This vast 150 seat restaurant is in the Dorsett hotel on Shepherds Bush Green. Having had dinner here once, I decided to give it another go, this time sampling their dim sum. The classic har gau prawn dumplings were good, having reasonable texture and properly cooked prawn (13/20). Crab dumplings were somewhat less convincing (12/20) but I quite liked a spicy take on xiao long bao, even though the texture of these dumplings was a little on the rubbery side – the filling worked well despite this (12/20).
Baked venison puff was quite successful, even tough the meat did not have the flavour of the version at Yauatcha (13/20). However vegetable puffs were disappointing, rather greasy in texture (11/20). Gail lan with garlic was acceptable though cooked a touch long; it was not soggy, but had passed the point where it was ideal (12/20). Wasabi prawns were nicely cooked and presented well, though this was not real wasabi, just coloured horseradish and mustard from a tube (12/20). Char sui buns were pleasant, the meat filling having a hint of sweetness (12/20).
Service was fine, though we had almost the undivided attention of the staff since there were hardly any other diners at this weekday lunch service. The bill, with jasmine tea to drink, came to £28 a head. This was not excessive, but prices in general here are not low, and if you came for dinner and had alcohol then it would be about £55 a head. The difficulty is that the food is decent but does not compete with high end restaurants like Min Jiang or Yauatcha. That would be OK if the prices were pitched quite low, more Chinatown level, but they are not. £9.90 for a trio of wasabi prawns is not cheap, and yet they do not even use real wasabi. For me Shikumen falls between two stools: it is not priced at mass market level, which is roughly where the food is in quality terms, but it is not good enough to convince as a high end venue. I am not sure how busy it is in general, but this lunch time’s eerily quiet dining room suggest that the local clientele remain to be convinced of the value of the offer here.
Further reviews: 17th Mar 2015
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