Visiting Yi-Ban by public transport can be a disconcerting experience, involving a trip on the DLR to Royal Albert station, then a walk along a deserted road and across a large car park to the first floor of the grey concrete box that is the London Regatta Centre.
Once inside, you’re greeted by a spacious room lined with floor-to-ceiling windows offering striking views across the dock of planes taking off and landing at City Airport. White tablecloths, cream leather chairs and pale wood floors are offset by an ornamental red wall at the far end. There’s an outdoor deck for good weather.
The menu is extensive, with Vietnamese as well as Chinese dishes, a particularly good selection of seafood (including luxe ingredients such as lobster and abalone) and a dozen hotpots including sea cucumber and ‘duck’s web’ (the end of the foot). The dim sum here is well regarded – a beef and bamboo shoot dumpling was light and tasty – and the lengthy menu includes photos, which is useful for novices. But standards can dip: sliced whelks in a mild curry sauce were rubbery, and we were disappointed by the roast duck (from the carte), which was drenched in a sticky orange sauce.
Staff were informed and helpful. Note the restaurant gets very busy at weekends, so it’s wise to book.