Thursday, 10 December 2009

Joy King Lau review - London Chinatown version of Yum Cha dimsum, cheap and decent (for the price)

Joy+King+Lau+dimsum+review+Cheap+dimsum+in+London+Chinatown+Leicester+Square+London+ChowAddress: 3 Leicester Street
London, WC2H 7BL
Tel: 020 7437 1132
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: **
Ambience: *
Suitable for: affordable venue for a quick dimsum fix

What kind of name is that? I asked myself. Joy King Lau sounds like Chinese takeaway to me and I would probably never step into it - for dim sum anyway. In fact, I almost didn't until Kai mentioned Joy King Lau in passing when I exclaimed that I told him about Yum Cha.

"Cheap and good dim sum? Why travel all the way to Camden Town when there's already one in Leicester Square?". Not his exact words but close enough.

So we were off to Joy King Lau over the weekend. To be honest, we were a bit apprehensive as we read about how bad the service could even thought the dim sum was decent enough. We stepped into the restaurant on that rainy afternoon with rock bottom expectations.

Long story short, it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was comparable to Yum Cha in most respects.

The ground floor of the five storey restaurant was only half filled when we took to our tables. Even before we sat down, the waitress was flipping two teacups onto our tables and filling them up with a pot of tea - so we weren't really talking about gourmet tea there.

There was not much ambience to speak about - definitely not a place to bring someone for a romantic date. Then again, that wasn't the main concern, the food was. Most of the dim sum on the menu were priced at £2.10 per serving, which was comparable to Yum Cha although there was no discount provided unlike the latter.

Fried dough cheung fun was a letdown

We were a bit disappointed with the Fried Dough Cheung Fun as the fried dough wasn't fresh and was chewy (left exposed to air for too long) instead of crispy.

Char siew buns tasted a bit wierd 

The same could be said to the Char Siew Buns as well. We thought that the taste was a bit 'off' as the sweetness was really artificial.

Fried turnip cake scored

The fried turnip cake was a definite winner - its surface was crispy yet not overdone and the interior retained its fluffiness. The accompanying chilli oil was just right for the dish. Note that that was one dish that had to be taken hot as the oil would get to you when it turned cold. 

Wanton noodle better than that at Cha Cha Moon

The noodles in the Wanton Noodles was done nicely, much better than the one that we had at Cha Cha Moon. However, my lunch mate wasn't too enthusiastic about the dumplings. She insisted that there was too much fatty pork in them though I found them just to my liking.

Almost as good as the ones at Yum Cha

The egg tarts were comparable to Yum Cha. Instead of three small ones, you get two (much) larger pieces. The tarts were just as crusty though I prefer the custard over at Yum Cha. The Har Gau was a bit rubbery but arrived piping hot. For just over two quid, it was decent.

Almond sago on the watery side

For desserts, we ordered almond sago. It arrived icy cold even though we asked for a warm portion. After realising that, the waitress promptly popped the entire bowl into a microwave and it was back to our table again two minutes later. The almond sago could be a little thicker though it was just sweet enough.

Would I bother to travel all the way to Camden Town for cheap (and decent) dim sum in London? Don't think so, not after I have one that is right in the centre of London's Chinatown even though it sounds like a local Chinese takeaway.
Joy King Lau on Urbanspoon

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(( Ms. K )) said...

Reviews not looking too good for dim sum.. :P
What other place would you recommend?

Indian Takeaway said...

the food looks delicious and the price is decent for a central London restaurant.

C K said...

@Ms. K,
If you're into staple dim sum (nothing fancy), I would suggest Royal China at Docklands, definitely one of the better ones that I've tried.

food pr said...

I went there recently nothing wrong with it. The service is the usual for a China Town eaterie and the dim sum was fresh good for a cheap lunch.