Dabbous

Three years of trying and finally I bagged a table that wasn’t 5.30 or 10.30 on a Tuesday night. Back when Dabbous opened it was the go-to restaurant for contemporary cooking in London. There was a buzz surrounding the restaurant, and the chef, Oliver Dabbous, who was being touted as the man to take the London restaurant scene in a new adventurous direction. It made it virtually impossible to get a reservation. Now the hype has died down and there are other restaurants with a similar style of cooking like The Clove Club, The Typing Room and Portland, but after eating there this still feels as fresh and new as anything I’ve tried in London recently. With tables now easier to get, there are few restaurants I can recommend more.

The decor is deliberately minimal with exposed bricks and pipes, which fits the menu which only has two choices- a Tasting Menu (£68) or a set Dinner Menu (£56)- both with no choice over which dishes you are getting. It’s a ballsy brand of cooking that has no place to hide if it doesn’t deliver. But Dabbous absoloutely pulls it off. 

A starter of Fennel with lemon balm and olive oil, placed all it’s emphasis on the central ingredient. The cooking was exact and precise, and it quite simply was the best that this ingredient could be. Caesar mushroom shavings with lesser calamint, pine nuts and bitter leaves, was a clean and fresh dish, with waves of flavour in each bite. First a barbecued earthy flavour from the mushrooms and pine nuts, and then a herbal peppermint wash from the lesser calamint. It was familiar and yet surprising, a dish that seemed so simple with very little actual cooking, but takes an excellent kitchen to execute.

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Next Lard on toast with black truffles (£9 supplement) was a dish I wanted to hate. Served on a black slate there was nothing to distract from the fact that with a few shavings of truffle you’re looking at a £20 slice of toast. But it just tasted so good- creamy and fatty and then the luxury of the truffle coming through. 

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Cornish squid with butterhead lettuce and clover was again a winning combination. The shrimp has been shredded so that it resembled noodles and served in a buttery, nutty sauce. Best of all was barbecued Iberico pork that was trimmed of all fat and cooked perfectly. An acorn praline and radishes provided the added crunch and the sharpness from the crushed green apples brought the dish together. It was a faultless plate of food.

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A pre-dessert of iced lovage was surprisingly refreshing and then the only dish that didn’t blow me away- milk pie infused with fig leaves. It was a little bland and stodgy- the milk sauce was too thin and only had the faintest hint of the fig leaves, and its texture was a bit like half-baked croissant dough. The sort of dessert you’d eat if you’d left you dentures and palate back in the house.

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The meal came to over £100 a head but on the cooking and service was as good as any high end restaurant. So often a tasting menu can drag- this was a seamless experience, bang on two hours. There may be hotter tables to get in London now, but this still feels like some of the boldest best cooking in the city. I only hope it’s not three years until I next dine here.

9.5/10 (££££)

39 Whitfield St, London WIT 2SF

Dabbous Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bo Drake

At it’s best you don’t notice service. It’s a seamless part of the dining experience, one you only remember in recollection. A good waiter will first of all know the menu and know what to recommend because they have tried it, not because they’ve been told to up-sell that dish. But most importantly, a good waiter knows when to leave you alone. It seems so simple, and yet so few restaurants get this part right. There’s fine dining restaurants that seem so eager to justify the service charge that they do everything except wipe your arse for you. Then there’s the restaurants with staff who pull up a chair and ask you so many overfamiliar questions that you end up checking your starter for their signs of their bodily fluids. And then you get the worst of them all. The waiters who are like incessant little flies, pestering you from the moment you enter, literally turning the table as you are still sitting there. Tonight, Bo Drake fell into this last rung in hell.

From the moment we sat down, we were given a menu and immediately asked if we were ready to order. No, we’d like to at least have a look at the menu first. Maybe some water. A minute later and he was back. We sent him away again, or rather he hovered three foot behind me waiting for the next moment I dared to open my mouth for conversation with my partner- a sure signal I had made my mind up. On the third attempt we gave in and ordered our dishes- which given how concise the menu is, was just about everything worth trying. Three minutes later the food came. Yes a whole 180 seconds from the waiter writing it down in his pad, to the order being passed to the kitchen, to the chefs cooking 7 different dishes, to it being put down on our table. This is no exaggeration. Needless to say not one of the dishes served was hot.

Having now ordered and been served, I could take the restaurant in. Bo Drake clearly took its design inspiration from what was hot last year- brown paper menus, matt-grey walls and exposed pipes. Minimal, cold, and drab- something between a prison cell and a pervert’s sex dungeon. With it’s menu and look, it is in the same vein as restaurants like Flesh & Buns and Pitt Cue Co, but it lacks their boozy basement buzz and the food doesn’t pack as much of a punch.

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First up KFC (Korea fried chicken) with soy garlic, grapes and rosemary (£8.50) which would have the Colonel turning in his grave over this poor pun on his classic. At their best Korean chicken wings blow your balls off. They’re red hot dirty finger food, something Flesh & Buns have nailed. Here the skin was soggy (maybe from standing pre-made on the pass for the last thirty minutes?) and they had no kick of spice. Bo Ssam was smoked pulled pork with kimchi (£14) that you forked into lettuce parcels, although it looked more like a can of cat food that had slurped onto the plate. The smoke was lacking and the meat was without that fatty goodness you associate with pulled pork. Smoked duck bao (£9) were tasty little bites, but not the best I’ve had.

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From the specials striploin beef served rare with truffled shiitake, tofu cream and shizou (£18) was a dish that you’d get in a restaurant like Zuma and happily pay twice the price. Cooked perfectly with good clean flavours, albeit served lukewarm, it showed that the kitchen can create moments of magic here. Only moments though, as a side of smoked aubergine with a miso and vine tomato water (£7) restored the order- it was like slurping down smokey slugs. Sweet potato fries with kimchi island dressing (£3.80) were better, but only because the pickled vomit flavour of the kimchi wasn’t coming through.

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It wouldn’t take an imaginative chef to pad out the dessert list. A choice of three was cut to two as the most appealing one- passion fruit brulee- was unavailable. At 7.30pm on a Friday? Maybe it had melted on the pass having been prepped three days before? That left a choice between sesame soft serve ice cream or apple tarte tatin (which really didn’t fit with the rest of the menu). It was a tarte tatin cooked by a Korean kitchen. Uninspired and out of place. A dribble of soft-serve vanilla ice cream did nothing to lift it.

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Having now eaten there, I can see that Bo Drake is an after work place where you go for a quick bite and a few drinks. Had I gone expecting this, I might have been more forgiving for being rushed through a meal in 45 minutes. I know London restaurants like to turn tables, but less than an hour is really pushing it. It was all bang on-trend with the decor and style of cooking, but food like this should be vibrant and punchy that makes you want to drink. The only thing making me want to drink more here was the shite service.

4/10 (££)

6 Greek St, London W1 4DE

Bó Drake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Similar: Flesh & BunsPitt Cue Co

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Duck & Rice

Chinese food- the British staple. Ten pints in the local followed by a chicken chow mein and some bright red gloopy meat dish. Food we’ve all grown up on. We’re rarely sober when eat Chinese. We might start sober, but by the end of the meal we all have a tinfoil box of leftovers tucked under one arm, are grabbing a handful of mints from the bowl by the door, and shaking hands with the owner- Kevin- who we are of course on first name terms with, and promising to see him at the same time next week and asking if he can keep our special table free. We’ll all swear that we have the best Golden Dragon or Pekking Palace, that serves the best Number 23 in the country, but we all know it’s the same flavourless crap wherever we go.

Well now we can kill two ducks with one stone. Alan Yau, the creator of Hakkasan and Yautcha, has opened Duck & Rice in Soho. Ignore all the pretentious bollocks it will throw at you about it being a modern public house, this is a boozer (albeit it a £5.40 a pint boozer) that doubles up as a classic British-Chinese restaurant. The bottom end of Berwick Street (with the exception of Polpetto) had previously only been for a certain type of dining, not one you too proudly write a review on. Thankfully there’s more reasons to go now. Duck & Rice has taken over from a grotty pub called the Endurance, which I passed daily without ever having the urge to go in. It was the type of place that would serve you a lukewarm glass of piss and still charge you Soho prices. I’ve read other reviews where people whinge about this old Soho classic closing down, and protest that it’s another sign of how Soho and London and the whole fucking world is losing its true identity. These are the no doubt the same people who bombard you with out socialist flyers about rent prices as soon as you get off the overground anywhere East. Well thankfully Duck & Rice has priced them out the market.

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The restaurant has an imposing glass and metal frontage- something a restauranteur can only do if he has absolute confidence in his style and money in the bank- both of which Alan Yau no doubt has in abundance. Inside, once you get past the awkwardly placed huge Pilsner Urquell copper tanks, the bar area is lavishly done out, with shiny metal surfaces and walls that resemble Chinese teapots. It’s the most deliberately constructed restaurant I have been to in a long time, the price of which they are seemingly clawing back with the elevated food prices.

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The menu is crowded, just like every other Chinese menu in the country, and has most of the greatest hits on there- including its very own aptly named ‘Number 23’. From the dim sum we tried the char siu bao (£4.50), Shu Mai (£6.50) and Har Gau (£6) which were all fine, but didn’t have a touch of their own to make them stand out. The Sesame Toast £6.50) did, and was a world away from the greasy flavourless triangles that are usually served up. A whole prawn served on a crispy piece of toast finally made me understand exactly what the appeal is with this dish.

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Salt & Pepper Squid (£10.50) was a little dry and unremarkable for the price. It worked well with the beer but could have done with a fiery dipping sauce. Shredded Pork Crispy Noodles (£10.50) could have been crispier and were heavily salted (lets hope it wasn’t MSG). Mains were the real strong dishes here, first the House Duck (£24 for a half) did the house name proud. We were told that it would be left to rest for fifteen minutes so that the meat is served lukewarm. It meant the juices had flowed back through the duck, making it more tender and flavoursome.

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A whole Crab with curry sauce was the standout dish of the night. A huge plate of legs and flesh covered in a deeply coloured thick curry sauce. If you’re on a date, ordering this is essentially cock blocking yourself- I still smelt of curry on Monday morning. The sauce was too strong for the delicate flavour of the crab meat, but this is only a minor complaint for what was a fantastic dish to get stuck into.

Apart from a few of the mains, there weren’t any dishes that you wouldn’t find at your local Chinese. They were more refined here, but not enough so that you will remember it as the best chow mein or ho fun you’ve ever eaten. When you’re paying £60 a head the food should be better, but it didn’t really bother me, as it played second fiddle to the atmosphere and overall feel of the restaurant. It’s not a place to go if you want great Chinese food- Yauatcha next door is far more suited to that. Instead come here in a group with the intention of getting drunk and having a good night, without having to wander down the street for your Chinese feast afterwards, and you’ll leave a happy punter.

7.5/10 (£££)

90 Berwick St, London W1F 0QB

Duck & Rice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Jinjuu

Jinjuu describes itself as a ‘premier modern Korean food restaurant’ with an upstairs bar where DJ’s ‘hit the decks…spinning a mix of smooth house,’ and downstairs offers ‘unmatched theatre’. Hate it already? Any restaurant that has a self-publicised ‘concept’ is already fighting a losing battle. But then the promise of Korean junk food with a hit of Mexican surely can’t be bad. Spicy, sloppy finger food is a combination that is hard to resist. But here lies the problem. Fusion food- it never really works. Unless you’re a drunk student foraging through your cupboards at 4am trying to concoct a meal, fusing different cuisines rarely tastes as good as it sounds.

On the face of it, the menu here is appealing. It’s a more padded out version of Flesh & Buns, with a few Mexican inspired treats thrown into the mix. But this menu doesn’t really fit the vibe of the restaurant. It just isn’t as fun as Flesh & Buns. For one, the toilets aren’t plastered in anime porn. And it doesn’t have that raucous boozy buzz that makes you want to wash down greasy finger food with pints of Asahi. Jinjuu instead seems to be angling for a less wealthy Hakkasan crowd, who’d rather sip dainty cocktails. They even have a clipboard-holding doorman, just to complete the look.

Away from the overcrowded bar, the basement is a bit dull and the open kitchen is little more than an open hatch. The menu follows in the footsteps of the concept described on the website, and has to be the most annoying in London. Anecdotes comment on the dishes trying their best to coax you in- ‘bespoke’ prawn crackers are supposedly ‘awesome with a beer’, but worst of all is Carnitas Fries which promise that ‘everytime you stick your fork in…something good comes out’. It’s like having an annoying waiter trying to upsell everything. Which is fine if the food is brilliant, but for soggy, greasy fries which managed to taste neither Korean or Mexican, it’s a little off the mark.

The Pork belly tacos needed more apple and could have done with a big squeeze of lime and hit of spice. Korean fried chicken came with the choice of thighs or wings- and had a great crispy batter, but again were let down by the limp spicing from the two sauces, and I wanted more than a couples of bites for £8.5 as well. Sae Woo Pops (prawn cakes) were the pick of the dishes thanks to the creamy gochujang mayo that had a good salty sour flavour. If only all of the dishes could have come with this sauce.

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The beef sliders could have done with more Korean spicing, and I didn’t really get how these had any influence from Korea or Mexico, bar the kimchee topping. After eating them, I realised that kimchee manages to spoil every dish. I used to pretend I liked it, mainly because I didn’t know what it was. But now I realise that it really just tastes and looks like regurgitated stomach lining, which has no place on any dish of mine. From the bigger plates the USDA Prime Ribeye (£25) was tender and tasty enough, but there wasn’t any point in the bushel of flaccid lettuce leaves served as a side. A dessert of doughnuts stuffed with a Snickers like concoction was far better than any of the other dishes, mainly because it wasn’t trying to be Korean or Mexican, and instead just focused on being tasty.

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Jinjuu is trying very hard to be on-trend, but for a menu and concept that promised so much, it lacked any spunk. At it’s best Korean and Mexican food blows your balls of. This didn’t even give them an itch. Instead it was nothing other than a fusion of annoying anecdotes and overpriced junk food. You’re better of adding kimchee to a burrito next time you cook at home. It’ll save you the eighty quid.

5/10 (£££)

15 Kingly St, London W1B 5PS

Jinjuu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Hotel Chantelle

I know, we’ll open a place that is hard to find, so that people Come To US because that’s so IN, and very New York. A back alley or somewhere would be perfect. Then we’ll find an Executive Chef, someone we assume everyone has heard of, like Seth Levine because he was the Gareth Gates of some reality cooking show, and we’ll tell him to design a menu made of concepts, not dishes, with crazy names and ingredients that should never go together. Then we’ll find the best looking staff, who clearly don’t eat, and train them on how to stand around bored on their iPhones, all while remembering to bob their fashionable haircuts to the DJ. We’ll price it so high that only London’s finest will come here, and spend huge amounts. That’s it, we’re onto a real winner here.

I once had a night in Rose Club (thankfully now dead and buried), where Hotel Chantelle is now housed above, and it was the worst night out I’ve had. Dragged there from a friend who was down for the weekend and wanted to experience the glam of a ‘proper London club’ that’s where we ended up, paying £20 for house vodkas, cramped into some little dull basement watching rich Arabs and Russians ply blondes with Grey Goose, and getting their photos taken with the sparklers. It was horrific. A VIP lounge full of non-VIP idiots hoping to get a glimpse of one. Hotel Chantelle has managed to attract the same crowd. So if Rose club is for you, no doubt you will love this place. Grace Dent must have been drunk or on their payroll to compliment anything at this restaurant.

The only way a restaurant like this can work is if it has an incredible buzz. I hate STK and Aqua, but they have a good vibe, even if it is a coked up Essex vibe. Here though, the restaurant is so poorly located, and so badly designed once you do get in, that there was no buzz at all. The bar area is nothing more than a few bar stools, and there were empty tables throughout, despite it being 8pm on a weekend. This all makes the DJ even more pointless, as he’s blasting tacky House tunes to a half full restaurant. The interior designer has clearly been told to take their inspiration from brothels, and with the dim red lighting and row of blondes lining the bar waiting to be picked up, at least they’ve got something right.

The menu is an Instagrammers wet dream. The dessert menu even had the Instagram logo on. Any restaurant with that deserves it’s own special place in hell. It’s all concepts. Dishes that sound like they’ve been created by a hallucinating crack whore. Dishes you will cringe and hate yourself for ordering. Try ‘When Pigs Fly’ and ‘The Mad Lobster’. And then there’s the prices. Before I really start to whinge, let me tell you, that I am happy to pay over £100 a head if the restaurant deserves it. Now that can be a taster menu at a Michelin starred restaurant, or paying for the overall experience like at Scott’s or Zuma. Here starters begin at £11 and quickly get towards £20. Main’s range from the mid 20s to £100 for a steak for 2. No side dishes are included. Wine starts at £10 a glass and cocktails are £12.

The only reason I can think of why it is so expensive is to pay for the number of staff. I counted 18 on the floor, that’s not including the chefs, and there couldn’t have been more than 60 people in the restaurant. They all congregated by the DJ booth, half of them on their iPhones (the only excuse I can find for this is that it it has something to do with the ordering system?). There’s also a photographer who takes photos of everything except the empty tables. The waiters did try their best to justify the 15% service charge, but they were just no good at it. Everything you order is stamped with their seal of approval. I’d have liked to order a glass of piss, just to see if he told me again ‘Great choice Sir’.

So let’s get to the disaster of a meal. A car crash would have tasted better. First up, three stale pieces of bread with unsalted butter. I’ve had better, more imaginative bread in an aeroplane meal. For starters, my ‘When Pigs Fly’ was four flavourless strips of Iberico ham (think Tesco wafer thin ham without the flavour) hanging from pegs on a clothes line, with four dry crostins with a tiny slither of pickled melon on. Flavourless crap. Oh, and it was £17. A Tuna Tartare Cigar (£11) tasted worse than a real cigar would. The taco shell was like biting plastic, and the tuna had no seasoning, not even a squeeze of lime. The wasabi managed to not be fiery at all and yet still completely overpowered any other flavour in the dish. Chicken Waffles weren’t waffles. They were a poor-man’s Chicken McNugget with a stick wedged through it, wrapped in maple syrup candy floss. Why? Well, I don’t think even the chefs have an answer to that one. £14 for three chicken nuggets. Just imagine how many you’d get at the Golden Arches for that.

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Mains managed to get worse. At £32 the rack of lamb was cooked well, but came with an incredibly sweet sauce that was laced with far too much cinnamon and rocks of sugar, making it really unpleasant to eat. It of course had truffle, this time in the form of honey, which was unidentifiable in the wash of cinnamon. Practically every dish here has some form of shaved truffle. I’m sure even the waiters wear eau du truffle, just to give the impression of luxury. A Drunken Chicken Parmesan (£25) was the worse dish of the night. The only thing drunk was the chef who served this. I wish I had the balls to send food back, because this would have disappointed if I’d bought it from the Sainsbury’s Basics range. One large flattened breaded chicken, a drizzle of dull pesto and a covering of rubbery cheese. All this made the breadcrumbs soggy. Most of it was left uneaten. And of course, even at that price, the fries (sorry, Pommes Frites- the pretentious tossers) come at £6 extra.

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My Iberico Pork was the best dish of the night, but not without a series of faults. Firstly it was overcooked. Pork like this should come pink, not a dull grey colour. And whilst there was a good amount of meat, it was again ruined by an incredibly sweet sauce, and also by the inedible chunks of  apple and bacon glass brittle glued to the plate. It was like a solidified super glue- hardly what you want with a £29 main course. We braved dessert, just because at £8 it was by far the cheapest dish of the night. Donuts with a trio of sugary dips- raspberry, dark chocolate and the stuff they put in Dime bars. Well it was alright. Well done, you got something half right.

At over £80 per head with just 1 drink each, this has to be the most overpriced, waste-of-money restaurant in London. I hate STK and Aqua, and Nobu isn’t much better. But at least their food is decent. This place is just all surface, and not a very attractive one at that. It feels like the reject list, where those not good looking enough for the real showy restaurants are sent to. Whoever owns this is laughing at all of us morons who are buying into it. But then again, there are so many morons who get off on this crap. As I was hurrying for the exit, two polished pretty boys who had come for the bar, commented on how good the food menu looked. Well, if that’s you, go and enjoy yourself down your little dingy back alley. The rest of London is better off without you. None of this is an exaggeration. Don’t go. It is without a doubt the worst meal I have ever paid for.

1/10 (££££)

Dingy back alley near Selfridges,W1H 6HL
Hotel Chantelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Similar Restaurants: STKNobu Berkeley Street

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Blacklock

A couple of weeks ago a 2 hour queue up the stairs and out the door put me off venturing into this new Soho pit. If it wasn’t for social media you’d never know this restaurant existed. There’s a non-descript door, nothing else to tell you this is a restaurant. But social media does exist, and so if you don’t want to queue you have to turn up at an unsociable hour to guarantee a table.

Everything in the restaurant is bang on trend- paired back brick walls, uncomfortable wooden school chairs, a minimalist food menu, a choice of ‘craft’ beers that you’ve never heard of unless you’re a bearded tosser who grows your own hops…you know the type of place. Blacklock offers chops. Nothing else. At least you don’t have to waste time reading the menu. Chops it was then. The All In option at £20 a head gives you beef, pork and lamb, along with a ‘starter’ if it can really be called that. 6 uninspiring little crackers come on a plate- egg and anchovy, cheese and pickle and ‘filthy’ ham. They are what I would imagine an amuse-bouche from Iceland would taste and look like. They might as well do away with them.

Next up is the plate of chops with a couple strips of bread underneath soaking up all those meaty juices, which turned out to be the best bit. What more can be said other than they were simply done, tasty chops. Plenty of fat, plenty of flavour. A bit too heavy on the salt, but then at £5 a cocktail who cares if it forces you to drink more. The sides of kale with parmesan and burnt baby gems were tiny, were not half as good as they sounded. Too small and a bit bland. We threw a 10 hour ash roasted sweet potato- which is basically burnt sweet potato with its flavour cooked out of it- what’s wrong with thirty minutes in the fucking oven? The small pot of chilli hollandaise was bloody tasty but only enough to lather one chop.

For dessert it was white chocolate cheesecake with rhubarb. No complaints here. Just like in Chicken Shop with the world’s best apple pie, they slap it in your bowls from a huge dish. Means you get a nice big helping. This was probably the high point of the meal.

Overall it felt like a bit of a let down. All the hype and queues had made me expect great things. I’d hoped for a big hearty meaty meal. Instead it was some Riveta crackers and some decent chops. Maybe the hype has already died down a bit, as although it was full, there was no queue when we left at 7.30. It just feels like it is trying far too hard to be individual. They can keep the chops, but a little more attention elsewhere on the menu wouldn’t go amiss. The bill came to £75 for the two of us, with a couple of cocktails and a couple of too hoppy pale ales- not exactly expensive for the area, but it didn’t make me want to rush back.

6/10

 

24 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LG

 

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Leong’s Legends

We knock, a bolt slides open and a face appears behind the crack of the door and tells us to wait outside until a table is free. The door then closes again and the bolt slides shut. I’ve witnessed this door policy at the nearby up-their-own-arse cocktail bars Opium and Experimental Cocktail Club, but never at a fairly run-of-the-mill restaurant bang in the middle of Chinatown. If I hadn’t found it so strange and funny, I’d probably have seen it as just about the least welcoming introduction to a restaurant I’ve had. Fortunately the wait was only a couple of minutes and we were soon seated with a steaming pot of Chinese tea in the tasteful (for Chinatown) and warm surroundings, studying the intriguing Taiwanese influenced menu, which to my delight me was heavily pork centred. Today we were a little safe, as with a throbbing hangover, as delicious as pig’s liver or intestines with plenty of chilli may sound, I needed something a little more easy going. But for those more adventurous eaters there’s plenty to get excited by here.

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The glutenous rice was packed with chicken, mushrooms and chestnuts and egg, something a lot of restaurants hold back on. The only complaint was that it was a little too glutenous, which would be my one complaint about the majority of the dishes.

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The braised pork belly with rice (£6.50) flaked away at the prod from the chopstick and the meaty sauce it was in was intensely porky. This was definitely the star of the show and a great sized portion for this price.

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The vermicelli with taro and preserved vegetables (£7) lacked a depth of flavour and was a little bland. It needed some soy or fish sauce to get over the gingery flavour and give it a salty kick. I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture of the taro either, and combined with their colour, I couldn’t help but feel like I was chewing on boiled fingers.

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The little turnip puffs (£3.80) had plenty of crunch and a good filling of piping hot turnip. They could have done with a dip though, even a bit of soy sauce on the table would have done.

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Then there was the pork buns (£3.80) which were big old things with a coating of sesame seeds giving a little texture. The pork inside had been minced with vegetables and

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The Leong Xiao Long Bao (£6.50) are 8 generously filled pork dumplings with an exploding centre of minced pork and juice. Not knowing this, the first one of course burst all of my chin, so approach with caution, they are bloody hot. With a dip in the vinegar, which gives that needed sharpness, these really are enjoyable and you again get plenty for your money.

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The service was a little hard to get the attention of any waiters, but the same can be said for the rest of Chinatown, so I don’t want to single Leong’s Legend out. What really makes this a hit is its value for money, as we had our fill four under £18 a head each with service, and all of the dishes were tasty and hearty. The Taiwanese influence also makes a pleasant change from the same old Chinese-English food that you’ll find at many of the other places in the area, so if you fancy giving your taste-buds a try of something new, without straying too far from familiar ground, then I’d highly recommend this place.

Food: 7/10

Service: 5/10

Atmosphere: 7.5/10

Value: 9/10

Overall: 7.5/10

4 Macclesfield St, Chinatown, London

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Leong's Legends on Urbanspoon

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