Thursday, 4 August 2011

Yum Cha Silk and Spice, Camden, NW1

Dim sum! God I love some dim sum. I must have gone past this place hundreds of times without a second thought on my way to the bars towards Chalk Farm, as it blends into the haggerdy background of discount shoes and £10-for-any-piercing shops that line Camden High Street. But luckily another review drew my attention to it and since then I've returned three times, and will be back again no doubt. Give it a chance. The main thing draw, apart from the delicious food, is the 50% off Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday evening slot. It is quite chaotic and rough-and-ready; we went on a Tuesday night and it was very full, and the waitresses were practically falling over rushing about and one almost tripped over our table.
It is a little badly organised if I'm honest; every time we've been, it's taken a very long time to get drinks. This visit, we had five servers asking us if we are ready to order food in as many minutes, even though we are still desperately waiting for our drinks before we wanted to consider the menu. Spotted a couple nearby dying of neck-crane to try to get someone's attention. So yeah, a bit of a blot.
But I love Yum Cha. It's brilliant really for last minute 'god, dim sum, right now, please' cravings, hungover lunches, and good for groups as well. En route to the Roundhouse for a gig, or going out in Camden generally, this is a great place for a stomach-liner as well. My one disclaimer here is that I should say I am quite new to dim sum, and I haven't widely sampled it, so I may be speaking more from the heart here but Yum Cha really hits the spot for me (and goes down much nicer than our standard gutbuster delivery orders from a Chinese takeaway in Holloway road).
Char sui pork buns
Steamed greens in Oyster sauce
So what did we have? Our old favourite, spicy salt and pepper tofu scattered with chilli and spring onion, which is so moreish that the last time I went, my friends went slightly mad ordered a second plate of it after the meal was done, even though we were literally unbuttoning our jeans we were so stuffed. And pork buns! The must-order of any dim sum experience, for £3.50, were most decent, arrived steaming hot, beautifully soft with the dough melting in the mouth like it should. Awesome.
We were given Chinese vinegar on the side with all the dishes, plus soy sauce and a lovely unsweet chilli dip which was spicy without being too hot. Salty Chinese greens in oyster sauce provided a nice counterpoint to the richness of the fried food. And as for dumplings, the prawn and chive dumplings had a lovely texture while the sieu long bao were juicy and delicious. We ordered nine dishes in total, and the only one that was really quite disappointing was the crispy duck roll which was tough and dry. There was so much more we wanted to try. The entire menu is online here, if you're interested.
And after 50% off? £33 for all that, and service, and three beers which were probably £10 on their own! I love it, and I'll be back soon. Do check it out. 

Yum Cha Silk and Spice, 27-28 Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, NW1 8AG,020 7482 2228

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