I’m sure we’ve all had that wonderful feeling when something good happens that you weren’t expecting in the slightest. Well yesterday’s unexpected dim sum gave rise to that wonderful feeling.
I had just finished an epic journey from High Wycombe to Marylebone to Oxford Circus to Bank to Canning Town to Custom House (phew!) for my Olympic Games Maker interview (fingers crossed!) when my dad called to tell me that his meetings had been cancelled and did I want to meet up for lunch. Never one to say no to a free lunch, I made my way down to Chinatown and my brother, my dad and I found ourselves at The Golden Pagoda.
We looked at the menu and ordered the usual suspects:
- shrimp dumplings (ha gaau),
- siu maai
- cha siu baau
- Shanghainese dumplings (siu lung baau)
- rice noodle rolls (cheung fan)
- turnip cake (lou baak go)
- sweet cream buns
- egg tarts
The cha siu baau were cloud-like and fluffy, the ha gaau was well seasoned and the cheung fan delightfully slippery with large, juicy prawns inside. I was particularly impressed with the egg tarts, the one dim sum dish which tends to disappoint me the most, which presented a smooth, rich custard filling surrounded by the trademark flaky pastry. If I could pick one fault with the food we had it would be that the siu lung baau were a little dry, but this is really one small niggle in what was otherwise a very satisfying meal.
As we chatted over lunch we made comparisons with Royal China, a well-known restaurant, celebrated in dim sum-eating circles, and came to the conclusion that the dim sum at The Golden Pagoda is in many aspects ( egg tarts, cream buns and cheung fan) superior to Royal China. And in all other aspects just as good.
The dim sum dishes range in price from £1.50 to £3.50 and so you can be comfortably full on around £10 per head. If you are looking for excellent service and an up-market dining experience, this restaurant, or indeed most of the restaurants in Chinatown, is not the place for you (try Royal China instead) If, however, you are looking for affordable, good quality, authentic dim sum then head down to The Golden Pagoda where lack of service is definitely made up for in the dim sum.
The Golden Pagoda
15a Gerrard Street
Nearest station: Leicester Square