We ended up eating at Hong Kong all-day kitchen Aquila (10 Church Lane E11) several times last year, admittedly most often when local fave Panda was full.
But that’s no bad thing: it’s another useful quality BYOB in the area, and the plates are impressive (especially a delicious king prawn in salted egg dish), even though the menu can sometimes veer towards the uncompromising, and the prices a little unfathomable (a side of stir fried greens, for example, is £10.80, while said delicious prawn dish comes in at just under £20).
So we were pleased to see a straightforward dim sum menu pinned up on the door earlier this year, with accompanying lit-up All Day Dim Sum sign out on the street to draw the punters into its pared-back interior.
This simple pricing structure means the dim sum is around £5-6.50 a pop. On a very busy Sunday evening the other weekend we enjoyed half a dozen dishes: the classic melt-in-the-mouth Ha Kau (prawn dumpling) was an easy winner (pictured above, right), as was the prawn and chive (main pic, above), while the signature Siu Mai – pork and prawn, above – was tasty but not quite as butter-soft as the others.
A new dish for us was a pile of unusual but moreish deep-fried turnip cakes with salted egg sauce (below), especially satisfying if you need to fill up. And for added vitamins a half portion of nicely garlicky choi sum came in at £6.
The only minor issue on this visit was the service: it was unusually slow, when previously it’s been slick and efficient.
And while the restaurant charges £6 for corkage (unlike Panda, which has no corkage fee*), there are worse places to linger with a glass of red that isn’t, for once, breaking the bank.
*Thanks to the reader who pointed out there’s a £15pp minimum spend at Panda for no-corkage.
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