Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We went to Wembley to watch a Wimbledon womble.
Well, actually we went to watch AFC Wimbledon thrash Corinthian Casuals (the descendants of the team that ruled the leagues more than a century ago) by 8 goals to 1.
Personally, I think Wimbledon won because they were cheered on by a womble, and Corinthians lost because of the very ugly colour scheme on their tops (half pink, half brown, split vertically).
In any case, we needed sustenance to prepare us for the spectacle ahead. Alas, it was Sunday and the local Iraqi restaurant was shut, leaving us with a modern dim sum joint named after a Taiwanese mountain.
The chef was apparently poached from Yauatacha, and there was a reassuring number of Chinese people inside. Plaques at the entrance proclaimed that it's golden dim sum won a runner up prize from The Restaurant Magazine and that the joint was nominated (small letters) for the Harrow (tiny letters) Times (big letters, same font as the national paper) 2007 restaurant award (even bigger letters).
The room was large but soul-less in a modern, corporate hotel-like way. It was also large and quite full, leading to some confusion as to which waiter was serving us and to a longish wait for the food.
First to arrive was a dish of char-grilled asparagus, crunchy lotus root with Swiss cheese holes, mushrooms, Macedonia nuts (we suspect the menu lies and they were Macadamia, but are not sufficient nut experts to know for sure) and other veg (£7.50). The sauce was a bit gloopy, but that seems to be the Chinese way, and otherwise it was a good mix of flavours and textures.
The lauded golden dumplings (£2.80) turned out to be balls of gold-coloured dough filled with juicy prawns. They were nice, but I wouldn't give them any kind of award. The long cheung fung rolls came stuffed with roast duck rather than the prawns we'd asked for, but were pretty good.
For me the highlight were the prawn and chive dumplings (£2.60), pretty in pale green dough and packed with lots of fresh chives. The char sui sticky pork bun (£2.30) was merely alright, not as good as the ones at d.SUM2. The final plate of dumplings was bland, but probably contained prawns.
But I am being too harsh - the food's decent overall, the prices are also decent and you shouldn't underestimate either of those in a location that's both a)far out and b)next to a big tourist-trap-type venue.
Alisan; The Junction, Engineers Way, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 0EG; Tel. 020 8903 3888; Tube: Wembley Park; www.alisan.co.uk.