Okay, I am still truly atrocious at this whole photographing what I eat lark, which makes it not as fun for readers, when they can’t put descriptions to photographs. I promise I will get better. In the meantime, here is a really rubbish picture from Peninsula’s website. Anyway, I had been craving dim sum for far too long. In particular, the cheung fun cravings had got quite bad, and needed to be sated. This was also an attempt to wet my appetite for my trip to Shanghai and Hunan which is happening tomorrow. I know neither of these places specialise in Cantonese dim sum, but hey ho, tenuous link.
So off we went to Peninsula in North Greenwich. This restaurant is attached to Holiday Inn Express next to a roundabout on the way to the O2. Yes, classy, but appearances can be deceptive, and this definitely was. We got there at 12:15pm, and the queue was already almost snaking out of the door of the restaurant which, I have been informed, has about 400 covers. Eek. At least those 400 covers meant the line moved very quickly. Quickly enough for me to not get grouchy through lack of food. Whilst the dim sum menu is in English, the little lottery ticket style order form is not, which meant a fun game of matching menu items with numbers, but this really wasn’t that hard.
I shall try and remember everything that was ordered – and yes, we are greedy fat pigs:
Dough stick cheung fun – truly yum. Texturely, a delight. The dough stick had remained properly crisp in the middle, before giving away to that silky, gloopy texture of the cheung fun wrapper. This was probably the best thing we ate.
Char sui cheung fun – more standard, but still tasty. The char sui was not dry for a start, and the cheung fun wrappers were quite thin, so that we didn’t end up with that unpleasant chewiness you can get from overly thick cheung fun.
Steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce – I loved these. I know this is more a textural delight, and you do have to work the chicken feet round your mouth, but if you are willing to do that, you are rewarded with the wonderful savouriness you get from chicken feet.
Prawn Har Gau – pretty good. The prawns were springy and well cooked. No mushiness here. I would have preferred a bit more taste of sesame oil, but I can’t really complain.
Pork and crab sui mai – also pretty good. Well steamed, no stickiness. However, am pretty sure that wasn’t crab roe at the top.
Steamed ribs with something (sorry, can’t remember) – a bit tough, but flavour-wise, top notch.
Char sui puff things – Gosh, these were really really lovely. As soon as I had eaten mine, I could have devoured another one. Moist, tender filling, lovely puff pastry.
Meat croquettes – Also good, though stupendously hot, resulting in a bit of a case of mouth burn. The casing was well cooked and not overly greasy.
Turnip cake – very good actually, and a very generous serving. The texture was nice and springy, and there were some very tasty morsels of mushroom and sausage.
Glutinous rice in lotus leaf – a hefty portion again, but boy was this good. The big bits of chicken in particular were so very savoury and tasty. I have never encountered large bits of meat in this before, and I think I can say this is the best rendition of this that I have had.
Beef balls with greens – I thought I might not like this, due to previous encounters with leaden examples. However, these were tender and packed full of flavour. The worcestershire sauce accompaniement worked well here.
Pork and prawn wrapped in beancurd skin – I was very excited about eating this, due to my love of all things beancurd. This was good – the layers of fried beancurd came apart in an appetising manner. However, I can’t remember that much about the filling, which probably indicates it wasn’t that memorable. Or I was stupidly full by this point.
Fried creamy custard buns – by the point I came to eating this, I was feeling slightly on the full side (well, very full – full enough to be rolled out of the restaurant). So, I was feeling a bit wary about eating a deep fried pastry full of custard. However, I am so glad I did as this was stupidly good. I want one now, I’ve been thinking about this bun for days. Perfectly crisp, tasty pastry (I suspect there was lard in there somewhere), giving way to a wonderful filling of custard, which I think must have had some coconut in there as well. I could have eaten more than one. I just hope I can find some as good as these a bit closer to home or in Central London.
All this, plus tea, two fresh juices, two Tsing Tao and service came to about £50. That is £12.50 each. That is ridiculously cheap. The food was also good, and definitely a notch above many dim sum places I have frequented in the past. I still haven’t been to Pearl Liang, so can’t compare. It was also a long time ago that I went to Royal China and I can’t really remember the details. However, if you want cheap, well cooked and tasty dim sum, you could do worse than make a trip out to the Holiday Inn Express by the roundabout.
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