My friend Thomas hates Queensway. While I no longer waste such a strong emotion on things I don’t like, I would have to agree, that with the brief exception of Royal China and bits of Whiteleys, Queensway is quite the waste of Central London space. It is so sad to see so many bad restaurants, tacky stores and seedy newsagents all squashed into a potentially lovely street.
All this has changed for me ever since my meal tonight at Dim Sum Diner. A chance look at a review on Twitter brought me here this evening. While most reviews liken it to a hip, Soho-esque restaurant I thought it was more canteen than diner (but that doesn’t lend itself as well to the alliteration I suppose). I’m not sure how old it is, whether the owners have one or none other restaurants, or where the chef came from. The servers were perfectly pleasant but really in no mood for any kind of chat (see, canteen not diner). The room was quiet tonight. Bare walls, bare tables and a bare floor will no doubt help towards the ruckus when this room fills up. Which indeed it should, for Dim Sum Diner is a truly fantastic find on a truly horrible street. I almost cannot believe that a place that serves such perfect XO scallop dim sum (£3.80) is a seven minute walk from home.
I ordered far too much, but this menu will do that to you (all mains £3.80, all sides £2.50).
- Prawn crackers – a mountain arrives and I get started dipping them in the four beautiful sauces made in the Dim Sum Diner’s kitchen – red chilli, green chilli and mint (loved it so much I had to bring some home), seafood and mustard. I could have very easily made a meal of this!
- Crispy spinach – light as air with a hint of sugar.
- Shanghai pork xiao long bao – I’m thrilled to see this yumcha staple on a dinner menu! The pork is succulent and beautifully seasoned but unfortunately the soup had spilled out of the dumplings before my chopsticks went anywhere near them. While this did take away some of their fun for me, I will no doubt return for more.
- Barbeque pork puff roll – this just melted in my mouth. Wow.
- Teriyaki beef flank fried rice – if you like Teriyaki sauce this dish is an absolute winner. The meat is faultless and served on a bed of rice.
If I could eat with my eyes I would have also ordered the Guinness crab meat dumplings, cuttlefish cake, dan dan noodles, aubergine in black bean and sautéed garlic green beans. And then there is a cute ‘Diner’ section featuring the likes of dim sum hot dogs. And dessert! Not tonight alas.
I honestly cannot believe my luck – I no longer have to trudge across the yuckiness of Leicester Square to satisfy my dim sum cravings! Some call it luck, others a coincidence. I am however convinced that the Universe conspires in wondrous ways to set you down a path of discovery… A ‘random’ review of a restaurant at your doorstep, an ‘accidental’ conversation on a flight between two continents, a ‘chance’ meeting with a stranger who could change your life.