The Wait for World-Famous Dumplings in London Is Four Hours

(Bloomberg) -- It’s been a big week for Chinese food in London, with two international chains opening their first outposts in Europe.

Imperial Treasure offers high-end Michelin-style dining for the wealthy, whereas Din Tai Fung is a no-reservations dumpling restaurant that is particularly popular with young Chinese. The wait for a table this week was around four hours at peak hours.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s happening in London dining right now, from the newest restaurants to who’s news.

The Wait for World-Famous Dumplings in London Is Four Hours

Imperial Treasure (St. James’s, opened Dec. 4)

  • Imperial Treasure, one of the most respected Chinese restaurant groups, has opened in St. James’s Street. It is not cheap.
  • The signature dish is Peking duck, and you can get 50 percent off the usual £100 price tag ($128) until Dec. 17. It is only a single serving and you don’t get the carcass. That’s unlike at the excellent Min Jiang, for example, where two servings cost £72. At China Tang, it’s £68 for two courses and another £5 a person if you want a third course of soup.
  • The group was founded in 2004 and now consists of more than 20 restaurants in Singapore, China, Hong Kong and South Korea, with France planned for next year. Imperial Treasure holds two Michelin stars in Shanghai and one each in Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Set in a Grade II listed building in St James’s, Imperial Treasure is designed by the French group Liaigre, influenced by traditional Chinese culture and architecture.
  • 9–10 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE; +44-20-7389-0784; http://www.imperialtreasure.com/

Spuntino (Heathrow Airport, Dec. 12)

  • Spuntino, an Italian-American comfort-food restaurant in London’s Soho, is gaining an outpost at Heathrow Terminal 3.
  • The airport branch will be open all day from breakfast and will include a takeaway counter for on-board dining, serving the terminal’s 18 million passengers each year.
  • The new outlet is a partnership with TRG Consessions, an airport hospitality operator, whose other partners include Costa, Giraffe and EAT. Polpetto is part of the Polpo group.
The Wait for World-Famous Dumplings in London Is Four Hours

NEWS

  • Bar Boulud and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal reopened at the Mandarin Oriental this week, six months after being closed by a fire. Bar Boulud has a new executive chef, John Barber.
  • More than 1.5 million takeaways were ordered via Just Eat in the last weekend of November, the busiest month in the company’s history, Propel industry newsletter said.
  • Chef Rohit Ghai of Kutir restaurant in Chelsea plans to open KoolCha, an Indian casual-dining joint, in Boxpark Wembley in January.

WHAT WE’RE EATING

  • There are queues of up to four hours for Din Tai Fung, a no-reservations Taiwan dumpling chain that opened this week in Covent Garden. I went at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and waited only a few minutes. The main attraction is the xiao long bao steamed pork dumpling, which really is that special. The casing is feather-light while the broth inside has depth of flavor. 
  • I’ve finally made it to the Glasshouse, a Michelin-starred neighborhood restaurant in Kew that next year celebrates two decades in business. Chef Greg Wellman’s three-course Sunday lunch is particularly good value at £45.
The Wait for World-Famous Dumplings in London Is Four Hours

WHAT WE’RE READING

Richard Vines is chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines

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