Shanghai Dalston

Restaurants, Tea rooms Kingsland
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Shanghai Dalston
© Damian O'Hara

Of all London’s Chinese restaurants, Shanghai Dalston comes closest to creating a vibe of ironic retro chic. Roast ducks and pork hanging in the window obscure views of the beautiful former pie and mash shop interior, with green tiles featuring slithering eels in the front dining room.

Sadly, the nominally eastern Chinese menu has more in common with the grim second dining room in the windowless back of the restaurant; the food has little to distinguish it from Anglo-Chinese restaurants across the country. Starters of ‘Shanghai dumplings in chilli oil’, wun tun soup, and grilled dumplings were universally bland. A dish described as ‘clay pot-cooked slow-braised pork with tofu knots’ in fact contained deep-fried tofu, leaving the stew uniform in texture.

The enticingly named ‘Shanghai devil lamb’ promised a bold marinade of spices and chilli, wok-fried and served with dried seaweed, but arrived as a pile of lamb slices with onions, all bearing a vaguely aniseed flavour but lacking both complexity and seaweed. In such a lively neighbourhood, and in such a promising setting, the kitchen here should take more risks to elevate its food above the Chinese-takeaway norm.



Venue name: Shanghai Dalston
Address: 41 Kingsland High Street
E8 2JS
Opening hours: Meals/dim sum served noon-11pm daily
Transport: Tube: Dalston Kingsland rail or bus 38, 67, 76, 149
Price: Main courses £5.50-£7.80. Dim sum £2.80-£4.50. Set meal £20 per person (minimum 2)
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Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:6
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It's not bad but it's not amazing. But the area is lacking good honest restaurant so if you fancy some dim sum without getting out of East - Shanghai it is!

It's an OK place if you want some dim sum and a beer. It lacks atmosphere and I felt a bit like I was in the waiting room at a train station. My advice is take a rowdy bunch of friends and create your own vibe. 

First visit and last. Sticky tables, greasy chairs, dirty floors, scuzzy toilets, poor service and mediocre food. Where are Trading Standards, this whole place needs deep cleaning. Or preferably, new owners.

This place has really gone down hill.. i used to eat her for several years before i moved out of London. I happen to be in London this weekend and thought i would take a trip down to my old haunt and Wow WHAT A MISTAKE!!!

Service is non existent and to be truthful the staff were just plan rude and the coldest and stern faces i have ever experienced in any dining environment. please don't waste your time,effort and more importantly your money. buY a microwave dinner and and you will have more satisfaction and the added advantage of being entertained by the cardboard box which was more than i could say about the rude, cold and stone faced service.0\10 experience. oh forgot to add anything about the food? well guess in away that says it all. 

What happened to this once charming gemstone i used to adore.

These people are thieves, I bought a simple seafood fried rice wrapped in lotus leaf and duck and crispy pork. This would have costed no more than £15, I didn't realise that they had over charged me and made me pay 23.50… I went to complain and get my money back but they kept accusing me of getting the platter! I gave them manager the receipt and everything! Horrible people, horrible service, horrible customer care…

Stick to seafood and beef options and you're good. Dont rate any of the chicken or pork dishes too much. Best thing about them is the freshness of the products and their dumplings.

This used to be a really good quality Chinese restaurant and the old pie and mash interior is magnificent. Admittedly the staff were always prone to moodiness, but it didn't matter because the food was so good, it was well worth the expense. Well, not any longer. Despite some poor offerings the last few times I have been, I kept the faith and ordered a takeaway last night. Having been ill for a while and house bound I felt in need of a square meal, one that I didn't have to cook myself and a bit of self indulgence. I ordered 1/4 crispy duck, special fried rice and king prawns with garlic and ginger. They said on the phone (after I had faffed around on the internet for ages - Hungry House who are another set of so and soes have a rubbish booking system) that it would be in 50 mins. If only I wasn't on crutches I would've walked there and back in 10 mins. Eventually it arrived and only when the driver had gone did I notice there was no duck, the rice (it was rice and it might have been fried but it most certainly wasn't special) was cold and the prawn dish was a sea of onions with a few tired, grey and lifeless prawns of a dis-encouraging demeanour. After wrangling on the phone - they kept asking if I was absolutely sure the duck wasn't there - and another half an hour the driver came back and before I could say take the lot away he foisted two 'complimentary' cans of coke at me and some duck which had certainly died a death, and ran off. I ate some of the duck, the rest is still in the kitchen, I can't even bring myself to put it on a plate. So that was £26 well spent.

This used to be a great Chinese restaurant - really stood out from all the others in the area in terms of its quality and authenticity. Sadly, it has declined dramatically in the last few years. In summary; way overpriced, poor range of menu options, orders received are often not what is described in the menu = avoid.

From the outside Shanghai Dalston looks grim, the kind of place to avoid with no mention of dim sum from the menu outside. Sat in the old pie & mash shop (ask to be seated in one of the booths by the bar, the back is over air-conditioned and dingy) there is a sense of old London nostalgia. The three of us ate from the dim sum menu exclusively and what a feast we had! Trying almost everything on the menu for under £50 (with beers) we ate a lot. Notable were the 'Tai Chi' Dumplings with half black octopus juice filled with diced roast duck, peanuts, mushrooms and chilli sauce. Big, colourful and beautifully presented we certainly made the right choice. The chicken and spinach wrap parcels were light and full of flavour, their hand-made rolled sea bass counterparts unique and moreish and definitely worth a try. For dim sum I could not recommend Shanghai Dalston enough.

We went there yesterday for lunch, a few of the dishes that came at first were good, (ha gau, pork buns and croquettes) but then it went seriously downhill, the ribs were inedible, the rice/fish pot turned my stomach and they even messed up duck panckes. £50 for two, too expensive for what it is, my friend and I felt sick for the rest of the day and he ended up not going into work today due to it, I would avoid.

I've been here a few times over the years and always thought it was nice but fairly average Chinese. Went last night. Dim sum nice but pricey. Avoid salt and pepper squid - over £7 and disappointing.

went there on Sunday afternoon; attentive service & attractive interior design. Food arrives very fast, so of course they must have prepared at least part of it earlier - but that's quite normal for a chinese restaurant I think. Sometimes it even helps the taste of the spcies if sauces are prepared the previous day. :) Prices are very reasonable for good (albeit not excellent) dim sum - we paid 50GBP for two persons for late lunch and had 6 baskets of DimSum, 1x lobster special for 20 GBP and hot/sour soup. All tasted very good.

Interesting Place but not really quality chinese food. Dimsum and the interieur seems to be the highlight!

We went here for dim sum. The food was really really good. Very reasonably priced. Its good to go in a big group so you can order a wide variety and then order more of the things you enoyed most! I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who enjoys dim sum and even to those who have never tried it. The tai chi dumplings were delicious!

Just received a delivery from Shanghai. it is very poor. The roast meats meal is very small. Every dish is very very greasy and all of our food arrived cold. £27 for this very poor meal is a shock. Avoid.