New World

Restaurants , Chinese Chinatown
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 2 out of 5 stars
(9 user reviews)
1 Love It
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Having closed in 2011, New World has had a kitchen refit and is back in business. A banqueting restaurant of the old school, it’s got the lot: dining rooms over several floors; red and gold rooms adorned with hanging lanterns; and a melting pot of clientele, from tourists to entire Cantonese families. It’s also one of the only remaining places to offer a traditional dim sum trolley service, where everything from sliced roasted duck to egg custard tarts is on offer.

Cooking, however, is inconsistent. On our visit, dishes off the trolley were often tepid, or brittle: the pastry of our cheung fun fell apart on contact, though the pieces of char sui it contained were excellent. Plates from the à la carte were equally mixed: ho fun was an overcooked, starchy mass topped with beef of dubious quality, yet the crispy noodles were exceptional, seeing a base of soft chow mein with crunchy fried edges layered with a light oyster sauce and al dente pieces of Chinese broccoli, straw mushrooms and fresh (not tinned) bamboo shoots.

Service, always efficient, veered from pushy to gracious, but costs remain low, making this iconic spot still worth a punt.

Venue name: New World
Contact:
Address: 1 Gerrard Place
London
W1D 5PA
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11.45pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri; 11am-midnight Sat; 11am-11pm Sun. Dim sum served noon-6pm Mon-Fri; 11am-6pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube
Price: Main courses £7-£25. Dim sum £2.65-£13. Set meal £15.90-£23.50 per person (minimum 5). Minimum (after 6pm) £5
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Average User Rating

2.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:4
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
LeeLee
tastemaker

The reason I picked this restaurant was because I read online that on Sundays, they serve their dim sum dishes on trolleys, like the traditional way. I’ve also never seen other dim sum restaurants in London serve it this way, so I thought this would be an experience and a fun way to have our dim sum!


There were several trolleys rolling around the restaurant at any one time, all serving different types of dim sum – one had the steamed dishes, one had the deep-fried dishes and one had a couple non-dim sum dishes and desserts. The lady with the steamed items came around first and we immediately picked the Steamed Char Siew Buns and Pheonix Claws. I thought the latter was done quite well – authentic and similar to what we get back in Singapore. However the Steamed Char Siew Buns did not taste like what I was used to – they had pretty large slices of onion in them but still tasted sweet and contained pork.


Next up we had the Steamed Prawn Cheung Fun and Steamed Char Siew Cheung Fun from the lady with the other trolley. Both were pretty good! I preferred the former to the latter, as they were generous with the pieces of prawn – they were large and substantial. I found the barbecued meat in the latter one too fatty.


Another trolley came around and we grabbed some mini Egg Tarts – one of my favourite sweet items in dim sum. These were by far, the best egg tarts I’ve had at dim sum in London! The pastry on the tarts was extremely crumbly and tasty – my brother and I could taste the sugar coating on the pastry and the egg custard was not too sweet or creamy.


There were several items that we couldn’t find on the trolleys and so we just ordered them off the menu. We went for the Steamed Custard Buns (another one of my favourite sweet items), the Steamed Prawn and Chives Dumplings and the Beancurd stuffed with pork and vegetables. I was a little disappointed with the first because the custard was not hot and viscous enough – I definitely prefer the one that is mixed with salted egg yolk, as the combination of sweet and savoury is perfect. All three of us loved the second one and it was worth the wait! Our waiter told us that many people were ordering this item so we would have to wait a while but we didn’t mind – it was delicious! I didn’t try the last item as I am not a fan of beancurd and it having a soy content, I tried to avoid it.


From the non-dim sum trolley, we took a plate of Roast Duck and Steamed Kai Lan. The roast duck was pretty good – the skin was crunchy and there was quite a bit of meat on each piece (a mixture of light and dark meat). The kai lan was pretty standard too, it was drizzled with oyster sauce on top to give it some flavour.


In terms of service, everything was pretty swift and efficient since we got most of our dishes off of trolleys. Even when we ordered, the dishes did not take long to reach us (other than the popular dish of Steamed Prawn and Chives Dumplings). When we were ready to leave, it was also quick to get the bill, pay and receive change. As for the atmosphere, the inner part of the restaurant was nicely decorated with lanterns and had a nice vibe to it. However in terms of the flavour and taste of their dim sum, they were my least favourite restaurant I've tried in so far. 

Martin D

As several people have said, New World used to be THE place for dim sum. However, now (August 2016) the standards are way down. Food is pretty tasteless and seems to have been quickly microwaved. The chicken feet in black bean were watery and lacked any sort of flavour; the glutinous rice was bland.  Most of the other dim sum we had was also well below the standard we used to enjoy. There is now no trolley service on weekdays, but if the standard of food is now so poor, who cares about that loss? 


Time to find somewhere that serves the sort of dim sum that Chinese people actually enjoy, instead of this westernised lowest common denominator junk. A shame standards are slipping, but maybe it's what casual visitors want.

LoveLondon
Tastemaker

I don't like to leave negative reviews because everyone likes things different and every time a place could give you a different experience depending on your mood, change of staff, etc etc. But I have to say this place was awful. I wouldn't want anyone to come here to waste their money.

I used to come here some years ago for the dim sum, one of the last places in London that has the trolley service- it was amazing and the food used to be so delicious. But this was 5-6 years ago.


Yesterday, however, I was greatly disappointed. I went there with three friends at about 10:25pm, they rushed us to order giving only a minute to look at the menu as they were closing at 11. But then I would expect them to let us eat without rushing. This wasn't the case here. Food arrived at 10:45 and we were given literally 10 minutes to swallow everything. They kept coming back every two minutes to check if we were finished.- so in a hurry to take away our plates with food still on it. They brought us the check at 10:55 and also came back 4 times in 3 minutes to check if it was paid yet. Why take our order in the first place if you're going to treat us like this?! They even had the nerve to add a "Discretionary service charge"


And I haven't even started on the quality of food: everything tasted bland and old. The rice had been lying around at least for a few hours, some grains were so dry they shrunken to their original size. I can even describe how horrible the rest of it was. Too much corn starch and msg.


All in all, this has been the worst restaurant experience in London for me. Please believe the negative reviews below, do NOT WASTE your money coming here. 


Dana R

I was a loyal New World fan for over 20 years. Unfortunately in the last year or so, it's under new management, turned into a cross between a bank and some glitzy sterile environment. All the good staff have gone, pushed out by the ruthless new manager, and the food is not so great any longer. I wont go there again after a few bad experiences. My friends reached the same opinion independently. the best thing they could do now is to fire the new manager and get back their old world, homey charm which they have totally lost.

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

The New World is easily the best stop on Gerrard Street; to experience it at its best, head over on a Sunday for their deliciously authentic dim sum trolley service. Their har gow, (prawn dumplings) and cheong fun with char sui (rice noodles with barbecued pork) are the tastiest items on the menu, so fresh and packed with flavour. Accompany your choice of dim sum with a plate of their plain wok fried noodles. They may be simple but they have such a salty, smoky taste, you could eat a bucket full just by themselves.


With the trolleys constantly passing with new aromas every minute, the dim sum is dangerously moresih. But don't fret! The prices are so reasonable that you can stuff yourself silly for less than £15 per head; opt for the free Chinese tea, it will be that Diet Coke you order which will up your bill. 


The decor may be shabby and unchanged for years, but who really cares when the unbelievable food and the quirky service makes you feel like you have left London and transported to the Far East anyway. 

timothy w

Three generations of our family have been going to the New World for many many years. My daughter loves it and has been coming here for the trolley service dim sum since she was 12 months. Sadly I am going to give this a swerve from now on. The prices have become silly and the quality of food is no longer excusable at the prices they now charge. The ghastly carpet has given way to a faux wood floor and I actually miss the health-hazard old carpet. The decor is terrible and always has been.


The service used to be shockingly awful and rude and now is ok and comes with a smile. Shame


Sadly there are better places to go for dim sum at better prices and that makes me sad after a 20+ year relationship with this place.


So long old friend

Emile C

Most of the food we had was the dim sum from the trolley service, the food was really good, however the service was not the best. Overall would be happy to come again.

Ngoat

This is currently my favourite Dim Sum restaurant in London. Precisely because it serves from the rolling carts, it reminds me of all the dim sum that I ever enjoyed in the USA. I have had Dim Sum from a menu, but it is a less appealing experience, even if the food is good.

Cat Van Dort
0 of 1 found helpful

This restaurant is an allergy sufferer’s nightmare and I would advise anyone with a food allergy to AVOID AVOID AVOID! The service was… different. Bowls and a handful of chopsticks were LITERALLY THROWN onto the table and arranged with such speed that all I could do was sit there gob smacked. It felt almost like an assault! I laughed it off and was then offered tea. I declined, but was served it anyway. I had to repeat myself and the tea was taken away. As I have a shellfish allergy I opted not to take dim sum from the trollies and instead order from the menu. I not only very clearly said that I have a shellfish allergy, but also asked the waiter to tell me exactly what was in the dish and the ‘XO’ sauce it was served with. It was confirmed the dish did not contain fish. The meal came. I took a bite and then noticed there was squid in the dish. My allergy is mostly to prawns, crab, mussels etc. so I wasn’t sure how I would react to squid, but having to sit and wait and hope I didn’t react was so terrifying I almost burst into tears. It was a HORRIBLE experience! I called a waiter over and in a panic explained the situation. I was told that if I had an allergy I should not have ordered the ‘XO’ sauce as it contained fish!! My friends and I all supported the fact that I had indeed asked if the dish contained fish and they agreed to give me a new plate of food. I asked if I could have sweet and sour sauce instead of ‘XO’ sauce. For the THIRD time that afternoon the waiter did not listen to my request and I received the same meal (Not the EXACT same one I had sent back just to be clear) minus the squid and NO sweet and sour sauce. I cut my losses and ate the meal. When it came to the bill I expected to be offered at LEAST a 50% discount or even my meal for free. Instead I was told that I would only be charged for one plate of food instead of two as if this was a generous gesture! I had to ASK if I could have a discount and was offered a measly 10%, lots of excuses and finally an apology. Our waiter’s priority was speed. SO much so that he did not pay the slightest bit of attention to anything I said with potentially very dangerous consequences. I would strongly advise any allergy sufferers to avoid this restaurant.