Red Sun, Marylebone, London
- limster Oct 4, 2009 02:44 PM
Read about this place here a while ago and gave it a whirl. The chef is from Shanghai according to the staff there. There's a separate small menu with some of their specialities, it might be in Chinese only, but I can't remember.
Braised pork belly and tofu skin had the pork belly cut into thick strips that encompass the trilayer of skin, fat and leaner meat and braised just right, with penetrating flavour with a good balance of tender and firm; the thick tofu skin (bai2 ye4) was rolled and tied into knots. The sauce had a nice and slightly stick consistency to it, with the appropriate level of sweetness (Shanghainese food, even savoury dishes, tend to be sweet); perhaps a faint wash of clove. A minor touch, but I loved the thinly sliced rings of scallions, a refreshing and crisply green contrast to the rich dish. Very good homey cooking and certainly worth checking out.
Xiao long bao had touches of promise (a stiffer firmer texture in the skin than normal, somewhat like Ting Dai Fung's version when I had it in LA, well seasoned pork filling and broth on the inside), but the somewhat skillful wrapping was flawed at the top, the knot becoming very doughy and thick.
Not saying much, but the most competent home-style Shanghainese I've had in London and certainly worth digging deeper, as the cooking level is potentially beyond just good for the area.