James Reader enjoys Hong Kong dim sum in Preston.
Go down the steps under the former Conservative club in Guildhall Street and you’ll encounter an oriental dining experience which is a cut above the rest.
Preston seems relatively well served for Chinese restaurants and buffets so the recently-opened ‘Face’ tries to tread a different path by bringing the Dim Sum experience to the city centre.
First impressions at Face are good.
A lot of care and expense seems to have been taken decorating the basement of this beautiful Preston landmark.
Second impressions are also good as the friendly waiter goes through the dining options, and they could need some explaining.
In case you don’t know (and I didn’t), Dim Sum is a style of eating popular in Hong Kong where bite-sized chunks of goodness are served up on a collection of small plates.
Think of it as Chinese tapas.
Before 7pm, three lots of Dim Sum cost £11.50.
Each item of Dim Sum has about three or four pieces of food (and costs about £4.50 each after 7pm).
We didn’t really know how much to order, so we plumped for six plates plus a serving of sirloin strips in satay sauce and fried rice.
As usual, we also ordered chips and ketchup for our most junior diner.
We were hungry and It took about 25 minutes before the food arrived – but it was worth waiting for.
The servings were, of course, small but the flavours were intensely tasty.
I can’t remember every piece of Dim Sum but we had pork siu mai (dumplings), tempura prawns, sweet steamed dumplings for the children and I also took the opportunity to get a few exotic extras such as chicken feet.
Putting such flavoursome small servings of food into your mouth was a bit like having a high brow nouveau cuisine experience – but at a much more reasonable price.
Dim Sum is best shared and this makes for a very sociable meal.
The quality of the food is obvious, so you’ll have get in quick before it all goes.
Strangely, no one was as keen on the chickens’ feet as me – maybe because they didn’t fancy spitting out dozens of tiny bones into a napkin.
The bill with drinks came to a pleasing £45.
Face is a great addition to Preston’s dining experience.