Phoenix Palace, Marylebone, London
It’s been such a while since my last yum cha experience, so I looked towards our reservation at Phoenix Palace in Marylebone with much delight. A restaurant that resembles the generic setting of a typical kung fu movie, but it leaves a last impacting in terms of the food. Service leaves a bit to be to desired, but as far as yum cha, goes Phoenix Palace does pack a punch.
Yum cha weekend
I don’t head towards Marylebone too often, it always strikes me as one of those too fancy sides of London. Luckily I can afford to get to the Baker Street Tube station, that doesn’t discriminate. Oh, and there’s a statue of Sherlock Holmes right there. Tourist mode. And around the corner you’ll find dim sum and all round Chinese restaurant Phoenix Palace. You won’t find those loveable metal trolleys. You will find the standard issue yum cha, at only slightly inflated prices.
It’s an experience that takes some time and is well worth it for the pleasant ambience alone. To me, the excessive lanterns feels cheesy, but the crowd is made up of locals and the food is authentic. We dined on quite a range of things over our three (almost four!) hours here. Due to the lack of trolleys, the service works by filling out a sheet on what you would like. The theatre of the frantic lunchtime yum cha is removed, and in some ways, so is the fun. Service was average over our time, had to ask three times for water and generally hard to get a hold of the staff.
Dumplings and dim sum
None of the food blew me away, but it was all of a very good quality and the consistency is there. I love the rice rolls, but would have preferred if the zhaliang (fried dough wrapped in rice roll) came with the hoisin or sesame paste that it traditionally comes with. The pork ones were quite good, as were all the actual dim sums. At about £5 per dish/ plate it’s quite a bit more expensive than the ones back home. The tea costing £9.20 for the four of us (but then, it was unlimited so it was kind of okay). Other things I ate and liked: the radish cake, the taro dumplings. All very enjoyable.
An afternoon experience
I wasn’t such a big fan of the sesame dessert. The inside differed in consistency and it tasted not-how-I-expected. The egg tart and the coconut pudding were delicious, but at very small portions. Overall I was (and we were) happy with the experience at Phoenix Palace. It gave me little taste of home for me in a way, and it did this well. Also it’s a great place to spend a long time. The staff don’t hurry you out, so you can make the most of the tea and the company.