So recently, I celebrated my 24th Birthday with 4 consecutive days of eating food. But of course, my family had to indulge in the Sunday tradition of Yum Cha aka dim sum.
This year we thought we would try something different. My auntie recommended Yi- Ban, located in London’s Docklands. I have to admit, when I first pulled into the parking space I was not impressed at all. Located in an old warehouse it’s facade does it no favours nor did the paper sign that directed customers to the entrance. However, once you ascend the staircase and enter the restaurant it isn’t hard to understand why many people choose to hold parties and weddings here. Never, judge a book by its cover. (I borrowed an image from their site, to give an idea of its view during the day.)
Once you enter the restaurant, the hustle and bustle of Sunday dim sum kicks in. There are packed tables of families and friends. Large groups with at least 10 people are enjoying all the dumplings Yi Ban has to offer.
So let’s get to the important stuff, the food and how it compares to Lotus. If I am honest both these places are very similar in what they serve and do. As per usual, we order a vast array of dishes to satisfy our rumbling bellies. Even Anais claimed she was “1000 times hungry”, which meant she was super – super hungry!
These images which I captured on my new One Plus One mobile, shows we ordered a magnitude of dishes! How did it compare to Lotus I hear you ask? Well, I have to say it depended on the dish. For example the fried taro (yam) has a more flavoursome taste in Lotus. It just seemed that the filling lacked a little something extra. Likewise another fried dumpling we ate (to the right of the squid) was disappointing. The outer shell was crisp and sweet, and I was expecting the filling to contrast this with its salty taste. Yet, there was not enough of the filling at all. Mentioning the fried squid, it isn’t worth getting. It has to be one of the worse fried squids I have ever eaten. It reminded me of the batter I’d eat down my chippie, Not something I would want at a Dim Sum meal. Just looking at the dish itself, it doesn’t look that appetizing right?
Cheung fun -this dish I believe is far better at Lotus. The rice noodle was not consistent, sometimes it was thick and other times it was thin. However, Yi Ban isn’t all bad. They do have some great additions to their menu. For example, one favourite of ours, the xiao long bao. What is this you ask? They are the most delicious meat and soup filled dumplings. The fun yet tricky part is eating them without losing the precious soup inside! So the question is, how do you eat them? My trick is to place your dumpling on your spoon and nibble the top of the dumpling. It is at this point where you can drink all that precious soup and then throw the whole dumpling in your mouth!
But which wins the war? I have to say Lotus. Perhaps I am being bias here, but Yi Ban on that day just did not live up to what I am use to. However, I would be willing to go back there to see if it has improved…..