On our usual trip to Chinatown we happened to see Dumpling's Legend, a new shanghai dumplings based restaurant. I was quite intrigued by the minimalist décor and the fact that it was supposedly a dumplings speciality restaurant - as I'm a fanatic for shanghai dumplings. We went there about a week ago for dinner so my memory may be a little hazy but we ordered a chicken stew noodle soup, fried rice with scrambled egg and shrimps, juicy barbecued pork buns and the pork crab meat siu long bao. Once I saw the menu at once I was inclined to compare this to Din Tai Fung where I have been to the Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan and Seoul branches of.
My first impressions were, what a big foyer, was it necessary? You almost feel a little puzzled where you should go. We were sadly led to the quieter first floor so we couldn't see the chefs at work. The décor still very much white walls. The service was pretty poor, the floor manager was decent but the normal waiters/waitresses were rude and brash or incompetent. My dad asked for soya sauce because our pot was empty, he handed it to the waiter and he gave us the same one back without having filled it up! What? Anyway onto the food. My dad felt that the food was tasteless, I admit it wasn't a strong taste but I was ok with that, the main problem I had was that most of it was lukewarm - even the siu long bao! The noodle soup was plain to be honest, nothing of note. The fried rice was yet again lukewarm, I would have liked more "wok hei", the pork buns were a bit too small and to be honest not that good, they were acceptable but I prefer the pork buns from the small factory shop behind Gerrard Street. Finally the siu long bao, I was utterly disappointed. For a place that's called Dumpling's Legend I'd expect the siu long bao to be of a high standard or at least the best in town, the best I've tasted in London were at Imperial China. The skin was too thick and not the right texture as one of them spilled when I tried to pick it up - if made well the skin would look almost translucent and not break however clumsily you pick it up, and the filling inside was plain and to top it off the whole thing was yet again lukewarm. Basically my first impressions of this place aren't great, the price is ok at £20 odd pounds I think. I'll give it one more chance sometime in the future but I have to be honest at the moment I'm not impressed. I hear that it's part of Leong's Legend which seems to get much better reviews, so I'll probably give that a go beforehand.