Having grown up in Beijing, there's always a slight hesitation in visiting Chinese restaurants in London. I hate being disappointed, especially when it comes to eating out, and with Chinese food, it's just more personal. My heart sinks at the sight of soft wrinkled skin on Peking ducks, or the taste of oversweetened generic meat coated in grease. I therefore had my reservations when I went to Shikumen -- the Chinese restaurant that has received praise by the likes of of Fay Maschler.
Situated inside the Dorsett Hotel in Shepherd's Bush, Shikumen is grand and spacious with the elegant style of Shanghai in the 40's with that touch of East meets West. The menu is neatly divided into different sections and the choices are aplenty.
Of the Chef's Specials, there was of course the Peking Duck that is cooked in every Chinese restaurant outside of China. It is meant to be incredible but I went for the Crispy Duck. It came with the similar pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and plum sauce, all there for you to make the perfect little wrap. The skin of the duck was delightfully crunchy, the shredded meat was flavorful, and together with the relishes it was a sublime way of starting the meal.
There then came a dim sum selection, that, whilst delicious, was slightly confusing. The selection was different in terms of physical appearances - some were yellow, some were white, some where round and some were oval -- but they tasted pretty identical. They all encased whole prawns mixed with herbs and condiments, and the wrapper was thin and translucent with just the right sticky and chewy texture. Difficult to fault altogether, though just lacking a bit of variation for a "selection".
Shikumen are adding a single red dumpling to every order of Xiao Long Bao throughout October to honour President Xi Jinping’s State visit to London
Shikumen Shepherd's Bush
58 Shepherd's Bush Green
020 8749 9978
Monday to Saturday: 12:00 to 23:00
Sunday: 11:30 to 22:30