My Neighbours the Dumplings
One particular movie I loved was My Neighbours Totoro. That was a good show. Others might say it is for kids, in which case, it is also good that as some people say I have a childish sense of humour. So imagine my excitement when a restaurant playing on that name setup in my general area.
The seating. Decor was similar to the movie I remembered, set in rural Japan, it was old and full of a mismatch of wooden fittings.
Jasmine tea. Decent if nothing to set the world on fire.
Braised vegetables, tofu and chestnut w/ lotus crisp, sesame seeds, pickled cucumber. Interesting dish but not really for me as it was strangely too sweet. The differing textures of lotus crisp, pickled cucumber and chewy soft tofu was a nice touch though.
Warm knife cut noodles, braised cumin lamb, fresh coriander. Rather good, even if they were a bit stingy on the lamb pieces. Noodles were bouncy and fulsome. Lamb was decent if a bit lacking in the quantity department.
Chicken and prawn siu mai steamed dim sum style. This was the real test, as this place billed itself as a dumpling place. Although with a nice meaty umami taste, the fish roe didn’t add much. All in all, rather underwhelming.
Prawn meatball, spiced pork rolled in sticky rice w/ peanut sauce. A bit of a strange dish, the meatball kind of fell apart. A bit bland too. Almost tasted like it was generic meat mashed together. Should have guessed as with their short hand of “w/” maybe they took some shortcuts with the meatballs.
Crispy roast pork belly with plum sauce. Excellent, with crispy skin and meltingly soft pork below. They got this right at least, mixing all that lovely piggy together. I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go and you can at least hope that your sacrifice will mean something (thanks mr piggy).
Perhaps the word “neighbour” is a bit too overused these days. Trying to denote an aspect of undeserved friendship. Just like those salesmen who all address you as “friend”, the bastardisation of “neighbour” brings a shiver to my spine. I don’t want to be associated with those type of people. So although my neighbour Totoro will stay that way, at least he wouldn’t run away screaming if he went to my neighbour the dumpling. Except – I think he is vegetarian.
A quiet eating 7.5/10.
Lunch (5 dishes for 2 people) was GBP30 per person excluding drinks and service.
178-180 Victoria Park Rd
London E9 7HD