Friday, 4 January 2013

Review - Leong's Legends

Having completed(ish) writing three 3000 word essays about Serious Things, I returned to London. Whenever I have serious academic work to do, I go back to Birmingham so I don't have to think about those pesky little things like feeding myself and buying milk. Also, there's literally nothing fun to do there at all. That's enough Birmingham bashing for one blog post. When I got back to Bethnal Green, I was met by an expatriated, tax-dodging explorer. He had with him a Persian rug and one of those backpacks that you can clip around your front. He looked lost and like the tube had confused him so I offered him a home for a few nights. We decided to go for dinner in the evening. His islandish cravings led him to lobster so I suggested we try the £20 affair of Burger and Lobster. Unfortunately, I couldn't get through so I was unable to book a table. Nevertheless, the explorer shed his backpack and met me in Soho. We were informed that the wait was two and a half hours. We decided to move on to a place we'd tried to visit before. Then, we'd been deterred by a fifteen minute queue. When compared to a queue ten times as long, that didn't sound so bad. We settled in and watched a chef do an inventory of the freezer we were perched next to. It was full of prawn toast but no dead bodies. Reassuring. We slowly snaked up the stairs and were sat in precisely fifteen minutes. That had given us ample time to decide upon what delicacies to try. Their house soup dumplings, aromatic chilli lamb, Sichuan style noodles with pork, sticky rice with shrimp and scallop.


First came the lamb and sticky rice. The rice was presented in a small barrel that it had been cooked in. It sure was sticky! The little serving teaspoon kept getting stuck like it would on maple syrup cement. The barrel had really intensified the flavours but the seafood was a touch untempered, a kick of heat or kiss of sweetness would've done it wonders. The lamb was perfect. Soft yet still a little chewy, surrounded by fiery red chillies and a mellow yet highly spiced sauce. The fresh, vibrant mangetout and red pepper were the finishing touch that set it apart. The noodles and dumplings were almost as delightful. The noodles were well textured and topped with a sort of Sichuan bolognese, meaty and rich. The cucumbers topping it added freshness just as the mangetout did to the lamb. The dumplings, a rogue dim sum choice didn't really go with everything else but who cares when they're this good? A firm bite into the exterior led to a burst of the most intricately spiced soup. They were amazing. A thoroughly enjoyable meals for £30 with drinks. The explorer enjoyed it too.

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