Shikumen, we were to learn, means ‘stone gate’ – evidently a traditional architectural style unique to Shanghai featuring a marriage of Western and Chinese styles.
There are two Shikumen restaurants in London, one in Ealing, the other in Shepherds Bush. A friend wanted to explore some of the textile shops in Shepherds Bush so we opted for the Shepherds Bush restaurant and Dim Sum.
The restaurant is attached to the Dorsett Hotel facing onto Shepherds Bush Green. You can enter it either through the elegant hotel foyer or from the street.
First impressions count so they say. And first impressions were very good, a lovely warm welcome prior to being shown into a wonderfully stylish dining room that nevertheless managed to have a relaxed and friendly feel to it; maybe because of the attractive wood room dividers and the comfortable leather banquettes.
There is an à la carte menu, a set lunch menu and a Dim Sum menu; Dim Sum dishes average out at about £3.80. We decided we needed help.
Into our lives came Sunny – our delightful waiter. After asking us if there was anything we couldn’t eat or didn’t like and how hungry we were he recommended that we share three or four plates, and then came up with some suggestions that he thought we would like from the extensive Dim Sum options.
Platefuls of delicious venison puffs
We both agreed that we could have eaten platefuls of the delicious venison puffs to say nothing of the glistening mushroom filled roll or the prawns shimmering pale pink in their gossamer thin wrapping, but we were a little less keen on prawn dough stick – a bit too bland we thought.
We were tempted by dessert and whilst rather underwhelmed by the Durian puff (was there really any fruit in it), even this tapioca-loather was delighted at her share of the mango and grapefruit tapioca dish – deliciously light and refreshing. Needless to say the presentation of the dishes was as refined and elegant as the room décor.
House wines start at £16.80 per bottle. Shikumen also offer a rather nice selection of cocktails too!
Would we go back to this restaurant where Western and Chinese influences meet? Yes, most definitely. www.shikumen.co.uk