The name of the much beloved Chinese ‘dim sum’ dumplings literally translates to ‘touch the heart,’ and they are certainly doing that all over London. Whilst dim sum has always been popular, demand has increased in recent years when the artistry involved in creating the perfect dumpling was brought to light. Typically served at lunch time and accompanied by oriental teas, here are the top 10 places to enjoy dim sum in London.
Restaurant, Chinese, Dim Sum, $$$$$
Situated in Hyde Park, on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, you can enjoy classic dim sum whilst taking in the amazing views of Kensington Garden. Min Jiang is elegant and sophisticated – and that all comes at a price. However, what you are paying for here are stunning views and first rate service in a stylish setting. Treat yourself to this as a one-off dim sum experience.
Meal service:Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant, Chinese, Dim Sum, $$$
Traditionally decorated in warm reds, pinks, and oranges, and adorned with Chinese floral art and lanterns, Pearl Liang has long been a favorite with those seeking a business lunch venue. The great quality that keeps customers coming back for more – the dumpling skins are thin yet sturdy, and perfectly translucent. Traditionally, dim sum is a lunch time meal, so their lunch menu is cheaper and far more extensive; however, they also have a great selection of dim sum in the evenings to satisfy your late-hour cravings.
Meal service:All Day
Restaurant, Bar, Chinese, $$$
Part of the Royal China Group, this restaurant is one of six in London. The original in Queensway, Baywater, is a long-standing community favourite. They have a hugely extensive dim sum menu, and great value lunches. If you’re unsure about what to try, ask for a recommendation from the friendly and attentive staff.
Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Bar, Chinese, Asian, $$$$
Set over three floors, this Chinatown establishment could not be less like its neighbours. Edgy and alternative, this dim sum-come-cocktail bar features a relaxed shabby-chic setting of bold oriental-printed wall papers and quirky Chinese detailing with delicate ornaments and bamboo baskets. Their eastern-inspired cocktails are designed to accompany dim sum. The dim sum here have unusual flavours like crab and samphire, or mushroom and truffle. This place is sophisticated without being overbearing and perfect for an intimate date night.
Meal service:Dinner, Late Night
Atmosphere:Cosy, Gourmet, Casual
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
Another Chinatown classic that sets itself apart from the crowd, Plum Valley is dark and mysterious with its sleek black exterior that continues inside – dark and simple, with an exotic glamorous edge. The high quality food and friendly staff really set this place apart, and the addition of private karaoke rooms is another plus, ensuring a night of fun for groups. The jasmine tea here is really special – don’t leave without trying some.
Restaurant, Dim Sum, $$$
This place is unassuming from the outside but trendy on the inside, with moody lighting and simple statement Asian art. They have a smaller menu than other dim sum establishments, but the quality is excellent. They focus mainly on traditional dumplings like har gau, but their more innovative dishes, such as monkfish dumplings, are equally as tasty. They also have a great cocktail selection, making it perfect for a night out with friends.
Restaurant, Dessert Shop, Tea Room, Asian, Dim Sum, Chinese, $$$$
This Michelin-starred restaurant is one of London’s trendiest establishments. They pride themselves on flawless presentation, and a quick glance at their simple but bold decor proves that their vanity is certainly not unwarranted. Their pan-fried turnip cake is possibly the best in London – light and oil free, the flavour doesn’t rely on dried prawns for a punch. The spicy pork sichuan wonton is another spectacular dish- meaty dumplings doused in a deliciously hot sichuan pepper broth. The most affordable way to enjoy their dim sum experience is by visiting Monday through Thursday, 2pm to 6pm, when their ‘Taste of Yauatcha’ menu offers diners a reduced price per head, and the opportunity to sample many of their fantastic dim sum.