Yi-Ban is located by an old dock near London city airport, hardly a place that will get a lot of passing trade. It is also bereft of decoration, people don’t go there for the surroundings. However, when we went on a Saturday lunch it was completely full and we had to wait for a table. This suggested the restaurant was good enough to be a destination; people are willing to make the trek out there in order to eat.
They serve dim sum during the day, and this is what we ordered. For this they give you a dim sum menu and a piece of paper on which you tick the dish numbers you want. This seemed like a good solution for taking orders for their stretched staff who were rushed off their feet.
Everything we ordered was of a high standard. I really enjoyed the char sui buns and the pork and crab dumplings. Crystal prawn dumplings were also good as was the roast pork cheung fen. Perhaps the deep-fried shredded squid was a bit rubbery, but the chili sauce that came with it was very nice. We ordered nine dim sum plates between the two of us and this was plenty for a hearty lunch.
The waiting staff seemed a bit rushed off their feet, there was a wedding reception going on in one half of the restaurant, but the food came speedily enough once we ordered. I wouldn’t bother ordering wine there, everything they had was rubbish. Not that this really appeals to me, but it seemed very popular with families. The food was good and cheap at a bit over thirty pounds for our meal with beer. We shall return for more of their dim sum, certainly.
They also have a branch in Chelsea, which might be a bit less of a trek for those in central London.
Contact: Yi-Ban, London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road, Royal Albert Dock. Telephone: 02074736699.