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London’s best dim sum restaurants

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

Written by
Time Out London editors
,
Angela Hui
&
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

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Victoria

You won’t get your run-of-the-mill dim sum here. This two-Michelin star Chinese restaurant has a reputation for serving a top-notch innovative modern menu that showcases a diverse selection of regional Chinese dishes. Each piece is made bespoke for the table ranging from rabbit and carrot glutinous puff to 999 layered scallop puff with XO oil. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Soho
  • price 1 of 4

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.

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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.

  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Covent Garden
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • 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. 

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. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • London Bridge
  • price 4 of 4

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.  

  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Clapton
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

  • 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.   

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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.

Red Farm
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Covent Garden
  • price 3 of 4

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.

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  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Shepherd’s Bush
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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Yauatcha City
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Broadgate
  • price 2 of 4

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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