The battle of the Oriental restaurant chains in London may be a competitive one, but this dim sum eatery is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser when it comes to those delicious Chinese dumplings.
While it seems you can’t walk around Central London without falling over a Ping Pong or wagamama at every turn, Dim T only has six restaurants across the capital, making it a slightly more original choice. Their offshoot at London Bridge is in a plum position, right on the Thames at the end of a swanky avenue of polished office buildings and art-installation water features.
Diners on the top floor are treated to a stunning view of the imposing Tower Bridge, enhanced by floor to ceiling windows – a spectacular backdrop for tourists or those on romantic dates. Inside the pleasantries continue. The modern Oriental decor mixing dark walnut tables and plush chocolate-brown lounges and booths with smatterings of jewel-coloured cushions, fresh lilies, amber lanterns and floating tea lights is lovingly hedonistic if not massively original.
Simultaneously suitable for large groups or intimate twosomes, Dim T is both serene and sociable. The sheer size of the restaurant means the raucous birthday groups can be separated from smaller tables of diners looking for some quiet. Spread across two floors, the spaciousness also transfers a relaxed air bolstered by the friendly and helpful staff. The menu has broad appeal, and this branch of Dim T attracts all types including nearby workers on weekdays and parties on the weekend.
The dim sum dumplings are the highlight of the menu here and it’s perfectly acceptable (and adequate) to share a number of the steamed baskets, at £3.25 for three, as your whole meal. The light bulbous, translucent parcels come stuffed with favourite fillings, which, whilst they don’t really push the boat out, are unfailingly delicious. Choose from succulent scallop and prawns, cashew nuts and coriander, beef and chive, spicy prawn and more. The spicy chicken dumplings are garlicky and thick with pungent Asian mushrooms soaked in soy sauce, punctuated with the kick of chilli. They are perfect accompanied by steaming hot, fresh and utterly addictive edamame (£3.65), bulging green soy beans crusted with salt flakes – it’s a treat popping out the slippery little suckers).
There are plenty other options on the menu if dumplings aren’t your thing, from a build your own noodle bar to traditional favourites like Thai green curry (£7.95) or crispy shredded beef (£8.25). The Japanese favourite, chicken katsu curry (£7.85) – a sort of Asian-style chicken schnitzel – is triangles of succulent chicken fillet coasted in crisp breadcrumbs artfully arranged on a square platter, smothered in a delightful mild, honeyed curry sauce. It’s topped with thinly shredded carrot and spring onions, which add some crispness and crunch.
Seafood laksa (£8.25) is a giant serving, but light on the actual seafood, while for vegetarians or those after something lighter and healthier, there are tempting salad options like the Ban Lee vegetable salad (tossed with hazelnuts and a light mustard dressing), or butternut squash curry or tofu stir-fry.
Although it’s hard not to stuff yourself with dumplings, saving room for dessert will be rewarded. A dish of iced berries with white chocolate sauce (£4.70) is the perfect antidote for a full belly – a mini mountain of freshly frozen cranberries and blueberries lightly dusted with icing sugar becomes a delicious pool of warm, gooey berry coulis when soaked with the rich and sweet white chocolate sauce. Simple, yet so effective. For sharing, try the signature chocolate sukiyaki (£5.85), a fondue-like treat with pieces of lychee, banana, pineapple and marshmallows for dipping in thick chocolate.
The Oriental-inspired cocktails and wide selection of teas are the most interesting things on the beverage menu here. The cocktails are crazily cheap and start from £5.75 for refreshing and zesty concoctions like Lychee and Lemongrass (very drinkable with vodka, lychee liqueur, lemongrass, fresh lychee and lime) and Mandarin Mojito (with Bacardi, Mandarin liqueur, lime, mint and orange juice). To combat the spicier dishes, try a refreshing jasmine flower tea (£2.30). The dainty flower that floats in your glass infuses the hot water with a fragrant aroma and delicate flavour, a perfect partner for traditional dim sum.
The wine list is small, relatively uninspiring and dominated by Italian and Chilean drops, but reasonable with prices starting from £3.80 a glass and £13.35 a bottle. The house red, a Sangiovese, is fruity but quite oaky and a little heavy for the lighter Asian dishes (a better match would be the dry Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at £16.35).
The Last Word
With more character than wagamama and better value for money than Ping Pong, Dim T is packed with Eastern promise and worth a stop along London’s Oriental food train.