Grab your chopsticks and get stuck into the best of London’s dim sum scene
Words Helen Brown
London is no stranger to Japanese food. Sake and sushi are fast becoming gastronomic staples of the city goers’ diet. But sometimes only dim sum will do. Luckily, the city has a surfeit of restaurants serving the best steamed, baked and fried buns and small bites, stuffed with everything from black truffle to jelly fish. To help slim your pickings, we’ve rounded up our favourites.
For special occasion dim sum you can’t beat Hakkasan. It’s really nailed it in both atmosphere and menu. Unsurprisingly, the London-born restaurant has fast become one of the world’s most distinguished global restaurant, lounge and nightlife houses. There are two to chose from in London; both of which offer divine dim sum along with cocktails. The supreme dim sum platter is a good choice for dithering diners.
Mama Lan’s Chinese
Tucked away in the bustling stalls of Brixton Village Market is Mama Lan. It’s a family run Chinese restaurant which has its roots in the street markets of Beijing. This means each dim sum recipe comes with 40 years of experience. For the full experience, go for the king prawn and Chinese water chestnut dumplings, washed down with a Red Monkey mocktail.
Hidden away in Kensington, this buzzy but casual restaurant specialises in new takes on the dim sum classic. The menu sits outside of the box; think Sichuan pepper squid, seasonal local crab with balsamic pearls and chicken and black truffle Shui Mai. Bo Lang also boasts a selection of teas; from black to blue and everything in between. Now you can enjoy your dim sum in the traditional Chinese meaning of ‘going to drink tea’.
Now in it’s 13th year, Shoreditch eatery-come-cocktail venue Drunken Monkey is the place to go for the full shabang. It’s pioneering the trend for dim sum and cocktails. The venue’s name comes to light in the daily happy hour and the barbeque roast pork buns are a no-brainer.
My Neighbours the Dumplings
Technically speaking My Neighbours the Dumplings isn’t your traditional dim sum restaurant but don’t let that deter you. The place has adopted the dim sum dining style of shared small plates and given it a hip east London twist. Traditional Chinese dishes are jostle for menu space amongst other popular Asian influences such as Thai-style green papaya salad and a saké drinks menu.