I have always been intrigued by Leong’s Legend, a Taiwanese restaurant where you’re supposed to knock on the front door before entering. We went to the Leong’s Legends continue… branch (there are two in Chinatown, the other simply called Leong’s Legends) on a very busy Saturday evening and we were lucky to get the last table. The restaurant is decorated simply and is reminiscent of a tea house with wooden tables and chairs and pendant lamp shades. Some of the tables are a little cramped.
Leong’s Legends serves Taiwanese food in addition to typical Chinese dishes such as crispy aromatic duck with pancakes and the Cantonese classic of sweet and sour sour spare ribs. Bubble tea is obviously available. The menu is very meaty and includes some authentic East Asian ingredients such as duck tongue and beef tendon. There are a few vegetarian menu items such as the vegetarian dumplings but the majority of the dishes are vegetables served with a sauce (no protein such as tofu). They also serve a few dim sum dishes and I have heard that their xiao long bao (known as Shanghai dumplings with a filling of a pork and broth) are, excuse the pun, legendary. It was however, too late for dim sum when we arrived so we had evening dinner.
We ordered a mixture of items. I opted for Taiwanese omelette with oysters – a typical Taiwanese night market street food – and sticky rice with dried scallop, dried shrimp and Chinese mushrooms served in a bamboo bowl. The omelette was a little greasy but tasted delicious – the oysters were encased in the slightly pancake like omelette with spring onions and a sweet and sour sauce type drizzled on top. I also really enjoyed the sticky rice – the dried shrimp and scallop gave it a distinctly savoury umami taste. This was a rich and stodgy dish (in a good way) and very filling.
We also ordered the Taiwan spicy beef noodle soup, Sichuan style noodles with pork in soya bean paste, sweet and sour spare ribs and sticky rice topped with shredded pork. The food tasted great but the noodles were overcooked in both noodle dishes which was a shame as it made the texture a bit sloppy.
The service was typical Chinatown bordering on the abrupt rather than service with a smile – I however do not mind this unless they are rude to me, which they weren’t! Some tables also experienced a wait for their food. However, the restaurant was packed and luckily for us, we didn’t have too long a wait. We were too full for dessert which comprised of East Asian choices such as mango pudding and green bean paste pudding (which I have not come across before – I’ve heard of red bean pudding).
I would be more than happy to return to Leong’s Legends even if it meant knocking on the door to get in again – the sticky rice was rather special and the Taiwanese omelette could become addictive!
Leong’s Legend continue…
26-27 Lisle Street
London. WC2H 7BA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3380
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 12.00 – 22.30
Friday – Saturday 12.00 – 23.30
Nearest underground station: Leicester Square
Typical cost per person excluding drinks: Up to £15 for 1 course evening meal