City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Chop Chop (Leith)


Average Rating:
4
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Leith and Leith Walk
Serving times: 
Mon-Thur: 18:00-22:00, Fri: 18:00-22:30, Sat: 12:00-14:00 & 17:00-22:30, Sun: 12:30-14:30 & 17:00-22:00
Telephone: 
(0131) 553 1818

Leith based branch of the Gordon Ramsay endorsed dumpling empire builders.


The Reviews

4

Dumplings dumplings dumplings.

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 4:43pm

Mention Chop Chop to any Edinburgh restaurant-goer who has dined there, and they’ll inevitably respond with a wistful far-away look, gums salivating, and mutter something about dumplings. Chop Chop really is all about the dumplings. But there’s still plenty else on offer in what refers to itself as “Edinburgh’s favourite Chinese restaurant”.

In its first form as a small diner in Haymarket, Chop Chop built up an enviable reputation and legion of returning diners which eventually brought it to the attention of Gordon Ramsay’s “F Word”, as well as recently winning an AA rosette. Emboldened by the success of that original incarnation, which still services the needs of the western reaches of the city, Chop Chop founder Jian Wang last year opened much larger premises down on the Leith waterfront, in the middle of what is increasingly the Michelin-starred hub of the Edinburgh restaurant scene.

So, last year I paid a visit to Chop Chop in Leith shortly after it had opened. And it didn’t go very well. The much-praised dumplings were stale with a reheated air to them, and a near calamitous technical malfunction involving a waiter, our table and a tray filled with glasses didn’t exactly get the evening off to a smooth start. So, I decided that teething problems were to blame and I should return to Chop Chop another day.

And I’m glad I did, because on my second visit I totally understood why Chop Chop has such a great reputation. On a Thursday evening, after passing several near deserted restaurants en route, Chop Chop is bustling and full of life, despite the vast space. Service is near effervescently fervent while happy to step back when required. Glittering red Tables filled with friends, families and couples waving chopsticks and it’s clearly happy days all round.

The menu fairly extensively covers all the main bases of Chinese cuisine as we know it in the west, and probably the best way to sample a load of it is to go for the Unlimited Banquet. While it may seem a bit pricey per person, it really is unlimited and the more diners there are the more dishes are on offer. There were three of us this evening, and what was placed in front of us at just the first serving decadently seemed like more food than some developing nations would see in a year.

Crisp cucumber salad, sticky sweet and sour pork ribs, hot beef and spicy cumin-flavoured lamb, and much more besides. And then there were the dumplings. The boiled variety came with beef and chilli plus pork and coriander fillings and were fresh and light. The fried prawn dumplings were crisp and succulent and cumulatively they managed to banish all memory of our disappointing experience a year earlier.

Chop Chop easily deserves all the praise and awards that it’s built up and anyone who wants to try Chinese food at its best should get down there this evening. I certainly won’t be waiting another year before I go back.