We’re always after the spice. The hot, fiery, the so hot it’s almost cold spice. So when we heard that the northern Chinese street food-inspired restaurant that serves all day dim sum (YAS!) with Sichuan and Hunan influences had a new menu, we had to get in. And not only did we get in once, but we went in twice in one week, it was that good.
Set on Romilly Street, this truly is a Soho haunt. Get a ground floor table and watch the world go by. Buzzy and cosy, you can be quick in here, but we bet you’ll linger, adding to your order as you go along.
The food and drink
Known for their (naturally) colourful dumplings, you can’t come here without trying some; we loved the watercress prawn dumplings in a turmeric spice pastry and ruby prawn dumplings in beetroot pastry. Other highlights included the perfectly cooked asparagus with XO (they were peeled), the crispy fried tofu (so lightly fried), scallops in the shell, xiao long bao soup dumplings (lavender, with minced pork and scallop in a rich broth) and wontons (pork or prawn filling). We’ll definitely be back for the chef’s king prawn with crispy noodles in garlic and ginger, grilled lobster with buttery black pepper, and a BaoziInn fried platter (including crispy oyster mushrooms, yum).
We’ve never really gotten the fuss with dan dan noodles. Now we know. The vegetarian dan dan noodles are like nothing we’ve tried before. Thin, fresh (they are hand pulled) and rich (the Sichuanese preserved yacai is unreal), with oils and additional veg, these are hot hot hot; and not an immediate hot, but the kind of hot that has a delay, so proceed with caution. We now dream of these. The prices here overall are very reasonable too – almost street food prices, but you get to sit down and be served in an atmospheric Soho haunt.
Tell them what you like, and ask for specials and suggestions.