13 Queensway, W2 4QJ
You can find some of London’s best Chinese food in the Queensway area – Four Seasons for roast duck; Mandarin Kitchen for lobster noodles – so it’s no surprise that this outpost of Royal China is still considered by many to be the best. The service is efficient (perhaps a bit too much so sometimes), and it’s best to come in a group so you can have the crispy duck AND all the dumplings you want.
Joy King Lau
3 Leicester Street, WC2H 7BL
Resist the urge to stick to the familiar red lanterns of Gerrard Street and veer instead towards Leicester Square, where you’ll find Joy King Lau tucked away on a relatively quiet side street. What this bi-level restaurant lacks in ambience, it more than makes up for in taste – the prawn rice rolls here are what dim sum dreams are made of.
My Neighbours The Dumplings
165 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ
If you prefer small, family-run spots, head to this dumpling house in Hackney, where everything is made on site. The menu isn’t strictly dim sum, but the menu of sharing plates (all made using local, free-range meat and sustainably sourced fish) includes classics such as siu mai, har gau, and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf. There’s also an extensive list of sake cocktails, so you can make a night of it, too.
1 Gerrard Place, W1D 5PA
If pointing and picking is an intrinsic part of the yum cha experience, rest assured that the age-old tradition is still (kind of) alive and kicking – though New World is one of the only places left in London that still operates cart service. Don’t let the trolleys bearing turnip cakes or egg tarts pass you by.
5 Glentworth St, Marylebone, NW1 5PG
Some might consider the décor here a tad OTT, but it feels authentic in that only a Chinese restaurant could pull it off. Start with egg drop soup for a (somewhat strange) traditional starter before proceeding with dumplings of every shape and variety: Shanghai pork, prawn, spinach, and even seafood dumplings served in broth.
Top 5: Dim Sum
When dumplings are all you need