Taste of Beijing, Soho, London
A newly opened Beijing place, more or less across the street from Ba Shan.
The chive dumpling (ji3 cai4 he2 zi3) was delicious, a half-moon turnover, pan fried to crispiness, a frsh oily sheen, and with a truly well flavoured filling that spoke eloquent chive, punctuated with bits of eggs. An excellent example of this Beijing snack, and probably the best I've had in London.
Beijing style noodles (zha2 jiang4 mian4) is also a good honest rendition. Fat, soft wheat noodles (Northern China favours wheat over rice) with a good shadow of chewiness. A classic meat sauce flavoured with a intensely umani and fairly salty bean paste, topped with silvers of cucumber, carrots and (iirc) green peppers. Cucumber is the most common topping, but the additional vegetables are not rare.
Glad to finally have some serious Northern Chinese food in the area. Will be back to try more.
Went during the week. Ordered a noodle soup (£6.50), chive turnover/pancakes (£4.50) and a stir fry of cloud ear mushroom + lotus root (£7.25) off the Chinese menu (as recommended by the very friendly owner, the Beijing TV celebrity, she kept calling me "my darling" which I found amusing). Excellent noodles in the soup but everything else was solid rather than spectacular. Soup broth was a touch bland, maybe just a vehicle for the noodles more than anything else and the squid in the soup was rubbery. Cloud ear mushroom + lotus root was stir fried in a light sauce, quite subtle flavours and more about the textures which were a nice contrast of slimy and crunchy. I'm sure she said there would be some Chinese sausage in the dish but there wasn't and I didn't query in the end. Chive turnovers had crisp pastry but the filling was extremely salty. Limster, is saltiness a distinctive flavour of Beijing/Northern Chinese cuisine do you know?
Really nice people and good to have some alternatives to Cantonese + Sichuan so would definitely go back and try more. Perhaps the real delights are to be found on the Chinese language menu, look forward to hearing more.
Extreme saltiness isn't a characteristic of those chive turnovers or of the cuisine in general, this sounds more like a batch to batch variation. BTW, if you want more than Cantonese or Sichuan in the area, there's pretty good Foochow/Fuzhou (Northern Fujian) at New Aroma in Chinatown, Shanxi style hand pulled noodles at Noodle Bar in Covent Garden and of course various Southern Fujian and Taiwanese items at places like Kee Lung and Leong's Legends also in Chinatown.
Excellent pan fried dumplings at 2 quid a pop (they're larger than average though.) Pretty good noodles. They're 5.50 a bowl btw.
Also, they have an extensive looking Chinese menu which I'll be uploading the picture of ASAP. It includes a bunch of stuff that's not on the other menu. Very friendly chef! He said he'd make us anything we wanted as well.
Great place - really buzzy. Can we tricky to sit at one of the large shared tables. It's open from 7am until 4am and owned by a pretty Beijing news presenter who's often there. Most of the dishes seem to be pre-prepared and are served within 3-4 minutes. It's a great place serving cheap Beijing fast food. I definitely going back!
Had the Beijing bean paste noodles described above yesterday, they were excellent, in this case topped with beansprouts, and shredded carrot ad cucumber. Really deep flavour from the fermented beans, and nice light star anise notes riding over. Also had a vegetable bun, which was pretty bland, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but pretty soggy as well, which certainly was. A promising opening though, cheers Limster.