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Below, you’ll find some recent reviews of Yi-Ban by TimeOut and


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With many of us still dining out on our golden successes at the Beijing Olympics the taste for all things Chinese has never been sharper. Yi-Ban has just celebrated five years at the London Regatta Centre. Situated beyond Excel in an area often overlooked, Yi-Ban has forged a reputation for excellent Chinese cuisine that has seen it thrive while rivals have come and gone. Director Michael Mach explains what lies behind the restaurant’s success.


“We offer authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum and people really like it. Most of our customers learn about us by word of mouth and we have a lot of regulars”, he says. “I think they like the fact that our chef goes back to China from time to time to learn new things and we always incorporate that into our menu”. But the dim sum is particularly popular. With a recommendation like that it would seem rude not to sample the vast range of dim sum on offer.


Snow Pea And Crab Meat Dumplings (£6) were succulent while the Shanghai Pork Dim Sum just melted in the mouth. Accompanied by Sesame Toast (£5), Pak Choi (£7), Egg Fried Rice (£5) and the spectacularly named Spring Onion Deep Fried Doughnut Cheung Fun (£6), you’ll need a Michael Phelps-sized appetite to manage it all.


But there’s more to this restaurant than dim sum. The adventurous can order from the authentic Chinese menu, which includes temptations such as Spicy Jelly Fish With Duck Tongue (£6). It is much adored by the many Chinese who frequent the restaurant, but perhaps not for the average British palate.


If that seems a tad too authentic for you, just stick to the main menu. A quarter of Aromatic Crispy Duck (£8) or Shark’s Fin Soup (£7) for starters, followed by Dover Sole (£30) or Seabass (£25) for mains, fit the bill, while familiar dishes such as Cashew Nut Chicken (£7) or Crispy Chilli Beef (£7) will please your inner sinophile. You can wash all this down with wines priced from £13 a bottle or slake your thirst with Tiger or Tsing Tao beer.


And with set menus priced from a very reasonable £18 per head this is one big production that won’t blow an Olympic-sized hole in your wallet.

Time Out Said...

Diners looking for a glad time should head down to this Docklands restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night, when the long, floor-to-ceiling windowed room (with stunning views of London City Airport) is transformed into a convivial hub filled with energetic live jazz. A smart bar at the rear of the restaurant is a popular point for punters, who come for the drink as much as the food.


While crispy duck (expertly shredded by dapper waiters) seems to be a mainstay, we suggest trying the chef specials – particularly the ‘bay fong tong’ crab. This Hong Kong classic has the crustacean served buried under a flurry of boldly flavoured fried garlic and dried chillies. Steamed egg three ways was tame in comparison: the savoury custard curiously bland, even though there were copious amounts of salted egg yolk and chunks of thousand-year-old egg. Stir-fried pea shoots, perfectly rendered, came in generous portions. Service was attentive yet unintrusive, and staff seemed to be having as good a time as the diners.


This is a place that is clearly confident in its abilities, not a surprise considering its name: yi ban in Mandarin means first class.


Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide 2009