The only way is Essex if you’re looking for some of London’s best dim sum. Gants Hill’s Mandarin Palace, now well into its fourth decade, draws in diners from across east London all the way into Essex, with a blend of traditional Cantonese cooking & timeworn (although rather lovely) oriental opulence. Family parties, among them many Chinese diners, throng the place at the weekend for dim sum of superb quality & value. Slabs of creamy deep-fried turnip paste are enlivened with a fiery XO sauce, & lotus sticky rice with grated scallop also appears on the chef’s speciality list. Come the evening, the restaurant takes on a charming, romantic glow as couples pile in for the justly renowned barbecued meats & extravagant seafood dishes (lobster with ginger & spring onion, say), to be accompanied by some fittingly ‘grown-up’ wines.
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