|10am - 10pm|
|2101, D2 Happy Valley International Cuisine District, Huaqiao City, 16 Huaxi Ave. |
| 028 6189 8868|
|Comments (Add Comment)|
Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
We’ve heard for a long time that Laurel Restaurant serves up some of the best Cantonese food in Chengdu, but the restaurant’s location is so far off our usual radar we haven’t been in to try it until recently. Like many of the eateries in Happy Valley’s neighbouring Overseas Chinese Town, Laurel is more formal of a restaurant than a person would expect to find near an amusement park. We arrived with a group of colleagues for dim sum and were led into an elegant main dining room. Dim sum is ordered from a check-off menu that has each item carefully translated into English (applause), but the pricing code, with each item costing 4-24RMB per order, is only explained in Chinese (boo).
The first thing we asked for was the steamed shrimp dumplings, a signature dish at Laurel. They landed on the table still wafting steam and had tender skins with a filling of pure and very good shrimp; no additional vegetables, sauces or other distractions were needed. The shao mai had fresh, steamed, yellow skins beautifully showing off the shrimp on top. Steamed glutinous rice wrapped with lotus leaf usually come in unwieldy portions but the mini ones at Laurel were perfect dim sum size and had a great mixture of filling. The turnip cake, described on the menu as pan-fried turnip pudding, had coarse shredded turnip and sweet chunks of Cantonese-style sausage and an addictive spicy sauce. Next time we would pass on the Lauren special steamed vermicelli roll (chang fen), more ordinary than special, and the ye er ba, which were not that much more interesting than ye er ba you’d find on the street. We had a few lulls between dishes, which raised our expectations for the food that arrived, but nothing disappointed.
The front house staff was very pleasant, but the servers had a bit too much to do and were at times tough to wave down. We had also called ahead, yet nobody seemed to be expecting us when we arrived, then after we were seated someone called to see if we were on our way. Although the food was great, this kind of service hiccup makes it hard to recommend for business dining. We thought Laurel was a great place to get together with friends. The dinner menu, which we didn’t try, would run RMB150 or so per person; our dim sum came to just north of RMB50 per person.