London: dim sum at Grand Imperial

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Luckily all my friends appreciate good food, but out of them Gaby is definitely my dim sum buddy! Last time we went for dim sum she introduced me to a new restaurant, and one of her favourites; the  Grand Imperial at The Grosvenor Hotel just next to Victoria Station.

We ordered most of their dim sum menu; xialong bao, pork buns, scallop dumplings and prawn dumplings, duck spring rolls with hoisin sauce and the most amazing turnip cake.

All the dishes were really nice and very authentic. Although it lacks the bustle of China Town, which I find charming, it’s very authentic yet more upmarket without being expensive.

Grand Imperial, The Grosvenor Hotel, 101 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 0SJ

Dinner at Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong

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I hadn’t actually planned to stop in Hong Kong on this trip, but since I needed to fly via either Singapore or Hong Kong I thought it would be fun to at least spend a day here. And you actually get to see a lot in 24 hours!

I travelled with my friend Rowena and as she’d been to Hong Kong before we took it quite easy sightseeing-wise but still managed to tick off taking the Star Ferry to Kowloon, seeing the light show, walking around the Causeway Bay area and the skyscrapers in Central.

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We also had dinner at Din Tai Fung in Kowloon, which both my blog colleague Elin and my friend Mattias had recommended. Located in a shopping centre and a first come first serve system I wouldn’t have found the restaurant without a recommendation. While we waited for a table, only ten minutes or so, we studied the menu and filled out the menu card with our order. Very efficient!

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We ordered a fairly eclectic selection from the menu, like the blanched Chinese cabbage to get our greens…

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… and these steamed shrimps. Both dishes were a little blander than we expected. It was more a heap of shrimp or veg than an actual put-together dish.

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But the dumplings were really good! Especially these with pork and black truffle were delicious! We also had some pork and prawn dumplings (that didn’t get caught on camera), and they were great too.

hk12The chicken in chilli sauce was nice tasting but had a lot of fat and cartilage left on it, so wasn’t great.

After we had finished our meal we were surrounded by Chinese people at the tables near us and watching what they had, which looked a lot better than our selection bar the dumplings, we were a little jealous. But I still couldn’t help but think that we actually have some pretty amazing dim sum in London too, at Yauatcha for example. I think I had expected a bigger difference and wasn’t that blown away, sadly.

After dinner we took the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island and had drinks in Lan Kwai Fong, the bar district that make London’s Soho look well-behaved! It was lots of fun though and the next day we made our way to the airport only to find out our flight was overbooked, so we had to stay an extra night in the city before going to Cambodia the next day.

Din Tai Fung, Shop 306, 3/F, Silvercord, 30 Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Dinner at Yauatcha, Soho

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Sometimes when I meet my friends in groups of four, especially in a bustling restaurant or bar it feels like I’m part of Sex and the City. Partly probably because we talk a lot about men, but also because the surroundings fit. One Michelin-starred Yauatcha could have been in New York, it’s that type of vibe. And sitting there with four Americans, it’s easy to pretend. It was high pace, lots of chatter, cocktails and dim sum.

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We ordered quite a few dim sum dishes to share, here some steamed dumplings with pork and prawn and Chinese chives and prawn. I absolutely adore steamed dumplings and these were amazing!

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The crispy spring rolls with mushrooms and black truffle was another favourite. The cheung fun to the right was also really good, I think they were filled with pork (char siu).

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These pan-fried dumplings with chicken were also really nice. Although my favourites are the steamed dumplings but I like to change it up texture wise too.

y8y10The crispy duck rolls were basically Peking duck as dim sum; stuffed with crispy aromatic duck and spring onions and dipped in hoisin sauce. Delicious!
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My absolute favourite of the evening was the steamed dumplings with lobster, tobiko caviar, ginger and shallots. So good!

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I always order turnip cake when in a Chinese restaurant and this was definitely the best one I’ve ever had. It was soft and almost fluffy and sprinkled with chives.

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The others were almost fighting over the squid with chilli, oats and curry leaves but I wasn’t a huge fan. I love squid and it was well-cooked (crispy topping, soft fish) but I think it was the addition of the oats that didn’t appeal to me.

We only had (although quite a lot of it) dim sum, but there are plenty of main courses and puddings to chose from too. The restaurant feels very cosmopolitan and lively and the kitchen definitely deserves its star. The lower ground floor is a bit quieter if one’s not in the mood for the hustle and bustle.

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DL