Friday, March 28, 2008


The plan had been to go for Sunday brunch somewhere with crisp white table cloths and live jazz. Alas, the only place I could locate via google that fitted the bill charged £70 a head. (Does anyone have any better suggestions??)
So our friends suggested dim sum near St Paul's, intriguing me as I hadn't noticed any dumpling joints around there, let alone ones open on weekends.
d.SUM2 was a new-ish looking-joint in the warren of shops and cafes around Paternoster Square, which was bravely toying with Sunday opening. We were the first to arrive just after its midday opening, although a handful of other tables filled up later with couples, tourists, and families. The room was trendy, minimalist and not very memorable, though the windowed front allowed for some people watching.
I automatically docked points for stupid name with oddball punctuation, but was soon won over by natty glass teapots and tiny shot-glass like cups. Plus, they let you tick what dishes you want on a little piece of paper which is quite fun. We each chose three, doubling up on some of the options as most of the dishes come in a trio --fair enough as four is an unlucky number in China and much of Asia, but a bit annoying if you happen to be superstition-shunning Europeans dining in a foursome.
Of the dishes that stand out in my memory, the lobster dumplings were decadent, delicate and delicious in equal measures (£4.60). The barbeque pork puff (£3.80) was a pleasant surprise thanks to an unusually high ratio of sticky, sweet pork in the bready white cloud of the bun -- though I still have to say I don't like the puffs as much as the dumplings, especially ones containing prawns and chives (£3.80). I tried the lotus-wrapped sticky rice for the first time, which was every bit as sticky as advertised, and surprisingly a bit sweet despite being sprinkled with meat and seafood (£4.20).

The crispy won ton (£3.50) and the squid in satay sauce (£3.80) were also good. I must learn how to make the sauce as there's vast quantities of squid languishing in the freezer from a trip to Billingsgate market, when we got far too excited by all the different fishes and the low prices and bought stuff with no cooking plans in mind (which explains the three fish heads, also still in the freezer).
There's a decent wine and cocktail list, as well as Chinese teas (from £2.80) in the pretty pots, various exotic juices and a comparatively dull selection of bottled lagers (£3.60).
The service was friendly, and very apologetic for having forgotten to bring a second round of drinks.

Conclusion: it was a nice, low-key brunch, though overall I probably prefer my dim sum joints a bit more old-fashioned and bustling rather than sleek and modern.

d.SUM2, 14 Paternoster Row, EC4M 7EJ; Tel. 0207 248 2288; Tube: St Paul's;

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