Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Leong's Legends Continue review - Lisle Street Taiwanese food


Address: 26-27 Lisle Street,
London WC2H 7BA
Tel: 020 7734 3380 (reservation necessary)
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: 10%
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ***
Suitable for: a quick bite, not for lingering
While we are all used to having two Tesco Expresses (or 7-Elevens if you prefer) at two ends of the road, branches of full size restaurants that close to each other are a rarer find. Leong’s Legends (Liang Shan Hao Han) fulfilled a certain niche when it first opened at London’s Chinatown. Instead of the traditional Cantonese cuisine that most Londoners are familiar with, Leong’s Legends introduced oyster omelet, braised pork belly rice among others, all Taiwanese street fare.

The original restaurant, which stood just beside Rasa Sayang and the narrow alley that led to a Hor Fun (flat rice noodle) Factory, must be doing well enough to justify opening up another branch a stone’s throw away along Lisle street. Aptly named Leong’s Legends Continue, the second restaurant had seating space over three floors.

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Even then, seats at Leong’s Legends Continue were hard to come by. Not only that reservations were absolutely necessary, the seats would be up for grabs if you didn’t show up within 15 minutes of the allocated time.

Like the original Leong’s Legends, the setup at Leong’s Legends Continue took on the Chinese inn theme with ornamental saber swords and wooden tables and benches to complete the picture. Lighting was dimmed and focused on the centre of the tables, which greatly enhanced presentation of the food as in the case for Hakkasan.

We were late and expected the worst. Fortunately there was this one last table at the corner of the second floor. Well, the group who went in immediately after us wasn’t that lucky. I handed the menu to our friend, JM, who was rather familiar with Taiwanese cuisine. After scanning through the menu, he pointed to a few items – braised pork belly rice and xiao long bao were what I would have chosen anyway, and casket or “guan cai ban”. Wife, on the other hand went for the Szechuan noodles. She seemed to have a penchant for that after our visits to Empress of Sichuan and Chilli Cool.

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The braised pork belly rice (£4.80) tasted quite fine by my standard. Ignoring Wife’s insinuating sideway glances, I gobbled up all the fatty meat. JM took a look at the dish and muttered, “The sauce should have been served over the rice.” He carefully set aside the fats and proceeded to clean up his plate all same. So it couldn’t be that bad, could it?

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The casket (£4.50) was essentially stir fried chicken pieces and mixed veg housed in a box structure made of toast. In a way, it did look like a casket. One thing to note though, try not to finish up all the gravy within the ‘casket’, save some for the toast itself.

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The xiao long bao (8 pcs for £5) wasn’t spectacular by any standards. Though the fillings didn’t crumble like what we encountered at Min Jiang, the skin was way too thick. I am not sure but it seems as if there is a difference between the Taiwanese xiao long bao and those served as a dim sum at Cantonese restaurants – the latter has way thinner and delicate skins.

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As for the Sichuan noodles (£3.80), I could tell from Wife’s face that she preferred the one served at Chilli Cool. But I couldn’t resist rubbing it in. “How’s your noodles?” I asked in between mouthfuls of the fatty of braised pork. She gave me a glare and prodded the noodles with her chopsticks.

Since its opening, I have been to Leong’s Legends Continue a couple of times and the service was always pleasant without fail. Though it’s probably not the place where you would like hang around for a quiet chat, it definitely have a healthy bustle to it. To me, the Chinese inn theme remains a winner.

Leong's Legends Continue on Urbanspoon

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3 comments:

Mr Noodles said...

Love the look of the actual casket although I'm not sure about the filling. I still haven't been to either LL's yet !

Su-Lin said...

Agree with Mr Noodles about the casket - it looks amazing! (bet it would be fab filled with a Malaysian chicken curry). And the pork belly too...mmm... I definitely have to return.

C K said...

@Mr Noodles,
Was a bit apprehensive when ordering the Casket but it turned out fine. The filling reminds me a bit of Campbell soup but it did complement the toasted 'casket' though.

@Su-Lin,
Haha, I wish but nope, I don't think Taiwanese are big on curry btw. :)