Today I had lunch at a more traditional Chinese restaurant compared to my recent excursions. The Peninsula has always been one of my favourite places to eat dim sum, I think it's because the place feels authentic and the food is generally of a high standard - the fact that on Saturday and Sunday the place is always packed shows that I'm not alone in having this opinion. I would say the Peninsula is amongst the best in Greater London. Anyway back to this particular visit. It was a Monday so it wasn't packed but still quite busy for the area with a lot of Chinese diners, unexpectedly, I'd thought it be prime office hour. The place isn't masterfully decorated nor does it have the most authentic interior but whenever I step into The Peninsula it feels authentic and what I'd expect to find in a Chinese restaurant. We ordered Xiao Mai, Vietnam Spring Rolls, Scallop Cheung Fun, Chicken and Dried Meat Steamed Rice and Xiao Long Bao.
Just remembered, this would be my first dim sum since Yauatcha! Wonder how they'll compare. Well I'll tell you now I wasn't over the moon on this visit. The food was inconsistent, some things were good some weren't. The Xiao Mai was the lowlight of the meal. I have loved The Peninsula, still do, but the Xiao Mai wasn't good, it tasted fine but there were hard bits in the meat, actual hard bits which you couldn't bite into! I've had a lot of Xiao Mai which had chewy bits but to get a totally hard piece of meat is unheard of, for me anyway. For something rather basic I was disappointed that they hadn't done better. The Vietnam Spring Rolls were ok, a bit too stiff on the outside and actually one of them looked overdone. The Scallop Cheung Fun was quite nice actually, piping hot and very big, juicy and smooth. However what was of concern was that it was piping hot! But there was no steam, the fact that it was slightly on the sticky side may mean that they microwaved it at the end, or they just over steamed it. The Chicken Rice was the highlight of the meal. There was a generous helping of chicken and it was very fragrant. The rice was nice but a tad on the oily side. The Xiao Long Bao was average. The meat was nice but there was minimal amount of soup and the skin was too thick. But what I loved was that everything was hot! Ok I'm a bit OTT for wanting hot food but I just found that everything coming out hot, rather than warm, was a great sign.
I can't hide my disappointment on this particular visit, for one of my favourite dim sum places The Peninsula performed no better than an average restaurant this time, I wonder if they up their game on the weekends because I don't think I have ever been, since this visit, on a weekday. Anyway for £20.20 this was an absolute bargain. Now lets go back to the comparison with Yauatcha. Food wise The Peninsula, on this occasion, paled in comparison to Yauatcha who were consistent on all their dishes though not outstanding. Price wise £49.20 against £20.20 hmm... I have to say on this particular visit Yauatcha does tip it even though it is more than double The Peninsula, however go to the Peninsula on a weekend and I'm sure you'll get much better food - or simply go to Princess Garden or Pearl Liang to get slightly more expensive dim sum but as good as Yauatcha. I really need to go back to Pearl Liang some day before I go to uni!