We aren’t endowed in the dim sum department here. There are some good dumplings to be had in the city along the Japanese gyoza route. While pot stickers are available in some Chinese or lets say Asian inspired restaurants (Nanit or Mosquito). Dim sum is a rare find. As is the window of lacquered meat hanging on hooks.Which is why Dim Sum Cantonesas has generated quite a kerfuffle amongst those that seek this umami rich food.
It’s where you would expect such a place to open, close to the Arc de Triomf.
Inside it’s reassuringly ugly and not plastered in Chinese kitsch. Woden banquets – to seat 4 on one side and 2 on the other. Plastic tablecloths under a sheet of glass, the better to wipe off between seatings. Even the napkins are the shiny nonabsorbent kind and have been left in their plastic packaging rather than fed into a dispenser of some sort. Dim Sum Cantonese is not out to impress or to reassure. It serves what it serves and you like it or you don’t.
I am there with one of my daughters. We order from the short menu. Some BBQ chicken wings from the window, Shumai and Har Gau. What comes out looks a bit tired and congealed.
“Do you have some dipping sauce?”I enquire. Two bottles; one of black vinegar and one of soy are brought over.
“What about some spicy sauce?”
He eyes me waringly. I am the only non-Chinese in the place and he is probably wondering if I will begin to kick off when the spicy sauce turns out to be spicy rather than just vinegary. He brings it nevertheless.
Dim sum it is but I don’t find it good enough to justify the excitement surrounding the place. After I finish and we get up to pay, the place starts to fill up with Chinese people. They all do something I haven’t. Namely go off to the back where the dim sum trolley is and start to unsettle all the towers of dim sum deciding what looks best and what they will have. The waiter stands by and loads everything on his tray.
The things on his tray look like what I’ve just eaten but much fresher.
A few days my Australian friend goes down there to eat with her husband.
“Hey hun?” She messages me. “Did you have the cheung fun?”
I didn’t somehow. One of my favourite dim sum and I missed it.
Next time, I know what I have to do, poke around the trolley until I find what looks best.
This is my last post for the summer. See you in September! Remember that all my restaurant reviews are archived in alphabetical order on Best Eats and geographically on Maps. Check out my Instagram feed for what I am up to.
Dim Sum Cantonesas
Passeig de Sant Joan, 44