Friday, 14 August 2015

Restaurant Review - Shikumen at the Dorsett Regency

Shikumen at the Dorsett Regency
Shikumen is Shepherd's Bush's glossiest new restaurant. Part of the huge new Dorsett Regency hotel on the west side of Shepherd's Bush Green, Shikumen brings a level of polish to our neighbourhood that you'd expect to find in the more glamorous parts of the West End. In fact, it's so posh it feels like it doesn't really belong in the Bush at all.

Time was (not so long ago) when Chinese food in Shepherd's meant deep fried prawn balls and spring rolls. But Shikumen is a long way from the corner take-out. It forms a part of the shiny new Dorsett Regency hotel which now occupies the former Pavilion, a Grade II* listed building that sat empty and dark for a decade on the west side of Shepherd's Bush Green until re-opening as a luxury hotel last year.

Dorsett Hospitality is a Hong Kong based company that, according to its website, "aggressively pursues the 'Chinese Wallet' strategy". And indeed, many of the restaurant's customers seem to be Chinese visitors.

The name of the hotel is a bit odd though. Why "Dorsett"? And shouldn't it be spelled "Dorset"? The restaurant itself reflects this identity crisis. The food, staff and decor are Chinese, but the overall impression was less of being transported to Beijing than of being in an airport departure lounge.  The Jazz muzak could have been piped from a 5 star hospitality suite anywhere on the planet, and at times I almost forgot I was in The Bush.

Airport Hotel?
We had Peking Duck, which was excellent, but which was obviously not an adventurous choice.  When I phoned to make the reservation, the nice lady who took the call already seemed to know exactly what I was going to ask for.

The service was superb; courteous without being intrusive, and I thought the food was excellent, though my date disagreed, pointing to the slightly glutinous noodles that followed the main event.

And the Peking Duck she pronounced "not as good as Tian Fu" - our local Chinese restaurant on Wood Lane. But then, that is no disgrace, as I think Tian Fu's Peking Duck is pretty good too.

We didn't try the dim sum which, according to other reviews of Shikumen, is their signature dish. So, a good excuse to go back then.

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