Dim Sum Restaurant


THE steamed salted lava buns, then: black as coal, puffy, shiny, gloriously aloof, they sit in their little bamboo steamer basket while Garry and I spoon-shred an old-school banana fritter with not enough ice cream (£6.80) and talk mince about motor bike trips.

Garry taking deep draughts of his Asahi (ooft, £7 a pint), while I clear the palate with a cheeky little slug of cool, crisp Diet Coke (£3.25 a bottle) and disrespectfully mimic the sound of his little Triumph Triple buzzing around the Western Isles – neeeeeee (gear change) neeeeeee (repeat). How we laugh. Well, I do.

And still those buns wait. Wallflowers on this table of treats. Around us, the American tourists (we presume) at the table behind are heading back out into TripAdvisor land. The foursome from the Chinese community (also presumed) at the wall near the door have somehow packed up and left without me even noticing.

A couple of young dudes in baseball jackets are now hanging about at the front door chatting to the boss-man. And still the lava buns sit. The bill does too, incidentally, and since you ask, it has topped £70 for food and all of that – yes, all – has been spent on dim-sum alone.

The young waiter right now is clearing away the very last chicken satay bun (£6.80 for three) on the grounds we’re obviously never going to eat it.

HeraldScotland: Dim Sum RestaurantDim Sum Restaurant (Image: Colin Mearns)

He’s right. We’re just not that keen on these puffy, very white, doughy balls with some filling hidden in there somewhere, somehow. Not that keen either on the chilli chicken dumplings (£6.80) and therefore only two were eaten, both by me, before I decided I don’t actually like their strong aftertaste. We liked, though, the haggis dumplings (£6.80) in quaint little stand-uppy tubular cases, single pea on top of one, two peas on another, and is that turnip? A juicy eat anyway.

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We liked too the fat purses of scallop and Stornoway wonton (£6.80) though was there much scallop sensation in that? Really? Hmm. Nah. The crispy duck rolls (OK enough, every dim-sum is £6.80) surprised us both with their hot, flaky crispy casing crunching into a salty, seasoned, almost runny filling that does indeed taste of duck. In a good way, I’m reminded somehow of those Findus pancakes we used to occasionally get at home as kids, though I’m pretty sure they weren’t £6.80 a pop.

It’s the fag end of the evening now and in this restaurant – a low-key, wooden table-topped, fully ceramic tiled, corner spot – there’s still a faint evening light filtering in from the street outside. The staff have just pulled up seats and seem to be settling down for their own dinner. Only the very last customers are lingering. That will be us. Those buns now being the only thing remaining between us and West Nile Street in Glasgow at getting-near-to-crazy-time.

HeraldScotland: Dim Sum RestaurantDim Sum Restaurant (Image: Colin Mearns)

Oh, hang on. Forget what I said about everything being £6.80. Looking at the bill: there were those pork dumplings. Hand-made, apparently, casing alternately glistening waxily or caramelised appetisingly by a very hot pan. Twelve Scottish bangers for six.

We enjoyed those, I remind Garry. And those subtle yet savoury smoked haddock and leek dumplings that we had in the first round of dim sum. Different. Interesting.

But yes, the salted lava buns are still sitting here. Untouched. Is there something off-putting about food that is perhaps dyed that colour, I say, nodding towards the liu shao bao – to give them their Sunday name. It’s an unusual sight. And the filling is salted egg yolk.

Not, perhaps, the most enticing combo. And yet, someone has to taste one. Which will be me. And … second surprise of the night coming up. The first being that this restaurant called Dim Sum Restaurant has a menu on which only a very small portion is dim sum.

This then, is the better surprise. A salty, sweet, toffeeish sensation, the bun super-soft and very fresh, the whole thing momentarily oozing an unusual moreish custard. I eat the first one, then hoover up the last. Delicious.

Dim Sum Restaurant

69 West Nile Street



Opening: seven days

Menu: It’s called Dim-Sum Restaurant yet has a surprisingly small selection, amongst more mainstream dishes, but they’re at least interesting. 3/5

Service: Pleasant, efficient, boss man wandered over to chat to us in the end and there is a well-run feel to the place. 4/5

Price: For the dim-sum? Come in threes largely. Cost £6.80 mainly. It can easily add up. 3/5

Atmosphere: Was busy when we were in mid-week, but still quite relaxed, old skool feel about the place. 3/5

Food: By no means was every dim-sum a winner; nor were they all interesting. But haddock and Leek, Scallop and Stornoway, and those Salted Lava - worth a whirl. 6/10

Total: 19/30