|Megan and Ellen|
Over the last couple of years, many of my culinary adventures have involved Megan. She's commented a couple of times that my blog has been a useful record of her time in the UK, as we've eaten Lebanese food, had a weekend in Bath, met Nigella Lawson and generally eaten and drunk enjoyably together. But now, as they say, the end is near. Megan's visa is expiring and she has been inexplicably unable to find a man to marry, an unexpectedly British parent or an employer to sponsor her to stay.
Last Sunday we met to send her off in the appropriate manner, with food followed by booze.
Megan has made Soho and Bloomsbury her own and has been responsible for introducing many people (including me) to the extremely delicious xiao long bao served by Dumplings Legend. It seemed only fair that we should have one last dumpling feast. Somehow, I've never previously photographed our dumpling meals, even though they are terribly pretty, but this one obviously had to be commemorated.
China Town was dressed for festivities, preparing for Chinese New Year and welcoming the Year of the Snake. I think red is a particularly joyful colour placed against a miserably dull sky.
My previous visits to Dumplings Legend have all been in the evening, so I was really excited to see that they do a proper dim sum menu for lunch. No trolley aunties of course, but you can't have everything. The Australians at the table got all nostalgic about yum cha at The Marigold and East Ocean.
We had several baskets of xiao long bao, initiating Megan's housemate into the technique for biting them so you can suck the soup out of the dumplings. These were a bit more fragile than I've had there previously - several tore and spilled their soup while I tried to get them off the paper.
We also had a couple of different types of prawn dumplings, with lovely fresh crunchy prawns in them. And I ordered some barbecued pork pastries, although apparently I didn't take a picture of them.
A platter of barbecued meats, some salt and pepper aubergine and some choi sum rounded out the savoury selections.
To order the dim sum you have to tick boxes on a card. I knew it was only a matter of time before I ticked the wrong box (the cards are a bit confusing - I was going cross-eyed trying to see which box lined up with which menu item). And so it was - instead of the custard tarts which are for me an absolute essential, I managed to tick the box for Green tea and smoked plum pudding. As it was my mistake, the waiter quite reasonably showed no inclination to take the green tea and plum pudding away, or take it off the bill. So we ate it.
Turns out to have been quite a happy accident - I would never have ordered it intentionally, but it was delicious and I would have it again. It's one of those cubed layered agar jelly affairs (there's a picture on the Dumplings Legend menu page). A bottom layer of green tea jelly, a middle layer of vanilla-y custard-y substance and a top layer of fruity (one assumes smoked plum). The gelatinous texture isn't my favourite but the combination of creamy and fruity and smoky with an edge of green tea was very nice.
And the egg tarts were worth the wait.
|Happy travels, Megsie darling!|
|Edited to add: Ellen got a picture of the aubergine and the green tea pudding and very kindly let me use them|