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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Dim Sum Den!

Discounting the swathes of taramasalata on butter-drenched toast, or every inch of the worlds cheese on a sweet Digestive biscuit and the suchlike, one of my all time favourite snack foods would have to be dim sum and if I could make them at home, I would positively be in trouble. Much like the addictive canapé, dim sum incessantly serve to deceive you with their miniature allure - I can devour 3 mini pork buns before lids on the dim sum baskets have even been lifted, and before I know it, I've inhaled more than the average 2-course meal! It's only my minuscule sense of social decorum that prevents me from blatantly scoffing everyone else's portion too I'm afraid. Anyways, if you muddle all of that bite-sized joy with a bulging cocktail menu in Chinatown, you will get to Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour.

Located on Gerrard Street, behind an unassuming open door (given away by the mildly conspicuous doorman lurking outside of it), you will find 3 floors of darkened sanctuary. Climbing up the stairs, smothered in incense smoke, spirits are decanted into old apothecary bottles and cocktails are served with associated twists in The Apothecary (a far brighter dining environment that the remainder of the venue), while the Den is a perfect private dining room, tucked away around a corner and on a split level and more dimly lit, making it feel like you're in an old school smoking lounge. The Tea Parlour on Level 3 rejoices in a sumptuous selection of tea atop of the staple cocktails and dim sum on offer; it's romantic lighting and comfy chairs, coupled with cosy corners and relaxed buzz, this is my favourite spot! Note that there is no formal dining table in this place, rather only small tea-tray type centre pieces - perfectly adequate for what you need because this is a parlour afterall, not a restaurant per see (did you not read the sign?!).

Wishing I could order at least two of everything from the menu, I again succumbed to social etiquette by ordering only one Dim Sum Platter (£16), but with the extra single baskets of Cantonese Barbeque Pork Buns (£6), Pork & Prawn Dumplings (£6.50), and King Prawn Dumplings (£7), perhaps this is still a lot between 3 girls! Now, this is not the cheapest venture I've had into dim sum, but for the mildly secretive location, the scented ambient décor and inventive concept, I'll hold my tongue and prepare the plastic! That said though, not unlike any other establishment of its kind, you could definitely eat here without breaking the bank if you stay sober and opt for one of the many wonderful teas. If however, you eat while guzzling cocktails (like me), be prepared to have your bank manager on speed dial as you flex said plastic! With cocktails ranging from £10.50 to £18, you should probably sip instead of swim, but despite the prices, each glass is a lovingly prepared and well invented concoction, some admittedly more theatrical and flamboyant than others, but all undoubtedly tasty.

My only minor point about this place is that while the staff were super friendly and never slow to produce, they could've checked in on us a touch more regularly. Noone wants to be bothered every 5 minutes, but my glass was empty more than once without anyone thinking to ask me if I wanted a top up and while I'm not sure I wanted my purse to be pillaged further, I certainly didn't want to go dry (I'm British afterall!). Aside from this tiny gripe, I loved it the first time and continue to love it!

Squaremeal Blogger of the Week - Restaurant Guide Square Meal Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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