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For those with a penchant for Chinese cuisine, London boasts an array of choice. Not all good Dim Sum in London appears at Chinese New Year, though. And nor is quality Dim Sum exclusively served in London’s cheap Chinatown Chinese restaurants either. The wheeled-out feast of steamed, fried, baked and sweet goods that fills the limitless hunger for Chinese food comes in many guises: steamed dumplings, siu mai, chicken buns, steam pork buns, rice noodle rolls, fun gor, har gow, lotus leaf sticky rice, stuffed bean curd, chicken feet with black bean sauce, steamed spare ribs, potstickers, radishcakes, wrapped crab claws, taro-wrapped pork, roast duck, suckling pig, followed by custard tarts, fried sesame balls, and sweet custard buns. Here is your top 10 guide to the best Dim Sum restaurants in London.
Image courtesy of Flickr user dana robinson.
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
On the very doorstep of the Square Mile and in the heart of the ever-growing More London business district, Hutong is ideally located for business dining when a real wow factor is required. A fantastic Dim Sum menu at lunch offers a healthy alternative for city types entertaining frequently! Stunning décor (resembling the hutongs or alleyways of old Beijing), first-rate northern Chinese food and discreet, professional service make Hutong the perfect place for impressing clients; for larger parties there are two private dining rooms with river views.
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Dim Sum
Yauatcha City restaurant in Broadgate Circle bext to Liverpool Street Station presents authentic Cantonese dishes with a modern influence, offering a wide range of steamed, baked, grilled and fried dim sum such as scallop shui mai, prawn and beancurd cheung fun and venison puffs. The drinks menu comprises 38 types of tea, as well as cocktails and a broad wine and Champagne list. Yauatcha City also has a standalone Yauatcha Patisserie on the level below the main restaurant, where customers can purchase from an array of macarons, petits gateaux and chocolates.
Kensington / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
If swish Kensington is more your local habitat than rough and ready Chinatown, Min Jiang is just the place to get your dim sum fix. You can even gaze at a fancy view - Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, from the 10th floor restaurant - as you tuck into some fancy food. Its extensive menu includes spring onions puffs, crispy prawn rolls with fresh asparagus and steamed sweetcorn dumplings, which you can wash down with tea, wine, champagne or sake. The best bit? Pudding fans are catered for too, with 11 dessert dim sum to choose from.
Soho / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
The hedonist's choice for dim sum offers three pages of sumptuous dim sum: fried, grilled, baked and steamed. Each perfect package is exquisitely presented and popping with flavour. The blue swimmer crab shui mai is a favourite and the spicy pork Szechuan wonton is a treat like no other in London. Very much at the top end of the market Yauatcha's laid back style belies absolute quality in the kitchen, not to mention one of the best pastry chefs in town; one for a special occasion.
Paddington / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
Another fancy-pants option if you'd rather not go to Chinatown. Located in the heart of Paddington, Pearl Liang's decor is pink, gold and opulent. As well as a la carte and lunch box menus, there's a wide range of pretty and sumptuous dim sum to try out. The more adventurous can choose chicken feet in black bean sauce or fried octopus cake, while the less adventurous can dine on crispy aromatic duck rolls, spinach dumplings and pork ribs. As you'd expect from a modern Chinese restaurant, there's a decent wine list and even a cocktail bar.
Ping Pong St Katherine's Dock
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Dim Sum
Located right near the River Thames and offering beautiful waterside views, Ping Pong is in one of the most picturesque spots in London. The classy restaurant has a wide selection of tasty Chinese meals and all the dim sum is served using notably fresh ingredients. The service is prompt and the prices are reasonable but this could mean running out of room on the table if too much dim sum is ordered!
Marylebone / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Pan Asian
Whilst the notion of serving Dim Sum, Sushi, plus classic dishes from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea and India may sound like too much to do well, Cocochan has proved itself as a go to place for all things Eastern inspired. In part it does this by separating out its offerings, an upstairs restaurant takes in three different Dokoro styles, think lattices and glass, and is supported by a lower floor private hire room of more modern, industrial taste. From chicken croquettes with shitake and garlic chives to lamb cutlets with kimchee cabbage Cocochan successfully condenses India and the Orient without reducing quality.
Courtesan Dim Sum Bar
Brixton / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Dim Sum
Empirical Chinese opulence is the name of the game for this Dim Sum restaurant on Brixton's Atlantic Road. Cool grey walls with plum furnishings and wooden slated window blinds provide a sophisticated, low-key, atmosphere. The food is fit for an Emperor, some highlights are the fluffy Char Siu buns with a honey BBQ pork centre, these would be stars at any Dim Sum restaurant. The mushroom puffs deliciously offset a slightly sweet pastry with rich stewed mushrooms and wasabi king prawn dumpling bring real heat to refreshing prawns. Cocktail potions are also highly desirable. The Courtesan bathes the sour tang of Morello cherry in crystal clear proseecco and Wyborowa Vodka.
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour
West End / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Dim Sum
Hidden behind the Jade Door lies Chinatown's hideaway, Opium. This dim sum parlour boasts a tea menu to enjoy alongside a small but perfectly formed steamed dim sum menu, or for those who enjoy something a little stronger, the mixologists offer crafted Chinese cocktails. It also gives drinkers the chance to take a seat at the Bartender's Table, where guests can sit and immerse themselves in the theatre of drinks-making.
West End / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
Harbour City encapsulates London's Chinatown as highlighted by its predominantly Chinese clientele. In many ways it's hit and miss - sometimes the greeting is warm but other times not, the building and décor is nothing special and service can be brusque, or painfully slow. But more often than not you get the Dim Sum you want; big, juice and filling. Spring rolls and prawn bread aren't greasy and the exploding dumplings always deliver with a succulent, popping meat filling. The price is reasonable and set menus are a good deal for a journey through classic dishes.
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