Review of 'Leong's Legend'

whatsapp_image_2021-05-24_at_18.56.12_2_.jpg The thing about Soho and Chinatown in particular is that it is difficult to find somewhere that serves authentic dishes and, not only that, good food as well. There are lots that serve what the British seem to think is Chinese food but to find something truly authentic is difficult. To add insult to injury often there seems to be a separate menu for those that speak Mandarin/Cantonese that does not exist in English…I have had my share of extraordinarily disappointing food in Chinatown so, would my recent visit to “Leong's Legend” in the heart of the area, smack in the middle of Gerard Street, be any different?

Interior

To be fair, “Leong's Legend” does have “Hotpot” in big letters on the exterior but they did prominently feature on their menu a number of dim sum dishes. We visited as we had purchased an “all you can eat dim sum” voucher from “Time Out” for £22/each which included a drink of prosecco (or, as it turns out, any drink from their drinks menu which was a relief to me as I don't drink). It was a bit tricky with the lockdown as they have only been open for in-door dining for a week and the voucher expires in a few days…but, we managed to snag a table for the typically busy dim sum time of lunch on a Sunday (visit Royal China in Queensway on a Sunday and you will surely vouch for this as you wait patiently in the hour-long queue). We were even warned that we had to claim our table within ten minutes of our reservation or we might not get it…In any case, we were among the first people there.

The small interior on the ground floor (I believe there is also another level) lit with an attempt at modern lighting had several worn, black lacquered, wooden tables and a couple of booths in the window. Chairs were basic, wooden features offering no padding – not really screaming “sit down and stay a while”. The walls feature some interesting pictures of historic Chinese figures including warriors.

Out Front Window

To get the details out of the way, the “all you can eat” special was limited to 90 minutes. You are able to order 3 dishes each then, after you have completed them, you can order another 2 dishes each then, after those are gone, you can order another 1 dish each…then 1 dish each until you finish, pass out, or your time is up (in our case, the first). We were given a sheet listing dim sum we could choose from and ended up picking a wide variety of dishes, ending up with a respectable 14 dishes between the two of us.

Round 2

Particular highlights were their delicious “xiao long bao” Shanghai-style dumplings (with liquid broth) - Nicely cooked and delicious broth. We tried both the “Spicy Pork” and “Black Truffle & Pork” offerings. Also notable were the “Spicy Duck Dumplings” which were pot-stickers filled with a wonderfully tasty duck filling.

Round 3

Unfortunately, the rest of the dishes were average, at best, lacking any real amount of flavour. The “Shrimp Puffs” (3 pieces) were deep-fried shrimp (prawn) dumplings that, oddly, were missing their mayonnaise dip which left the dish half complete (no, they did not have any mayo – I asked). The “Glutinmous Rice with Chicken and Pork Sausage Wrapped in Lotus Leaf” were small and had very little filling but what was there was quite lacking in flavour though the four dips we were presented on arrival helped with this.

Round 4 - Dips

Even the promising sounding “Pork & Prawn Won Ton in Spicy Sauce” ended up being a number of bland dumplings in a spicy sauce that packed very little punch. The “Roast Pork Cheung Fun” was recommended by our waitress (though my companion is not a fan, in general, of these wide, goopy noodles) and was OK though the noodles were far too thick and, again, the pork filling lacking any real flavour.

I could go on…But, you get the drift.

Round 4 - Stir Fry

Round 4 - Congee

For our final “round” we strayed from the dim sum and went for “Stir Fried Chicken Noodles” and “Pork & Preserved Egg Congee”. No surprise that these rather large dishes also failed to deliver on flavour. The congee simply needed a bit of seasoning while the greasy noodles were a sad, grey, affair that delivered on fat but not on taste.

Eating

The staff were helpful and patient explaining menu items (though even if not required). With our vouchers we only paid a service charge which was added to the bill at 12.5% of our voucher cost.

All in all, unfortunately, this was a disappointing meal. Perhaps their “hotpot” is better but the dim sum was somewhat disappointing.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2021-05-24


Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 39 Gerrard St, London W1D 5QD ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Leicester Square TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Soho

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7434 0899

URL: https://chinatown.co.uk/en/restaurant/leongs-legend/