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Dim sum @ 2 places, London

limster Oct 11, 2009 04:25 PM

• Young Cheng, Chinatown (there's 3 branches in Chinatown, but only dim sum at the branch on Lisle Street)

Basic dim sum, nothing special nothing great. Spring roll with prawns was probably the best of the items that I tried, crispy, rippingly crunchy prawns.

Dumpling in superior stock with crab meat, dried scallop, chopped duck was merely ok, the skin too mushy and thickm the soup stock fine but not great.

Steamed tofu skin/yuba with prawn and bamboo shotos was competently made, but not exceptional.

A solid sago in mango soup with grapefruit for dessert.

I was impressed by the quality of the cooked pu-erh tea, nice earthy intensity that lasted several infusions.

• Shanghai Blues, Holborn

Excellent turnip croissants (turnip puffs) with fragile shells puffy, multilayered and delicate; within a soft tasty turnip paste.

Xiao long bao was pretty good but not as good as Min Jiang -- the skin was thicker, the filling fairly well seasoned but broth tasted a bit like char siu.

A quail egg "siu mai" was disappointing -- essentially a quail egg in a wrapper attached a slightly overcooked prawn via a strip of nori, without any detectable trace of crab or scallop that was listed on the menu. The flavour combination was fairly neutral, without any enhancement.

Pumpkin dumplings were made to look like little pumpkins, fried to give a blistered look on the outside, with a stalk fashioned from cucumber. The insides were filled with little bits of pumpkin, chopped mushroom and vermicelli, but seemed a bit uneven from dumpling to dumpling, with the last one filled with more vermicelli than the rest.

Pan fried rice cakes looked interesting but were quite plain. Essentially a roll with nori that was sliced to thick discs and pan fried on each side to give a slightly crispy surface. The rice was well seasoned salt-wise, but could have used more flavour, from a stock perhaps.

A steamed Chiliean seabass roll was my favourite -- warpped with brilliant emerald spinach, and set over filly black fungus with a blunt and soft crunch, and flavoured on the inside with little chips that gave off a good fishy flavour (dried fish?). Complementary textures and flavours throughout that enhanced the delicate fish.

A dessert of "yuan1 yang1" (mandarin ducks) roll consisted of a chewy sheet made with glutinous rice flour (think mochi), with a thin spread of custard on one side and red bean on another, and copious shredded coconut on the outside, with a final bit of orange jelly for contrast. Fine but nothing special, certainly not the most delicate glutinous rice sheet I've had, and the fillings were a bit thin.

I liked the gai4 wan3/"covered bowl" style tea service, which had multiple infusions of the same tea, and they were able to provide a decanter to pour off each infusion into, so that there would not be excessive steeping that would lead to astringent bitterness. The 15 year old pu-erh I had was pleasant enough but the amount of leaves seemed a bit skimpy.

A couple of excellent items that were worth going back for, such as the turnip croissants and the Chilean seabass roll. Very attentive and careful service. Expensive for what it is, perhaps ~10-20% more pricey than the more refined Min Jiang, which still ranks as my best experience so far.

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    feelinfoodie RE: limster Oct 12, 2009 03:07 AM

    thanks limster

    out of curiosity I've passed Dragon Castle near Elephant & Castle plenty of times over the last few months. How is it? I've never been in

    11 Replies
    1. re: feelinfoodie
      limster RE: feelinfoodie Oct 12, 2009 03:13 AM

      Went to Dragon Castle a long time ago and liked it. Would be grateful for updates.

      1. re: limster
        feelinfoodie RE: limster Oct 14, 2009 02:04 AM

        will give it a go in a few weeks

        1. re: feelinfoodie
          gcm57 RE: feelinfoodie Oct 15, 2009 09:31 AM

          Friends who have scoued the city more for dim sum than i swear by Phoenix Palace and Royal China on Baker St at the city's best

          1. re: gcm57
            deansa RE: gcm57 Oct 16, 2009 05:27 AM

            I went to Phoenix Palace last weekend, and Pearl Liang a month or so ago. In my opinion, Pearl Liang was quite considerably better. More subtle flavours and much less oily.

        2. re: limster
          helen b RE: limster Oct 15, 2009 11:37 AM

          Was there a couple of months ago for Sunday lunch and really enjoyed it. Can't for the life of me remember what we had though, sorry!

          1. re: helen b
            skut RE: helen b Oct 15, 2009 07:34 PM

            what does this refer to?

            1. re: skut
              limster RE: skut Oct 16, 2009 01:47 AM

              Dragon Castle.

              1. re: limster
                skut RE: limster Oct 16, 2009 02:53 AM

                right. thanks!

          2. re: limster
            Peckhampam RE: limster Oct 16, 2009 11:20 AM

            Have been a couple of times recently-once in the evening and once for dim sum. Both meals amongst the best chinese cooking I have had in England

            1. re: Peckhampam
              limster RE: Peckhampam Oct 16, 2009 11:30 AM

              Cool, I've heard good things about their non-dim sum dishes, but haven't tried. Any particular favourites?

              1. re: limster
                justmarried RE: limster Oct 17, 2009 02:38 AM

                i had an interesting eel and pork belly dish about 6 months ago.

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