DUMPLING SHACK: LEICESTER HOUSE, 1 LEICESTER ST, WC2H 7BL
SO last night I ended up going to the Dumpling Shack pop up with my mum! They are dumpling (obvs) stall usually found in Broadway Market but this was a one week pop up as a way of testing the waters for a hopefully soon-to-be permanent site. I am a massive fan of shengjianbao and tickets were £35 each so I was obviously very excited about this pop up…
HOWEVER, this pop up didn’t necessarily live up to my expectations and I was honestly a little bit disappointed with it, like I don’t even know where to start lol. Like I wanna start off by saying the actual atmosphere and everything was great, the music was amazing, staff were amazing and the menu sounded so good too, like good variety and legit Chinese dishes, so that was all good! It was only really the actual food itself that was a let down, but I guess that’s kind of the most important aspect?
Obviously the main reason I went was for the shengjianbao, that was like the main anticipation of the night, especially as there are only like two places in London that do that. And I don’t wanna gas myself up too much but my mum and I pretty much ate shengjianbao every single day I was in Shanghai earlier this summer, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about. The buns themselves were just way too dough-y, so thick in fact, that they didn’t actually cook properly and the tops were actually still a bit raw. The actual fillings–pork & water chestnut, crab & truffle, shiitake, woodear & leek–were really good ingredients but I definitely felt like they were a bit bland and lacked sufficient seasoning and most importantly, THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH SOUP!! The fillings were just a bit moist but that was about the extent of it.
As for the other dishes, my favourite of the night was probably the scallops as they were the most well cooked and flavoured, with the duck heart and lamb chops coming in second and third, though they could’ve done with some more seasoning tbh. I was quite surprised with the smacked cucumbers that we started with weren’t even smacked but chopped and the peanuts they gave would have been great except for the fact they were so burnt and bitter I couldn’t eat them lol. The other dishes sounded like great authentic Chinese dishes on paper but it just kind of felt like they lacked authenticity? I know the owner is Chinese but it was basically like eating white people Chinese food to be quite honest lmao.
I think the main disappointment from this night was that I could tell the ingredients themselves were amazing and high quality, they just weren’t cooked that well and they were either over-seasoned and under-seasoned. Like there was so much potential!!! I’m sure it’s probably because they aren’t used to cooking to this sort of scale with so many dishes having to go out at once, this format is clearly quite different from a street food stall. I’m really hoping they get these issues sorted, I spoke to a member of staff and he mentioned sending the staff members to China so that sounds like a good sign haha. There is a huge lack of shengjianbao in London and it really upsets me so I just really want Dumpling Shack to do well and sort their shit out!!! That is my Christmas wish, pls Chinese Santa.