29 May 2012

Yi-Ban

This is not only heaven for fans of Chinese food but it is in the most unusual setting of nearly any restaurant I've been to I think. I am too lazy to bother going to East London very often but I will traipse out on the DLR to Royal Albert any day of the week and any time of day to go to Yi Ban.

At first you wonder why you've bothered. There's nothing else to see from the station except a big road and the canal. Then you notice London City Airport on the other side of the water and, as you wonder down the canal it becomes apparent that there is an interesting building looming that has its second floor window floor to ceiling. This is the mighty Yi-Ban where you can eat fantastically while watching planes take off and land just over the water. OK so I should have said it is a spectacular setting if you find watching planes exciting - I'm no plane spotter but I'm afraid of flying so watching them in action, whilst smugly stuffing my face on dry land flicks my switch.

Lunchtime is a primarily Dim-Sum menu with everything from the usual dumplings to chicken claws in black bean sauce and spicy jelly fish with duck tongue. I really recommend Barbecued roast pork buns. crystal prawn dumplings, seaweed king prawn rolls and their crispy seaweed is to die for. The service is charming, attentive and quick and the majority of the patrons are Asian - which I take to be a good sign. The worst Chinese food I've eaten came from a restaurant heaving with trendy white Londoners (heaving being the operative word - I got food poisoning).

In the evening the menu becomes more what you would expect from any Chinese restaurant but the food is again way beyond anything I've had before. Incredible crispy duck and pancakes, tasty salt and chili squid and again the seaweed were particular highlights. A wonderful array of vegetable dishes, garlic asparagus, pak choi, crispy tofu and Chinese mushrooms, are really worth trying even if you tend towards being a bit carnivorous. Crispy shredded beef and Cantonese roasted belly pork are my particular recommendations for main courses.

A real wow for a first date, not cheap (about £40 per head including drinks), but worth every penny. Yi-Ban on Urbanspoon

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