Sunday 19 October 2008

Cowie's Birthday: Peninsula

Fresh on the heels of a wonderful night at Trinity, I wangled a day off from revision for Cowie. Eating on Sundays normally means 3 things for us Brits. Either a solid fry up for breakfast, a slap up roast or a blinding curry. But one of the best things to eat on a Sunday is dim sum.

Cowie and I had a wonderful time feasting on dim sum in Hong Kong. We love their little parcels of joy. It's interesting that dim sum literally means "to touch the heart". It;s a bit like the concept behind the Cadbury's Gorilla advert... it's all about the sheer feeling of joy. Uninhibited euphoria.

I met Lizzie from Hollow Legs at the Trusted Places blogger meetup. She's great fun and recommended that I should take Cowie to an obscure dim sum restaurant in a Holiday Inn somewhere in the region of North Greenwich. I drunkenly made it home and woke up realising that Lizzie had answered my long search for what to do for Cowie's birthday. Lizzie you're a genius.

Bravely Cowie and I ventured off to the back of beyond.. in search of the ideal dim sum birthday lunch. The whole of North Greenwich was deserted. Acres of car parks. Miles of dual carriageway. Like a scene from 28 days later... there was no-one. Anywhere,

But then we arrived at the very impressive Holiday Inn Express. Resplendent in its green and blue livery.


And we saw people. Lots of Chinese people wearing very smart clothes... all piling into a very municipal looking building with hilarious concrete lions guarding the entrance.

Peninusl Grenwich queue

We queued for around 20 minutes, surrounded by loud and eager customers. Some more irascible than others. One enormous Indian gentleman landed up having a row with the brusque gentleman in charge of queuing before we'd even sat down. That takes some doing... and explains why any review you read of this place will mention the aggressive service. Charm isn't a word that's understood at the Peninsula!

We were shown to a comically large table and presented with what can only be described as a cross between a computer accessed driving test paper and a nationally lottery ticket. After a while we realised that we needed an English menu and proceeded to transfer our choices across to the dim sum ballot paper.


Cowie, went with the safety first option... but I was keen to test out the menu with a little more recklessness. This wasn't wise. The pork knuckle I bravely ordered arrived first in the form of thin, salami esque strips of cold meat... topped with what looked like sauteed onions. Wrong. One weird mouthful later and realised that the onions were actually jelly fish! When can you say you've ever accidentally eaten jellyfish as the first thing you put in your mouth on your birthday! After this brief bout of culture shock things soon got much more palatable. All of their dumplings were brilliant. None of them stuck to the bamboo steamers like you find at places like Ping Pong. In particular, the cheung fun was extraordinary. Almost worth the trip on its own.

It was a truly brilliant experience and we can't recommend it enough to anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone for a mind opening experience. We're definitely adding dim sum to our list of Sunday must dos along with squash, The Observer, bacon sandwiches, lie ins and curries from the Holy Cow.

Peninsula chopsticks

This is a great list of the top 10 places to go for dim sum. I'm keen to experience the joys of dim sum in Chinatown next. If anyone's got any recommendations please let us know.


Hollow Legs said...

Glad you guys liked it! Jellyfish is always a must-have for me, I love the texture. I haven't tried it with the pork though...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That's quite a good list, though some of the places on there are rather spenny. My choice is Dragon Castle in Elephant and Castle ( Highly rated by Jay Rayner, if that counts for anything with you.

Browners said...

Hey there... Lizzie thanks so much for the recommendation. Dim Sum has become our new sunday roast!!!

Really keen to try out other places too now... and to be more adventurous with our choices of dishes...

The Dragon Castle looks good. If it's good enough for Jay... it's good enough for me. And it's a damn sight closer than Greenwich.


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