For me, dim sum is a gift from the gods; a delightful little parcel of savoury or sweet goodness. Serious mouthwatering stuff. It’s like honey to the bee (I promise no further Billie Piper references for the remainder of this review).
A bunch of colleagues and I headed down Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia last week for a spot of lunch between meetings and casually strolled into Dim t; naturally I was rather looking forward to ordering the signature dish.
Dim Sum at Dim t, Charlotte Street London
I kick-started lunch with a light appetiser of roasted pork dim sum buns, two in a basket arriving for £3.95. These made their way to the table after 25 minutes (!) but were everything I hoped they would be – and more. Sweet, steamy, sticky and incredibly delicious, I was looking for my third bun before realising I’d made light work of the basket. The dim sum was most excellent.
Given Dim t is obviously firmly focused as a London dim sum restaurant, I was surprised that Dim t had a relatively small dim sum menu. Priced at £3.95, options include fish (prawn, sea bass & miso), vegetable, meat (chicken, beef and pork) alongside the above roasted pork buns. My fellow guests shared favorable comments about their dim sum, although all equally waited 25 minutes for this to arrive.
After devouring the dim sum (and I continue to salivate at the point of this write-up at the thought of it…), I washed it all down with a Boylan black cherry cane sugar soda from Dim t’s drinks menu, which complemented the sweetness of the previous course of dim sum perfectly; if you’ve not tried one of these, expect a real punchy flavour. Boylan have been lovingly crafting this stuff for years and use a blend of real cherries, no artificial syrup here thank you! All rather lovely.
Main: Dim t’s Pad Thai
I decided on Pad Thai; rice noodles, sweet tamarind sauce with chicken, crushed peanuts, egg and bean sprouts. Waiting another 40 minutes (I mean, really?), this little beautiful dish arrived at the table:
I wasn’t expecting to, but I loved this dish and it was equally as good as the dim sum; I enjoyed the softness of the rice noodles with the crunch of the peanuts and beansprouts, the tamarind sauce giving a lovely rich flavour.
So all was going rather swimmingly, right?
Well. It’s worth noting at this point that the service at Dim t, as well as being frustratingly slow (we’d been in the restaurant for just under two hours for a lunch service…), was rather unapologetic. Making it clear we were pressed for time, our waiter made no attempt to apologise for the wait and added insult to injury by seemingly vanishing after presenting the bill. Perhaps worse, no apology was offered when a vegetarian in our group was served a dish with chicken (!), despite having opted for a non-meat variant. What a disappointment given the great food as outlined above.
What’s interesting is that the experience I had doesn’t seem to be isolated, at Dim t Charlotte Street or at one of their other London locations.. a quick search on social media flags up similar experiences across the chain.
— David Bailey (@dpb69) June 28, 2016
I’m sorry, but pretty crappy service @dim_t London Bridge tonight; terrible service, miscommunication abound, wrong orders & just bad food.
— Rob Dyson (@RobmDyson) June 6, 2016
Without a doubt, Dim t is one of the better meals I’ve had in London and the quality and presentation of the food is some of the best I’ve seen in Fitzrovia / Soho / Charlotte Street. That all comes at the cost of service, which totally spoils the experience.
Dim T, Charlotte Street, London: Review verdict:
The sole reason I coerced colleagues into Dim t from the street outside was for the dim sum, which I have to admit was rather heavenly. I also hugely enjoyed the pad Thai, which was fresh, flavorsome and really enjoyable. Top marks and no faults from me on this front, an excellent meal for sure.
However, the appallingly slow (a whopping TWO HOURS, extremely problematic for an office lunch..!) and generally bland unapologetic service – not to mention a vegetarian being served chicken (I mean, really?) – suggests to me that diners would be better off seeking alternative venues for any dim sum craving. With London Chinatown not too far away , I would urge you to perhaps consider there first; you’ll save a fortune, be in-and-out much quicker and probably receive speedier and friendlier service. And then there’s the whole host of restaurants sat on the doorstep up and down London’s Charlotte Street, of course.
Or visit, but expect a wait. And check your dish if you’re a veggie.
Update 23/10/16: I’ve just posted a review of the Bang Bang Vietnamese Canteen just up the road near Warren Street, it would be worth a look as a very solid alternative.