I would like to share a brand new addition to London’s ever improving restaurant scene. This addition is the rather good Shikumen.
A quick look at their website reveals that Shikumen translates to “stone gate” and is a colonial style of arched architecture unique to Shanghai which apparently was de rigueur for the city in the 40s.
Upon arrival you are greeted by a friendly reception desk which can make you feel as though you have arrived at the nearby Dorsett hotel. Fear not, you are soon put straight and whisked into the restaurant by their efficient staff.
When inside there is a bar area with an impressive solid table carved from a single tree and a 40’s style gramophone. The restaurant itself is very large and spacious with an overall modern feel whilst displaying provincial artworks and for such a large restaurant the main central restaurant floor itself can feel more intimate than expected due to a clever use of a lowered floor.
My guest and I ordered a wide selection of dim sum from the menu which we were pleased to hear are all handmade along with some congee soup and tea.
Our favourites were the Cheung Fun wrapped around fried dough with was a delicious combination of soft and crunchy with a salty soy dressing, the Tianjin Goubuli Bun that featured the obligatory 18 folds (noted attention to detail) and the Chicken Taro Croquettes that had an unusual look and texture due to the taro that explodes as it hits the oil. All brilliant, all fresh and the ingredients were really top notch. Whoever is sourcing is doing a good job.
The dessert was almost the highlight of the meal. We opted for the Ginger Tea with Dumpling that we were advised wasn’t to Western tastes and all the more reason to try it in my opinion! (having said that the last time I did that it was duck’s tongue in a Thai restaurant which was as bad as it sounds). The soup consists of quite a strong hot sweet ginger consommé like broth extracted from pulping and steeping fresh ginger which must be able to cure a cold all by itself. Floating in the soup were three small soft white dumplings filled with black sesame seeds. The combination of ginger, soft dough and crunchy seeds was an absolute joy to eat and a brilliant stomach-settler.
In my opinion you will not be able to find better quality Dim Sum or Chinese dishes in London for this price.
Cost of two courses with tea and a cocktail:
£25 per person.
9 out of 10 – the ingredients shone and a peek into the kitchen showed an army of specialist Chefs.
7 out of 10 – early days yet but the restaurant will be full soon.
9 out of 10 – very efficient and courteous.
9 out of 10 – will be returning frequently.
Summary in seven:
One of London’s best dim sum options.
The Shikumen Website
Shikumen Shepherd’s Bush, Dorsett Hotel, 58 Shepherd’s Bush Green, London, W12 8QE.
Open: Mon to Sat: 12:00 to 23:00 / Sunday 11:30 to 23:00.
Tel: 020 8749 9978
Book Online: http://www.shikumen.co.uk/shepherds-bush/book-online/