East London Food & Culture


Review: Dim Sum at Aquila, Church Lane E11

We finally try the new dim sum menu at the Hong Kong specialists

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.

Siu Mai and Ha Kau. Photo:SE

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.

Turnip cakes with salted egg. Photo: SE

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.

Five dim sum came to £28.40 (£5.20-6.80 each), with a further £6 corkage (per bottle), totalling £38.70 with service. 25 Church Lane E11, Follow @aquila.uk

Please support us if you can

We are about to reach our 8th birthday and have a bigger audience and social media following than ever before, but due to advertising revenues in freefall both Leytonstoner and our small network of independent online titles is under threat. As readers we need your support more than ever to keep delivering ‘good-news’ cultural stories that celebrate our wonderful neighbourhoods. Every reader or business contribution, however big or small, is invaluable in helping the costs of running the website and the time invested in the research and writing of the articles published. Support Leytonstoner here for less than the price of a coffee and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment