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Price Range: Avg. Price per meal R 35 (but you need to have a couple)
Type: Dim Sum (as the name suggests)
Crowd: One and All – especially those who like to share a meal
Day Of the Week: Thursday
Time: 19:00 pm
Address: 289 Long Street, CBD
Ever had Dim Sum?
Ashamedly, when asked this question, I could only admit to having enjoyed this style of cuisine once before in my life. Fair enough, I have ordered the odd pot sticker or steamed dumpling at the likes of Sevruga before but never had I had a meal solely comprising of a Dim Sum offering.
For those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, Dim Sum, as far as my pretty naive knowledge on the subject goes, is a style of Asian cuisine where you are effectively eating many small parcels of food, be it steamed dumplings with a protein filling, sharing a seafood broth or munching down on some Asian style ribs, importantly however, all in small portions.
Very much like the Adriatic’s have tapas style eating, Dim Sum feels a bit like the Asian equivalent. Interestingly, I had never thought of an entire dinner comprising of this style of eating but South China Dim Sum has opened my eyes to an entire world which I must be honest, I really enjoy.
You will find this restaurant (which is a restaurant only by virtue of the fact that they have a kitchen, a chef and some tables) at the very top of Long Street – just below the baths. Nothing screams luxury in the premises itself, but don’t let this deceive you – the expression “you cannot judge a book by it’s cover” certainly rings true in this case.
Although not maybe the lap of luxury, South China Dim Sum has a great little variety of items on the menu. These range from a seafood broth to pockets and parcels with all sorts of little treats packed tightly within their translucent shells.
A meal at South China Dim Sum is best shared by a group of around 3-6 in my opinion. Each portion costs around R35 and comes with around 3 servings. Ideally you want to go to “the tasting menu” route and order a whole host of different dishes and sample as you go. Surprisingly, you will find yourself happily fed by the time the bill is ordered. Sticking on theme, you will also find some local Asian favourites in the fridges, from beers like “Tiger” to the slightly harder stuff – keeping it quite a pleasant experience, as though transported ever so briefly to the East.
On the service side, I think you get what you pay for to be honest. Young waiters, adequately clued up on the menu at best I would say. This does little to add to the experience but at the same time, the restaurant is so small so you are never waiting for extended periods of time for food or service, so it does little to detract.
Quite pleasantly, you will find yourself leaving South China Dim Sum with a slightly heavier pocket than you would on most dinner nights out. Although you are ordering a lot of dishes, with the cost per dish being quite low and there being a lot of sharing, the meal works out to be very reasonable.
Since the likes of South China Dim Sum have come on to the scene (I think it was one of the first), this style of eating seems to have expanded a little more and recently Beijing Opera in De Waterkant as well as one or two other exclusively Dim Sum spots have opened up in Cape Town. Whether this is a sign of an Asian invasion I am not sure but I doubt it – not that I would mind either, Dim Sum seems to really hit the spot if you are a light eater who prefers the tapas style meal to a more traditional larger South African style meal.
All in I would certainly recommend paying South China Dim Sum a visit. They do good food and if you are looking for a little mid-week breakaway from the kitchen, then this would be a good bet. Bookings seem to be the preferential option as the restaurant fills out quickly so get in there early.