After meeting up with friends in Soho, it promptly began to chuck it down. We got to Chinatown at precisely the wrong time, queues for dim sum snaking out of entrances and around the shop fronts.
We ducked into Dumplings Legend (untried by any of us previously) as it seemed to have the quickest moving queue, and, apparently, specialised in dim sum if the name is anything to go by. That assumption was clearly foolish (especially in Chinatown) and we should’ve known better considering we’re all dim sum veterans.
In no particular order, this is what we got. Xiu long bao’s (aka. XLBs) are meant to be their specialty – they make them in the open plan prep area on the ground floor – so we ordered a couple. The flavour of the crabmeat ones were overpowered by ginger so the shellfish was undetectable, however the pork and truffle (yeah, ‘traditional’ is not really a word uttered here, scallop and cheese dumpling anyone?) was a nicely balanced combination. Unfortunately, the casings on the dumplings had dried out tops, tell-tale signs that they had been sitting out for too long.
Har Gau were ginormous – the problem with making them this big , is that the prawns will almost inevitably be over cooked and rubbery by the time they are hot all the way through, and the wrapper will be thicker so they don’t disintegrate – and that was exactly what we got here.
Scallop and preserved vegetable cheung fun up next. Usually, plain scallop ones are in my top 3 favourites at dim sum – 3 or 4 plump, sweet scallops wrapped in thin rice noodles. All of the cheung fun here though had something (frankly unnecessary) added to them e.g. celery with the prawns, wtf. These had really thick rice noodles, and minuscule slivers of scallop – very disappointing.
Baked char siu buns were probably the best dish – nice, buttery pastry encasing not-too-sweet roast pork.
The fried prawn dumplings were disastrous grease-bombs that arrived in an actual pool of oil. We spent the first few minutes squashing them with chopsticks to extract as much grease as possible.
The prawns wrapped in beancurd were equally greasy, but absorbed less oil due to the wrapper.
Siu mai were actually decent, however, once again the dish was brought to the table cold.
Last but not least, the price. We ordered 10 dishes, some noodles and a main – for the quality of food, £88 was a real kick in the cojones. All in all, a disastrous place that’s best avoided.