoration is so OTT it's actually.... good?!?
The bill was a bit higher than usual for such fare, at 23 pounds a head, but then we had an absolute feast (no wine tho, we both drank tea, NB). The dimsum were fresh and refined, yet very tasty and well-balanced. Most of them were there, and the menu was -- if not quite Chinatown-like -- relatively broad, which allowed us to actually try a few dim-sum we'd not had before.
All in all a top place which would be perfect if it was a little bit cheaper.
Favourite dim sum restaurant ? Mine is Phoenix Palace (on Glentworth St just off Marylebone Rd near Baker St tube). Its charms aren't immediately obvious from the slightly gaudy exterior and identikit Chinese restaurant interior design. However when it's busy and it usually is, there's a great buzz which combined with quality Cantonese cooking makes it one of my favourites.
On a recent visit, we ordered bbq pork bun (cha siu bao), beef ball dumpling (sai choi ngau), shanghai dumplings with pork (xiao long bao), bbq pork puff pastry (cha siu sao), octopus patty (mak yu beng), pork in yam croquette (wu gok), rice pasta roll with crispy dough stick (zhaliang) and from the specials menu, steamed wasabi prawn dumpling.
Being growing lads, we bulked out the order with a platter of roast belly pork & roast duck and some fried noodles with beansprouts. To finish, we ordered some egg tarts (dan taat) and cream custard buns (lai wong bao).
Highlights? The zhaliang transported me to Hong Kong - perfectly cooked cheung fun (rice pasta roll) filled with crispy (not greasy) dough stick. I don't usually care for fusion dim sum but the steamed wasabi prawn dumpling (the green ones in the photo) was different class with a real kick from the wasabi inside the dumpling. Of the desserts, the sweet dense coconutty filling of the steamed cream custard buns won us over.
We were also impressed by the quality of fried dim sum like wu gok - so much better than the greasy oily crap often served up in Chinatown. The Cantonese BBQ was spot-on too, particularly the crispy crackling on the roast belly pork (siu yuk).
UPDATE: Returned here for dinner with two mates. We kicked off with the lai tong or soup of the day (£3.50/bowl) a consommé with chunks of carrot, mooli, and belly pork. It was a great palate cleanser, very flavoursome without being overly salty.
To follow, we ordered steamed sea bass with ginger & scallions (£24.80), and three kinds rotisserie (£13.80) consisting of siu yuk (crispy belly pork), cha siu (bbq pork) and siu aap (roast duck). These Cantonese classics were the stars of the night. My mate reckoned the sea bass was the best fish he had in years whilst the three roasts were as good as ever.
We also ordered the minced beef & garlic spring in XO sauce (£10.80), and winter melon, dry shrimp, and vermicelli hot pot (£11.80) aka dong gua har mai fensi bo. These dishes were from the chef's selection at the back of the comprehensive menu. It is to Phoenix Palace's credit that their entire menu is in both Chinese and English as many places hide dishes like these on their 'Chinese-only' menu. Nothing wrong with these dishes but sadly neither hit the same heights as the sea bass or the three roasts.
Once we ordered rice and drinks, the bill crept up to a shade under £150 including 12.5% service.
This seems expensive but bear in mind we did have two bottles of a rather excellent 2008 Sancerre Domaine Gerard Millet (£26/bottle). With a more modest drinks order, the bill would've dropped down to between £30 and £40 per head. This may still seem pricey to some but it was worth every penny given the overall quality
Great setting, food is of good quality. If you're not fussed and in the area, definitely head to Phoenix Palace. But there are better dim sum places out there.
To read the complete review, please go to chopstix2steaknives.blog…
The food was very good! The atmosphere was very nice and friendly. Also, they were able to spontaneously arrange a dessert with a candle for the birthday girl :)
The waiters did occasionally forget to bring water or toothpicks, etc. though..
Ok I don't want to sound like a snob here. But I am from California.(Don't hold that against me ha ha I assure you I am always appreciative and gracious when I go out here in the UK. I don't expect, for example, like most Americans living abroad and used to the 'faster is better" mantra to eating out that I will walk into a place, sit, be served, eat, and out in a half of an hour flat, as if I was at a KFC.....but I do expect good food and a receptive atmosphere.) I digress...... When I say I don't mean to come off as a snob, it's just because we have a LOT of Chinese restaurants on the US West Coast. So I have eaten a lot of Chinese in my life. (For reference I have lived in LA, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, all of which have some of the BEST China towns in the world.)
My Hubby and I lived across the street from this place when we first arrived in London, so we gave this place 2 attempts. Here was my last attempt....
I guess I was just expecting more. ESP when this place comes so highly recommended. What can I say? NAH!. Greasy, bland, and horrible, unfriendly service. The host sat us with only one menu (I was dining with my Hubby) and we had to ask the waitress 4 times and wait 10 minutes for an additional menu. Strike one.
Strike two were the duck rolls. Bland, limp, mealy duck strings.... of something supposedly resembling meat, I guess. And they didn't even bring us duck sauce on the side, even though we asked twice. Good duck meat doesn't necessarily need sauce to be tasty, but this duck meat (if you could call it that) did. And, no, we didn't get any sauce. Strike 3.
My chicken stir fry noodles ( I ordered them crispy) were overly mushy and AGAIN, bland, and the veggies were pretty watery. I don't even remember what the hubby ordered, as I tried his entree, made a face, and went back to my crappy plate of soggy noodles. Strike 4. (And there isn't even a Strike 4 in Baseball. BAD.)
The place was packed, but I suspect, with first time patrons like myself. Tony Blair supposedly ate here back in the day, that's why it has the rep it does, but that's ancient history as far as I am concerned. By todays' standards, this place sucks.
Excellent food, incredibly friendly service and very family friendly. An amazing list of previous customers too including Tony Blair and David Tennant. Only quibble is that it's not cheap. Ordered a relatively small amount of dim sum and it came to £20 per head.
Not only does this place have excellent food, the atmosphere can't be beat. From music playing over speakers in a way that sounds like someone singing Karaoke, to brightly coloured garish lighting, and all sorts of crazy people. A great place to go for either an unusual date venue, or a big family meal.
Wow. I had been very disappointed with dim sum in London, and one of my friends we suggested that we come here. It's a bit out of the way from other Chinese restaurants, but they have a lot of old school dim sum here - chicken feet, turnip cake, deep fried squid strands, char siu bao. Nice decor, efficient service, food comes quickly, prices are not bad at all! I will be back again.
I love dim sum and this place is a must go to when in London. The dim sum dishes are tasty and decent sized. Although this is for a review a while back, I still salivate thinking about all the yummy food here. It's classy looking, clean and staff are friendly.
Went here with a party of 4 & basically had delicious, traditional dim sum. The food tasted fresh & non greasy, the service was very efficient despite it being a busy restaurant & the prices were quite reasonable.
Great setting, food is of good quality. If you're not fussed and in the area, definitely head to Phoenix Palace. But there are better dim sum places out there.
Decent dim sum, but a tad expensive. Really enjoyed the steamed wasabi dumplings and the crispy beef. Also, it's a bit kitsch, but I loved the 'celebrities who've eaten here' photo collage at the entrance. Very convenient to Baker Street tube
The best Chinese restaurant in London.
One of my favourite things to do, as a part of my exercise regime, is to catch the 274 bus from Baker Street, and ride it all the way to primrose hill to go and let some steam off. There's something very relaxing , and conveniently cathartic about Primrose Hill. It's small enough to pop in and get some greenery, without being overwhelmingly open like say Hyde Park, for example. I come out of Baker St tube station (on the Baker St side), then turn right, then cross over at the first pedestrian crossing, then cut through the Gloucester arcade that houses a little Japanese restaurant called Nambu Tei (I must try it out sometime, it looks lovely), then hook a left out of the arcade, past Tescos, and onto the 274 bus stop which is just across the way on the other side of Gloucester Place. I've been doing this ritual for ages. But there was one particular day, (I can't remember exactly when), when I was casually sauntering along the route, when I was literally bowled over by a whiffy waft of 'Chinese smells', seemingly coming out of the side street adjacent to Tescos. You know the smell, that irresistible classic Chinese restaurant smell, that is the same no matter where you go, or what calibre the restaurant is; the quintessential Chinese smell.
Just like those Walt Disney cartoons, whereby an odour or a smell is depicted as little whirls of white clouds by the cartoonist, here too, just next to Baker Street, I was being pencilled in by Baker Street's own 'Lolf Hallis'. MMM I thought to myself, as one of the whirls whisked me down the side street, titillating my olfactory nerves, as I followed the scent back to its origin. The aroma trail led me to a white façade of a restaurant, which was situated on the street level, right at the centre of a monolithic Art Deco block of flats. The writing on the wall said Phoenix Palace.
I couldn't see much through the front window, apart from a glitzy bar on the left hand side, some very chinesey lacquered chairs and tables, shelves decked with oriental ornaments, some sort of fish tank, and a preacher's pulpit directly facing the front door, the pulpit supposedly meant to be manned to receive the guests as they enter the restaurant. It is never manned, so just nod to the invisible preacher, upon arrival.
My first impressions of this place were wow, look at this. Fancy that, finding a Chinese restaurant on a back street, like that. And wow it looks really nice inside, I bet the food is good in there. It did look a little bit like mutton dressed up as lamb, from the outside; a bit pretentious, a bit 80's. In fact, so 80's was it, that I was expecting Alexis-Morrell-Carrington-Colby-Dexter-Rowan to be receiving me from behind the pulpit. Nevertheless, when I got home, I googled it, and it turned out to be hailed as one of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Apparently tonnes of Chinese families flock there on the weekends to scoff down good dim sums.
So anyway, when my father texted me one night asking me to pick a restaurant of my choice, to take me out to dinner to, I said lets go to the Phoenix Palace.
This place is absolutely HUGE. You cant judge the depth of the restaurant just from looking from the outside, because three quarters of it is tucked away behind a wall, and there's a further two or three private banqueting rooms which are hidden away from view too. I was really really surprised when I walked in for the first time. After saying good evening to the invisible man, I veered myself towards the channel that lies between the bar on the left and the first screened private dining quarters, which is on the right. It was then that I witnessed the true extent of the dining room. In fact, when walking down this channel, it feels like you are being cast away into the sea; like the mouth of a river, or something. Two or three waiters/managers/people that look like they're ranked above the waiters, swarmed in front of my father and I, and it felt like we were being intercepted by a shiver of shark, circling and surrounding us on all sides. I didn't know whom to turn to, so I just tried my luck with the older looking male of the school. Hi, table for two please, I announced, doing a pan-American double-thumb-whammy in a vain attempt to try and inject some enthusiasm to the prospect of having dinner with my father, then simultaneously wiping the trail of saliva that had started to drool from the corners of my mouth. He just stared at me blankly (like I was the village-idiot) and then looked straight down at my calves (which were on full show because I was wearing Nike shorts). Cantonese calves he probably thought to himself as he began to lead us on a voyage to the other side of the room. My father, having the same physique as a beached whale, didn't like the idea of sailing the full breadth of the dining room, and so chose to sit right in front of the counter, which is in the middle of the channel, right next to the 'cutlery and menu trolley', which was
Great place for Chinese food, it is well managed, the bathrooms are clean always and more importantly the food and service are very good.
The best Chinese restaurant in London! I used to go here all the time when I worked in London, and always make the trip back whenever I'm in the city again. Delicious dim sum, generous portions, great value, excellent service and nice décor. What's not to like? Go there - you won't be disappointed!
Tasty food, nice big restaurant which is quite impressive inside but the service was awful! Staff seem like they really can't be bothered to serve you at all it's almost like you're inconveniencing them by being there! Our waiter took down our order, repeated it back to us and then walked away without saying a word, very brusque attitude. Later on we asked for some chilli sauce and he actually seemed irritated that we called him over!
It's a shame because the food is really quite good, but the rude staff and customer service let this place down completely.
(for photos and more :)
For me there is no better Sunday lunch than dim sum. I like the sitting together and sharing. In addition after a week(end) full of gluttony, it is a healthy option, particularly when you manage to stay off the fried stuff. When asking trusted foodies about their favourite dim sum place, Phoenix Palace is popping up again and again. As this year is my year of the dumpling, it was about time to visit Phoenix Palace located in a little side street just off of Baker Street to test their vast variety of dim sum. When we went to Phoenix Palace on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the place was packed. I would estimate that at least half to two thirds of the patrons were Chinese, which promised authenticity and quality. I rather liked the Chinese decor and style of Phoenix Palace, and it is not as stuffy and claustrophic as for example the famous (but in my opinion overrated) dim sum joint Royal China.
Interesting were the Cold Tossed Baby Octopus (3.80) which came in a chili and lemon sauce. Half of the table hated it; the other half really liked it. I was part of the latter and really enjoyed the chilled pieces of tender octopus with the flavoursome sauce, spicy but not overwhelmingly so. On the insipid side were the Noodles with Spicy Hot Meat Sauce, Sichuan Style (6) they were not spicy at all and for me there were no Sichuan flavours detectable at all unfortunately. I would not order these again.
My favourites were the steamed Wasabi Prawn Dumplings (3.80) thin and translucent dough filled with plump and tender prawns followed by a fierce wasabi kick. A definite must have!
Something I always order when I see it anywhere on the menu are the Pork Buns (2.80). At Phoenix Palace, the dough was the revelation of fluffy and light, filled with perfectly seasoned and non greasy bbq pork.
Nothing to write home about were the sticky rice things (their correct name being Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf Wrap). I have had them much better at Leong's Legends. Excellent however were the Vegetarian Spring Rolls (2.80). I usually never order spring rolls. The greasy variant filled with low quality meat that we used to eat when the first Chinese restaurant opened when I was a child, put me off them forever. I therefore was glad that someone else on my table insisted on ordering them as the light and crispy batter with the fresh and tasty vegetables were a real pleasure.
The Grilled Chicken Gyozas (2.80) and the Prawn Cheung Fun (4.40) were solid fare. Not spectacular but definitely in the upper range. None of us liked the Cheung Fun with Dried Shrimp. Sometimes it just doesn't pay off to order something weird sounding
Now we come to the desserts. I have a weakness for desserts that are not too sugary and you often find this kind of sweets in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The desserts we tried at Phoenix Palace had a rather mixed reception on our table, but that's the thing with Chinese sweets, they are definitely an acquired taste. I thought they were actually the highlight of the meal.
Red bean ice cream (3.80) with little red beans sitting on top like tiny insects was almost savoury and highly addictive.
Even better and so pretty were the perfectly round and white Cream Custard Buns (2.80) filled with a sweet and salty vanilla custard.
Everyone liked the hot and glutinous black sesame things (3), which funnily enough were decorated with a couple of parsley leaves. So much for non-sweet. Verdict: Even though it is overall not the best dim sum I have ever eaten, some of the dishes were truly outstanding and considering that the atmosphere is rather pleasant, I can only recommend Phoenix Palace for some serious dumpling feast.
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