Dumplings’ Legend, Gerrard Street – Dumplings’ Legend’s exterior is painted in clean white paint. A huge glass display, flaunting the places’ diners, of which Dumplings’ Legend is certainly not lacking. Or, so it appears. A clever business move. No surprises at all that chinese restaurants on Gerrard Street faces great competition.
Dumplings’ Legend is owned by the same group that runs Leong Legend (Taiwanese food), Golden Harvest (Chinese), Empress of Sichuan (Sichuan) and Sushi Ga Ga (Japanese) within London Chinatown and, I believe, Goldfish (Chinese) in Hampstead. Dumplings’ Legend seem to include a combination of Asian dishes, unlike the specific cuisines which the others undertook.Apart from dim sum (only until 1700 hours), Dumplings’ Legend’s a la carte menu includes popular dishes from Malaysia (Nyonya) and Singapore, using ingredients popular in Japanese cuisine and most Taiwan and Chinese dishes. Hmm….Inside, the entrance is spacious with the cashier counter to your left. Straight ahead are the stairs leading up to the floor above with more tables and a private room equipped with karaoke and a velvet cloth mahjong table. Toilets, on the same floor, look clean.
Ignoring the steps and heading inwards to the restaurant, to your left hand side, you see the number of chefs in a glassed-in area busily rolling, filling, wrapping and steaming the dim sums; siu long baos which is what they are known for.
Tables by the display window are not ideal. Two or three seating tables, you will spend time scuttling and moving dishes around the table making sure there is space for the variety of dishes was ordered. It is ideal if you have a one dish meal. However, in an Asian restaurant like Dumplings’ Legend, it is rather unlikely.
This write up on Dumplings’ Legend is on dim sum. It is rather unusual, but after placing our orders, only did I realised that the dim sums were mostly steamed. Hence, note: when you go for dim sum, you want a variety; steamed, deep-fried, pan-fried, grilled and baked. If you want to know how to order a variety, here, Helen has a good write up and advice if you are clueless. To make it easier, take me along!
“Thousand-Year-Old” egg with chilli, GBP 4.00 – perhaps it should be left on the menu as it sounded interesting. The sauce is watery and does not hold any substance or complimented the egg. Was this just an experiment?
chive dumplings, GBP 2.30 – yes, lots of chives but lacking in fragrance.
pork and crabmeat siu long bao, GBP 6.50 – pastry was thick and the filling a little tough and dry.
crystal prawn dumpling, GBP 2.50 – mediocre.
spicy duck dumplings, GBP 2.50 – shredded duck meat with the over-powering ginger flavour. Another dish that sounded better on the menu. A variation from the norm of a dim sum dish. Another experiment?
cheung-fun with pork liver, ginger and spring onion, GBP 3.00 – another invention, I believe, of the chef. The cheung-fun is silky, a nice texture, but the filling is somewhat cloying.
minced pork noodles in soya bean paste, GBP 4.00 – cucumbers were not as finely julienned. Slightly too long slices that you will inevitably smear and spalsh yourself with the sauce all over your mouth each time you have a mouthful. You have to give a good stir and mix well with this dish. The rice noodles beneath that are stuck together when you try to mix them, suggest that the noodles might have been sitting for a while before serving. One word for this dish = messy.
Service was shameful. The “hello” and “welcome” words were used but with no significance. They might as well install an automated sensor welcome device at the entrance. Followed by the waitress who ordered us to a table, with a response of a reluctant shrug as I took preference to another table than the one she had picked. We were treated to a lecture when we politely requested to remove the discretionary service charge; told that a discretionary charge was at the discretion of the manager rather than the diner! Judging by their response, I wondered if it was I that had behaved in a deplorable manner. Ouch, now, that hurts!
To call it a “Good enough meal” would just be pure sarcasm. Dishes which they are supposed to be well known for were not at all impressive, while the other unusual combinations just seemed like thoughtless whimsical acts. A somewhat below average meal that turned out to a bitter experience, for me. Glad they could afford to be high-and-mighty, but sadly with no grace.
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