Dorsett Hotel, 58 Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8QE, United Kingdom

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Shikumen is a Chinese restaurant in the surprisingly smart Dorsett hotel, which looks as though it wants to be in Mayfair but is actually located on Shepherd’s Bush Green, looking distinctly out of place amongst the down-market shops nearby. The name is a style of Shanghai architecture that fuses western and eastern styles, though the menu here seems standard Cantonese fare.

The dining room is quite large and smarty decorated, though the hard surfaces contribute to high noise levels even when, as tonight, it was far from busy. The vast menu offers plenty of choice, though the speciality is Peking duck (£26.50 a half), which must be pre-ordered.

The wine list started at £16.80 and had wines such as Inspiracion Valdemar Seleccion 2010 at £33.20 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £18, Antinori Chianti Classico 2011 at £47.80 compared to a retail price of £21, and Prunotto Barolo 2009 was £77.20 for a bottle that will set you back £36 in a shop.  

Salt and pepper squid (£6.80) was quite reasonable, the flesh in no way chewy, though the batter was a touch floury (12/20). Also fine was a selection of seafood dim sum (£9.50), each dumpling a mix of prawn and scallop, all nicely made (13/20).

The duck was carved at the tableside and started, as is traditional, with the skin. Of course I was not expecting anything like the remarkably delicate duck of Made in China, but I was hoping for something better than this: the skin of this duck was distinctly ordinary, and did not come close to melting on the tongue. The duck breast was served with pancakes and the usual plum sauce, the meat itself a little fatty and not having great flavour (11/20). Worse was a serving of shredded duck meat with vermicelli noodles, which were remarkably watery and bland (8/20). If you want Peking Duck in London then I recommend the version at HKK and A. Wong, and also Hutong.

Service was well-intentioned but almost comically bad, with the English language skills of the waiters distinctly limited. The bill came to £56 a head with a decent bottle of wine and a beer apiece, which was an awful lot of money for the standard of food that arrived here. This was pricier than the vastly superior Royal China, for example, which is just a 94 bus ride away.

Further reviews: 27th Oct 2016

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