We went there on the first Sunday after Chinese New Year, traditionally one of the busiest days for Chinese restaurants. We did indeed have to wait, around 30 minutes or so. I've actually been to Yi-Ban before so I have a general idea however this time I was slightly disappointed. Service was attentive as always and the surroundings were lovely and for some reason watching planes take off has its' own charm. Yi-Ban gives off the impression of being rather exclusive even though it's a normal Chinese restaurant. I think the location of it is a huge contributing factor. The fact that you have to drive past a decent hotel and down a small road as well as being located inside the London Regatta Centre makes the whole experience quite odd.
However with this trip to Yi-Ban I found myself unfulfilled. Yi-Ban usually has an air of chicness and elegance but the place sounded like a Chinese market and I on that visit, for some reason, there were no planes taking off - it had lost it's glamour! Anyway onto the food we ordered the Crab Meat and Shark Fin Dumplings, Chicken and Mushroom steamed rice, Seaweed King Prawn Rolls, Scallop Cheung Fun, Shanghai Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) and Pork and Crab Dumplings (Xiao Mai). The food wasn't bad but everything was quite bland, there wasn't anything that tasted great. The crab meat and shark fin dumplings weren't too my taste and the pastry was very sticky. The chicken and mushroom rice was ok but yet again quite bland. The seaweed king prawn rolls were basically battered king prawns stuffed into seaweed, not that amazing really. The scallop cheung fun tasted decent, the scallops were soft and spongy and the pastry was smooth but yet again I have no recollection of its' taste. The shanghai dumplings were ok, the soup was lovely but they looked, and probably were, from frozen. Finally the Pork and Crab Dumplings were average, there were a lot of chewy bits in the pork.
6 dishes for £23~, not bad. Overall I didn't enjoy my visit this time to Yi-Ban but I do like the place. I would go back but I'd be wary about it next time.