Paddington Basin. The Final Frontier. Well, perhaps not quite. But you do feel as though you are boldly going where no one has been before, when you enter central(ish) London’s last major bit of in-fill development. It’s hard to find: the easiest way is to start at Paddington station’s Heathrow platform, and to follow the signs to ‘Marks & Spencer’ (whose new HQ is the development’s anchor tenant).
Once you’re there, this canalside development is, in an Americanised kind of way, surprisingly attractive ‘ given that it’s dominated by a flyover (the Westway). It helps that the landlords – no doubt with lavish incentives – have attracted a critical mass of restaurants, including an already-popular Japanese (Yakitoria), an airy gastropub (The Union), a soon-to-open fish specialist, and the Chinese restaurant we review today.
The rambling dining room occupies a lower level of the development. It’s short on natural light, and the designers have run with a sort of opium-den chic. The overall effect is comfortable, even if the chair/table heights/depths don’t quite work, and the acoustics are tricky. While we’re on negatives, the service does not make up in efficiency what it lacks in charm.
The food, though, is a redeeming feature. Dim sum are a speciality (served lunch and dinner), and come at a prices reminiscent of Chinatown, and up to the same standards as the best operators there. Larger dishes – such as Peking Duck and steamed sea bass – were also realised to a superior standard. Puddings included an oddly satisfying, blue blancmange-y number. In fact, everything was consistently above par.
So, when you’re next passing (just kidding) give the place a try. Or, if you’re a real fan of Chinese cooking, you might even find it positively worth seeking out.