We were in London for a wedding a couple of years ago, and fullcopy suggested a dim sum place. A particularly high-end, chichi dim sum place.
But hey, it was supposed to be good dim sum. So why not?
15-17 Broadwick Street
http://www.yauatcha.com (pretentious and lacking in useful content)
M - Sa: 1200 - 2345
Su: 1200 - 2230
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
(last visit: January 2007)
Yauatcha has excellent dim sum. Let's get that out of the way right off. It's also, to quote trowa_barton's reaction to the prices, "hard-core". But it has the inspired idea of having a lower level devoted to dim sum and an upper level to French pastries. This is brilliant. Someone needs to do this elsewhere as well. We had our dim sum lunch, accompanied by a fine tea selection--this is England, after all--and then went upstairs for the sort of exquisite creations the French do so well. Both the dim sum and pâtisserie are first-rate.
Upstairs and downstairs, the delicacies are presented with care and elegance. Service is unobtrusive but attentive. We went early afternoon on a weekday, so there were empty tables, but I'm told that at busier times a reservation would be an fine idea. Millions were spent on the sleek interior decor, and it shows. No carts; you order from a menu.
Unfortunately, as it was three years ago, I can't come up with exact details of what we ordered, but I did remember that the dim sum standards were available, and some innovative dishes as well. Upstairs, it was a similar story. Many standard French pastries were on display; all that we had were excellent.
My mother often critiques dim sum dishes as to their refinement. They should be small, well-formed, and made with care; she sometimes dismisses some dim sum restaurants as serving "crude" dishes. None of the dishes here would ever be described as "crude"--by her or anyone else.
All of this comes at a price, of course. I checked a more recent menu (PDF) from london-eating.co.uk which lists some prices. A sample, (all prices per order):
Pork and prawn shumai, £3.90
Scallop shumai, £5.90
Har gau, £4.40
Sticky rice in lotus leaf, £3.90
Chicken feet in chilli black bean sauce, £3.80
Char sui bun, £3.20
Sweet black sesame ball, £3.00
Prawn cheung fun, £4.50
Pan-fried turnip cake, £5.50
Teas range from £3.00 to £4.20.
I seem to remember getting out of there for something in the £20 range, per person, for dim sum, tea, and dessert combined. It was lunch, and we weren't overeating.
So, if you want tasty dim sum followed by some great French pastries--and you don't mind spending $35 at lunch--this is your place.