LEONG’S LEGEND 3: NIGHTMARE ON QUEENSWAY 1
It’s been several months since I’ve been for Dim Sum. Even when HS jets in from LA (cool) we’re more likely to cook up a large lump of protein than go for steamed dumplings.
Truth be told the Dim Sum options in London are not great. We’ve long grown out of the Chinatown places that serve up identikit, bought-in stuff, that’s cheap but ultimately quite dull. Even moving up to the middle range places the quality isn’t great or that consistent. You have to trade up to the Hakkasan’s or Min Jiang’s to get stuff that’s properly i.e. freshly made.
Leong’s Legend is a Chinatown-based chain of Taiwanese restaurants that’s recently opened a new outpost in Queensway. HS visited one of the previous branches and found it sorely lacking. Since it’s now a chain one wouldn’t reasonably expect things to improve as the concept is rolled out, and as I found on my visit, they haven’t.
I’d eschewed some of the regular dim sum in favour of Taiwanese specialities and the Xiaolongbao, apparently a speciality here. I’m pretty sure I’d read on the menu somewhere that all the dishes were freshly prepared but the dough sticks that turned up first had toughness that spoke of Saturday night rather than Sunday morning.
We’ve noticed that when most of the dishes turn up at once then you’re in for a poor dim sum experience. Unfortunately, that’s what happened at Leong’s – seemingly minutes after ticking the boxes on the menu my table was filled with everything I had ordered.
The XLB – sampled first while they were hot – were very disappointing: thick skinned and lacking in enough of the soup that makes them so enjoyable to eat. Even the filling was dull. Once they’d gone cold they lost what little attraction they’d had. Crispy Shredded Turnip were oily and yawn-inducing and a Steamed Meat Ball in a fluorescent sauce very nasty indeed.
I’d overlooked the picture of Casket; which turned out to be a box made out of Fried Bread and filled with a mixture of chicken and diced veg in a gloopy white sauce. I suspect it must be a sort of guilty pleasure thing for Taiwanese everywhere because it didn’t have any obvious culinary merits although after eight pints of strong lager it might have its attractions.
At least there were a couple of dishes that did reach the heady levels of ok. A speciality of Mini Kebab with Pork was a small cube of belly in a bun. It was clumsily constructed and lacked filler but with a nice relish it didn’t taste too bad.
A sort of hamburger in a dough case wasn’t subtle but I enjoyed it as I do most pieces of meat fashioned into a burger shape.
I think the waitress really wanted me to enjoy my meal – even if the kitchen had other ideas - so I ate as much as I could and got the substantial remains bagged up, which seemed to keep her happy. Which is more than you can say for me.
Oh well, back to unfeasibly large pieces of meat stuffed in the oven.