I’ve read quite a few posts on ‘the best dim sum in London’ as of late, mostly from Mr Noodles, who is a far better judge of Cantonese quality than I could ever be. So when I read his review of Phoenix Palace, and it pretty much matched up with my opinions of the Baker Street mainstay, I felt proud!
The first I had heard of Phoenix Palace, however, was from a couple of my oldest and dearest friends in London. Despite their living in nearly an hour away Bow, they try to make it out to the Palace as much as they can. They also told me that they love it so much that if I didn’t like it, I was not allowed to write a review, so I guess you can see by the nature of you reading this that I did indeed enjoy our meal.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, four of us settled in with dim sum menus and an appetite the size of The Shard – and for all the food we ordered, we needed it. In fact, we ordered so much food, I couldn’t even begin to write about all of it. Instead I will give you the highlights.
Steamed Wasabi Prawn Buns (£3.80) were nose-sniffiingly fun:
The Prawn Cheung Fun (£4.40) was silky and perfectly cooked. I enjoyed it more than the Minced Chicken (£3.60) filling, which actually had more shiitake mushrooms in it than chicken.
The Mini Onion Pancakes (£2.80) were surprising. While we expected (and in my case, wanted) more an actual pancake, these pastry-based morsels were actually quite nice.
Only disappointment was the Mini Ribs in Black Bean Sauce (£2.80) though this is probably our fault as not being experts in Cantonese cuisine. The black bean sauce was too brothy, and the ribs were designed more to suck on than to actually eat. It’s not what we were looking for.
The Beef Ball Dumplings (£2.80) were tender and full of spring onions – a very complementary flavour.
For a bit of health, we ordered a side of Pak Choy (£11.80), which was excellent, but a total rip-off at nearly £12. Seriously – £12 for vegetables. Ridiculous.
And for something a bit more substantial and not at all healthy – the Crispy Beef with Chili (£9.80) which even while delivered lukewarm was excellent. Nice presentation too.
In addition to all of this (and trust me, we got more than one of each dish), we also had Spring Rolls, Minced Pork Dumplings, Gyoza and some very excellent Char Sui Buns, which all lived up to expectations.
And while I’m by no means a dim sum aficionado, I know good when I eat it, and Phoenix Palace is good. Plus, for four of us eating our weight and having a few beers, we paid about £16 a head with service. An excellent deal.
And if you go, don’t be put off by the tacky decor and the crazy ‘Celebs who have eaten here’ mural – it’s all part of the charm.