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London’s best dim sum restaurants

We’ve parcelled up the best places serving up the dainty Chinese lunchtime speciality

By Time Out London editors and Sarah Cohen
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Peking duck, special fried rice and unctuous noodles are all delicious, but sometimes Chinese food is best eaten in exquisitely crafted bite-sized packets. London’s best restaurants for dim sum offer traditional buns, dumplings and rolls as well as renegade riffs on the old classics. And not just in Chinatown: you can sample London’s yum cha scene across the city, from a luxe west London hotel to a hip East End joint. All you need are a pair of chopsticks and a pair of elasticated trousers.

RECOMMENDED: London’s best Chinese restaurants.

The best dim sum in London

london's best dumplings, baozi inn
london's best dumplings, baozi inn
Andy Parsons

BaoziInn Romilly Street

Restaurants Chinese Soho

Load up on all the pork baozi (buns) you can handle at this understated spot right in the centre of Soho. Fluffy on the outside, warm, sweet and sticky on the inside, these barbecued delights are the epitome of the perfect pork bun, while the rest of the dim sum menu is delicious and arrives quickly.

Venue says From the heart of Northern China to the heart of London; Our chefs are famed for the authenticity of their cooking! Discover Sohos favourite

Bun House

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

You may not get the full range of traditional dim sum at Bun House, but the soft, pillowy buns more than make up for it. There are seven varieties on the menu: try them all, but don’t miss the scary-sounding but delicious dark-chocolate-and-pig’s-blood option for dessert. Collect from the busy takeaway counter or wait for one of a handful of first come, first served tables.

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Din Tai Fung

Restaurants Taiwanese Covent Garden

First launched in Taiwan, this international chain is known for its all-day dim sum, particularly its xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Served in bamboo baskets, these delicate steamed buns come with fillings such as spicy pork, chilli crab and soft prawn. The other dumpling varieties are well worth sampling too: don’t leave without trying the seriously smooth chilli-prawn wontons, served in a sweet, vinegary sauce.

Greg Woodward

Dumplings’ Legend

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

This popular Chinatown hangout is more traditional than new kid Din Tai Fung, but shares the same signature dish: soup dumplings. (The classic, subtle pork version is our favourite.) Despite the name, there’s more to this place than just dumplings: the terrific fried turnip cake and quivering cheung fun are worth ordering too. 

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Hakkasan

Restaurants Chinese Tottenham Court Road

A Michelin-starred Cantonese trendsetter, Hakkasan remains the benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. It’s one for the big spenders, although you don’t need to re-mortgage for its ambrosial dim sum: who could resist the crispy duck rolls, quail and basil dumplings or grilled morel buns?  Sexy, moody and somehow still cool, even after all these years. 

100 best restaurants in London, hutong
100 best restaurants in London, hutong
© Rob Greig

Hutong

Restaurants Contemporary Asian London Bridge

Like the original Hutong in Hong Kong, this London offshoot is a glitzy, high-end Chinese with magnificent views, plate glass surrounds, ersatz Old Beijing decor and a spiced-up regional menu. Dim sum platters are a more delicate option (especially at lunchtime), when items such as cod and seaweed dumplings with tobiko do the business.  

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food_min_jiang.jpg
food_min_jiang.jpg
© Tricia de Courcy Ling

Min Jiang

Restaurants Chinese Kensington

It may be famed for its superlative daytime views and its Beijing duck, but Min Jiang also does a good line in classic dim sum. You won’t find any challenging ducks’ tongues here, but items such as steamed seafood and pumpkin dumplings exceed expectations. High-end stuff with stellar service and prices to match.

My Neighbours the Dumplings
My Neighbours the Dumplings
Andy Parsons

My Neighbours the Dumplings

Restaurants Chinese Clapton

A former pop-up offering dim sum-style dining for local hipsters, MNTD’s watchword is definitely not ‘authenticity’. Still, the dumplings themselves are excellent, with handmade pastry and irreproachable fillings – although veggie items such as aubergine and sesame potstickers often trump their meaty counterparts. Get stuck into the saké-based cocktail list while you’re killing time. 

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Pearl Liang013_credit Britta Jaschinski.jpg
Pearl Liang013_credit Britta Jaschinski.jpg
© Britta Jaschinski

Pearl Liang

Restaurants Chinese Paddington

Dark and swanky, with a jazzy cocktail bar to boot, Pearl Liang is good for lunchtime dim sum in ‘new Paddington’. There are prawn dumplings laced with wasabi and plates of steamed ox-tripe cut with ginger and spring onion, although our current faves are the fried octopus cakes studded with crunchy water chestnut.   

Phoenix Palace

Restaurants Chinese Marylebone

Decked out in lavish oriental style, Phoenix Palace is a favourite of international businessmen, but its easy-going bustle also suits local families who crowd in for high-quality excellent-value dim sum. Steamed dumplings and other dependables sit alongside briny pork croquettes and black egg congee with salty pork – all bursting with fresh tastes and textures.

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Red Farm

Restaurants Chinese Covent Garden

This first London offshoot of the cult New York dim sum restaurant is in a nice little Covent Garden spot that’s styled like a red-and-white British farmhouse. The wacky creations are just as cute: dumplings are plated up colourfully in a row, while spring rolls are styled into sculptures. Try the super-crispy egg rolls stuffed with layers of pastrami.

Royal China Club
Royal China Club
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out

Royal China Club

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Baker Street

As the exclusive, clubby name suggests, this premier link in the Royal China chain has an air of quiet five-star elegance, pointed up by the faint tinkling of a piano. The food is consummate Cantonese stuff, including a line-up of creative dim sum – think sesame prawn rolls with mango or goose web in abalone sauce.

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Shikumen brunch
Shikumen brunch
© Jonathan Perugia

Shikumen

Restaurants Chinese Shepherd’s Bush

Food-wise at this Chinese restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush’s Dorsett Hotel, top marks go to the exquisitely crafted dim sum – from the signature xiao long bao to sophisticated open parcels of scallop siu mai topped with tobiko – while the dining room reflects the classy comfort of its hotel setting.

Ugly Dumpling

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Soho

A street-food stall turned colourful and cute permanent restaurant on Carnaby Street, Ugly Dumpling specialises in, you guessed it: dumplings. The best of the menu, somewhat unexpectedly, is the vegan spinach and tofu number. Filled with fresh spinach and dotted with nutty sesame, expect a juicy little pocket of veg and a warm, umami smack.

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Yauatcha City

Restaurants Chinese Broadgate

The City branch of the upscale Soho spot looks a bit like an extremely glamorous spaceship – one very long room that, as you walk through it, seems to go on forever. All of the dim sum is excellent, but the venison puffs (stuffed with rich, dark meat) and the plump scallop siu mai are a must. 

Find more amazing Chinese food in London

London’s best Chinese restaurants

Restaurants Chinese

Chopsticks at the ready! There’s Cantonese dim sum, classic Beijing-style roast duck, spicy Sichuan cuisine and plenty more to choose from in our round-up of London's best Chinese food. 

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