In the stylish streets of South Ken, where handbags are occupied by yapping dogs and sunglasses are worn for all seasons, only one major cuisine hadn’t yet been upswanked: Chinese. Enter Bo Lang, a modern dim sum spot offering small plates of modish Cantonese-with-a-twist.
Expensively decorated, the interior is ‘sexy teahouse’: dark slatted wood, low-volume Nikki Beach tunes and masses of flickering tea lights. Service was obscenely polite. Only the food showed even a tremor of weakness.
We enjoyed seeing our crimped prawn dumplings (har gau) served not in a traditional bamboo steamer but on pretty porcelain, with a sprinkling of micro herbs. But a drizzled blackberry reduction, detracting from the dish’s otherwise delicate flavour, was a step too far. Likewise, our shu mai (open dumplings) – usually filled with pork – were packed with dense minced chicken then topped with thick shavings of truffle: a gauche overkill of an interpretation.
There were glimpses of excellence: from well-made duck spring rolls to a couture version of that high-street favourite, sesame prawns on toast, with its crust of black sesame seeds and plump, juicy crustacea.
If the kitchen can ditch some of its affectations, Bo Lang may yet earn its culinary stripes. Until then, the food will play second fiddle to the fashion.