Phoenix Palace

It seems fitting that when you feast on dim sum you do so in palatial surroundings. I have dumplinged it up at Dragon Palace, slummed it at Royal China, and now I have made it to the next ritzily titled restaurant on my dim sum hit list, Phoenix Palace. I see a theme developing here where the quality of the dim sum rises with the opulence of the restaurant name. The location of Phoenix Palace may be a nondescript through road next to Baker street tube but the the interior does its best to live up to the restaurants moniker. The decoration hails from the school of Chinese bling with huge gold dragons arching their backs menacingly next to red carved wooden chairs and heavy lacquered screens. Just my type of place.

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Har gau

The lanterns and dragons all added a sense of occasion to the important ceremony of Sunday dim sum (or yum cha if you want to be technically correct in these things). A big group of us gathered at Dragon Palace for my friend Alina’s birthday allowing us to be complete gluttons in ordering. Which is of course completely the point of dim sum and totally in keeping with the decadence of eating in not just a dim sum restaurant, but a dim sum PALACE.
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Special of chicken and ginger dumplings – hand modeling courtesy of BJ
Our selection of tasty morsels started with the har gao prawn dumplings (£3.20) whose pliant, thin skin was stretched over plump, juicy prawns. The Shanghai pork dumplings (£2.80) erred on the stodgy side but off the specials list, the chicken and ginger dumpling (£3.20) was a revelation. Subtly flavoured with a delicate, translucent skin the dumplings were adorned with two peas making the them look a little like the dim sum version of ET.
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Turnip cake (there were actually six servings on the plate but I was a bit late with my camera)

Turnip cake was just on the sticky edge of crispness and nice pieces of sausage flecked through while cheung fun with scallops (£4.80) were satisfyingly squidgy and slippery
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Char siu bao

Delicately steamed char siu bao barbecued pork buns (£2.80) were a joy, filled with sweet and moreish pork while barbecued pork puff pastries (£2.80) continued in the porky barbecue theme. Another must pick was the spicy baby octopus (£3.80) which featured pliant octopus with a gentle chilli burn.
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Mini onion pancakes

Mini onion pancakes (£2.80) were actually not pancakes at all but did not suffer from this confusion. The crisp, pastry balls were stuffed with tasty diced spring onion.
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Suckling pig

Barbecue suckling pig (£12) revealed tender moist pork beneath the crunchy skin.
The only misfire was the crispy duck (£20) which erred on the dry side which no amount of addictive plum sauce, scallions and pancakes could compensate for.

The palatial feeling ended with the service which was stretched at times and could at best be described as brusquely efficient. Still, I think there is much to love about Phoenix Palace and I would rate it up there with my favourite dim sum experiences in London. Perhaps I am onto something with my theory about the extravagance of the name being in correlation to the quality of the dim sum.

Essentials
Details: Phoenix Palace, 5 Glentworth Street, Marylebone NW1 5PG (Ph 020 7486 3515) Tube: Baker Street
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill came to £25 a head but we ordered a ridiculous amount of food.
8/10
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of dim sum at Dragon Palace or at Yauatcha. Phoenix Palace on Urbanspoon
Posted by: on March 23rd, 2011     10 Comments »

Category: NW1, Restaurants - Chinese
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10 Comments on “Phoenix Palace”

  1. Mr Noodles said at 8:06 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    I’m glad you like PP – it’s one of my favourite restaurants in London.

    I love the specials here, especially the suckling pig. Not everything works – as you found out the hard way, the Shanghai dumplings (xiao long bao) aren’t very good – but most of the dim sum is as good as it gets in London.

    BTE – it’s just as good for dinner. If anything, the atmosphere is even better when the lights are dimmed!

  2. Emily said at 9:47 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    The best looking dim sum I’ve ever seen! Thanks:) x LondonZest

  3. Nancy said at 10:06 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    Jeez louise, I’ve just looked at this and decided I have to go TONIGHT. I live in NW1 so it’s just a bike ride away :) Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. Campariandsoda said at 11:14 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    Great post! Looks alot better than chinatown’s “cheap eats” and 25 quid for that standard is incredible!
    Will have to try it out!

  5. London Lady said at 3:40 pm on March 23rd, 2011:

    This does look fantastic and I like that I dont have to fight the Chinatown crowds to get it.

  6. Amber said at 5:19 pm on March 23rd, 2011:

    Really, if you haven’t yet, but want a hearty, gorgeous Chinese dim sum meal: go to New World London. It’s fab.

  7. An American in London said at 5:28 pm on March 23rd, 2011:

    On an older friend’s recommendation, I went to PP a few times when I first moved to London (5+ years ago), and had pretty unimpressive experiences (the flavorless/soup-less xiao long bao were the least of the problem). At the time, I thought perhaps PP had already past its glory days.

    But I’ve been meaning to re-check it out since Mr. Noodles champions the place, and now you, too. Will get there asap and glad to hear you had an excellent dim sum outing.

  8. Ute@HungryinLondon said at 6:50 pm on March 23rd, 2011:

    Looks beautiful, particularly the ones with the peas, very cute! another one of my 2011 to do list which I haven’t managed to go to yet, really seems to have missed out…

  9. Hanna @ Swedish Meatball said at 9:14 pm on March 24th, 2011:

    Your descriptions of the surroundings are making me giggle! Also, food looks good, especially the alien dumplings.

  10. Gourmet Chick said at 9:35 am on March 25th, 2011:

    Mr Noodles – It had been on my wish list ever since you recommended it to me so it was very lucky for me that my friend organised to have her birthday there. She goes regularly and swears by it.

    Emily – They were quite pretty

    Nancy – Hope you got there!

    Campari and Soda – You could easily get in and out for £15 – £20 a head if you did not over order on food and didn’t order booze (both of which we did).

    LondonLady – Always a plus

    Amber – Thanks for the tip I will try to check it out

    American in London – Interested to hear what you think, I must say I avoided ordering the XLB since I had heard they were not so good. I think for the prices it is a great dim sum option.

    Ute – It was on my to do list as well – good to tick one off!

    Hanna – The ET dumplings were a highlight I must admit.


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