Check out our recent London dim sum lunch at Min Jiang on the tenth floor of South Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel.
As much as we loved our time in Asia, we were excited to return to Europe and all of the food that we love so much.
Once our plane landed in London, we hit the ground running and attacked the city’s culinary melting pot with a vengeance. We ate bagels that stood up to their New York cousins and devoured a breakfast that mentally transported us to the middle east. We even took a luxury dessert tour that featured French macarons and Swiss chocolate.
To cap off our exploration of London’s multi-cultural food scene, we ended our visit by indulging in a first class dim sum lunch with a view.
London Dim Sum Lunch at Min Jiang
Min Jiang, an authentic Chinese restaurant located on the tenth floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, is just as tony as its South Kensington neighborhood. We were excited to dine here since we have a thing for Chinese food. Not only did we spend a month eating our way through China back in 2009, but we also celebrated our wedding rehearsal dinner at a Chinatown restaurant in Philadelphia two years prior. But first drinks…
Within seconds of our departure from the lift (a/k/a the elevator), the attentive Min Jiang staff greeted us with crafted cocktails like the Oriental Mojito, a refreshing concoction with lime, watermelon, sugar, mint, Havana Club Anejo Especial rum and ginger ale. The bar’s spectral view of the yellows, reds, and green foliage from adjacent Hyde Park tantalized our eyes while we enjoyed our fruity cocktails.
Seriously, we couldn’t keep our eyes away from the picture windows with their sweeping view of Hyde Park in all of its autumnal glory. We previously enjoyed the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral earlier this year during our Tate Modern lunch. This view was just as spectacular, proving that there are stunning views all over London. The red clouds at sunset over sites like the London Eye and the Shard added to our spectacular late lunch vista.
Dim Sum Feast
Though we could have happily stayed in the bar all afternoon working our way through the cocktail menu for the purpose of “advanced research”, hunger pangs soon struck and we relocated ourselves to the main room. Sipping on both hot tea and Valpolicella wine, we remained transfixed by the view of colorful trees and buildings until the food arrived. Only then did we tear our eyes away so that we could fully enjoy tasting the wonderful plates of original dim sum.
The dim sum plates marched to our table like participants in a food parade, each plate making us grab our chopsticks with glee and excitement. We enjoyed Xiao Long Bao (juicy soup dumplings with savory meat filling), crispy Deep Fried Yam Croquettes with Seafood and a Dumpling platter with three types of dumplings. We ate a lot of food, and all of it was good. (See photo above as proof.)
“Legendary” Wood-Fired Beijing Duck
Min Jiang is famous for its self-proclaimed legendary Beijing duck. In-house duck masters roast the ducks for 48 hours in a wood-fired oven and then carve the birds as part of a grand table side presentation. This signature dish was right up our alley. In fact, this was the most authentic duck presentation that we’ve seen since the great duck feasts we experienced in Beijing where uniform slices fanned out for the taking along with pancake wrappers. A large variety of dipping sauces like thick sweet hoisin, scallions and pickled vegetables rounded out the showstopping duck course. This was royal Chinese cuisine at its best.
We had fun making little sandwiches with the sliced duck, adding copious amounts of sauce and plenty of green veggies to the homemade pancakes before scarfing them down. However, the best part of this course was dipping the crunchy duck skin into granulated sugar. Sugar? Yes, sugar. If you haven’t eaten duck like this before, then you’re missing out. We now want sugar for all future roast duck feasts – the combination is that good.
We ate the remaining duck with fried noodles as well as a two more dishes – Sichuan-style Sauteed Gong Bao Tiger Prawns and Asparagus with Lotus Root and Black Pepper. This London dim sum lunch was definitely of a case of “more is more”.
As our bottle of wine reached its end, we knew it was time to leave. But we weren’t quite ready to leave the spectacular view and who could blame us. So, we extended our stay a bit and nibbled on a dessert course of creamy Egg Custard Tarts and Poached Black Sesame Dumplings.
Just like we have a thing for Chinese food, we also have a thing for egg custard tarts. We first ate them during our honeymoon in Portugal and have since eaten egg custard tarts in countries like Macau, Canada and even Japan. We didn’t expect to eat egg custard tarts in England. As we keep finding out as we travel, life is full of pleasant surprises.
Min Jiang is located at 2-24 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 4PT, UK.
We thank Min Jiang for hosting us to facilitate this article in coordination with Traverse. We also thank our delightful dining companions – Fiona from London Unattached and Krista from Passport Delicious.
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