Taste: Mandarin Palace

We've rarely the occasion to be near Gants Hill on the weekends, but being in the area for an east London hockey match was a great opportunity to visit a favorite place. Having just returned from a week in Hong Kong, Chinese food is barely top of the genre wish-list, however there's little excuse not to come to one of the finest dim-sum restaurants in London on the way through.

The Mandarin Palace is right on the corner of Gants Hill roundabout on the busy A12. Nothing special from the outside - but don't let that deceive you. Inside is a run of small rooms, stylish and calmly dressed with traditional Chinese items and artifacts. It has a comforting elegance without the typical brute-force oriental onslaught (think Canary Wharf's Royal China) or standard Chinatown wall-size paddy field frieze.

However, not here today to browse the exhibits. We and the mostly Asian contingent have come for dim-sum, and here is exactly the place I'm referring to after visiting Yauatcha. They've pretty much every dish going; har-gau, siu-mai, cha-siu-bao... all splendidly fresh and priced at around £2/dish. My taste for dim-sum is purely implicit, delicious is as close as we'll get.

Well worth the trip.

Mandarin Palace:
559-561 Cranbrook Rd,
Gants Hill, Ilford
Tel: 020 8550 7661

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