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Phoenix Palace, London NW1

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Very decent lunch at the Phoenix Palace in Glentworth Street today, and for once no need to queue.

Full of Chinese as usual on a weekend lunchtime, perhaps attracted by the authenticity of specials such as duck tongues and chicken claws (not in the same dish, I hasten to add).

The kitchen rustled up a chicken dish for our five year old who is allergic to egg and to nuts, and the rest of us had some fine dim sum.

Standout was steamed wasabi prawn dumplings; the bright green wrap had wasabi paste mixed into it and the dish acted as a brilliant palate cleanser.

Another steamed prawn dumpling dish had chives, very fresh garlic and (I think) waterchestnut. The seafood is all very fresh here.

Service is friendly and efficient, and we came away with a handful of helium-filled balloons, which never happens when you leave a Gordon Ramsay joint (I imagine).

A reasonably filling lunch for two adults and two children was £45.10, including soft drinks and service.

I think it's streets ahead of Royal China, roughly in the same league as Pearl Liang (and the seats are a lot more comfortable).

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