Like many Chinatowns in cities all over the world, London's Chinatown is filled with restaurants, buffet shops, takeaways, tea houses, cake shops and other eateries. Even the provision shops in London's Chinatown is dedicated to food and stock very little non-food items. To the casual observer, it seems that the central theme about being Chinese is food. Well, they are not far from the truth, for the Chinese would probably eat anything and everything that doesn't eat them first.
Then comes the question: where would you go if you just want a quick cheap eat in London's Chinatown and be on your way? The buns in the teahouses are barely filling, the buffets look unappetizing and the restaurants too extravagant. Jen Cafe, which is at the intersection of Newport Court and Newport Place may just be the place for you.
Primarily serving freshly made meat dumplings, visitors could catch a glimpse of the staff at Jen Cafe making the dumplings directly from freshly rolled dough by the window. The dumplings, which comes in portion of around half a dozen could be a meal by itself. Other than dumplings, a relatively wide range of rice and noodles dishes are available as well - all of which cost
Other than the dumplings, I would normally go for a noodle with roast pork. Be forewarn that the noodles served are "gong zai mian", which is essentially instant noodles. Some customers must have made a fuss on that prior to my visit as I was informed by the staff about the instant noodles when I placed my orders.
I must say that the dish hardly constitute as a gourmet choice; the bland tasting roast pork doused in thin soy sauce was hardly inspiring and the instant noodles was, well, instant noodles. However, at a cost of a fiver, I could hardly complain. Top that up with a cup of Hongkong tea (£1.50) and that's your pre-theatre dinner.
The service at Jen Cafe is efficient but rather curt but then again, name me a Chinese eatery in London's Chinatown that is which service is not (curt, that is). My change was returned in a small plate with the "No Service Charge" label pasted on its face. That said, Jen Cafe is definitely the place for the lone diner who prefers to have a quick bite.
Address: 4-8 Newport Place, London WC2H 7JP
Tel: 020 7287 9708
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square
Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Suitable for: a quick bite before heading on your way
Friday, 12 June 2009
Jen Cafe review - London Chinatown Chinese cheap eat