We started with a couple of beers, your vegan choices here are Heineken, Little Creatures Pale Ale & Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale. I haven't checked out the wine list but it's available to view on their online menu.
We're both dumpling fanatics and we were most excited about the Dim Sum section of the menu. We decided we'd go along with the restaurants pan asian tapas style of dining and ordered loads of things to share. First to arrive at the table were the Steamed Asian Mushroom & Chinese Chive Dumplings...
...and the Fried Vegetarian Gyoza which come stuffed full of bamboo shoots, carrots, water chestnuts and mushrooms.
It would be a massive understatement to say that we loved both of these dishes. They were some of the best dumplings I've ever eaten. The steamed mushroom and chive dumplings far surpassed any other steamed dumpling on my radar and the fried dumplings were on par with those found at Moshimo - the highest compliment one can give to a dumpling in my mind. They both came with different dipping sauces and each complimented the flavours of their respective dumplings nicely.
We ordered this next small plate because we were intrigued by it, this Legendary Ninja Bun is a steamed bun topped with organic tofu, ssäm sauce and spring onions.
Whilst I loved the texture of the steamed bun and the crispy pepperyness of the tofu the ssäm sauce was too much for me and this was devoured by my dining companion. Just incase you're also in the dark when it comes to ssäm sauce it's a thick spicy paste made from fermented soya bean paste, red chili and glutenous rice paste, onion, garlic and green onions. If you have a higer chili tolerance than me you should definitely give this interesting dish a go.
Next we sampled the Chargrilled Shiitake Mushroom & Spring Onion Sticks.
These sesame infused morsels were utterly delicious and were grilled perfectly. I'd definitely order these again.
From the Vegetable section of the menu we tried the Kelp Salad with mooli, carrot and mange tout served with a Japanese dressing.
This was an enjoyable salad although it had more leaves than expected and we didn't detect any mange tout at all. I really love kelp, or any seaweed, and mooli, so I was still pretty happy with the dish. We both loved how pretty the pieces of carrot and mooli were too. After this first round of food we decided to re-order our two favourite dishes, the steamed mushroom and chive dumplings and the fried veggie gyoza. We were super excited when they arrived at the table until I bit into their Pork & Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling.
Yup, that’s right, pork.
Strangely I didn’t start salivating at my rekindled love for meat but instead my immediate thoughts were “Shit, they’ve over steamed these dumplings. Were the originals a fluke? These are tasteless and too chewy and OMFG...” this was when the penny dropped and I turned to my vegan dining companion and asked “is this fucking meat?”. After a little more prodding we called a waitress over and from the look on her face we could tell immediately that yes, this was indeed meat. Pork to be exact.
At least now I can answer the incessant omnivore question of “Don’t you miss meat” with a resounding “Fuck no”. In that fleeting moment I wondered what the hell had happened to the beautifully light, crisp, delicately flavored veggie dumpling I’d tried earlier? Instead they had been replaced with what I can only describe as the world's worst surprise.
Would I eat at Yum Yum Ninja again? Yes. I don't believe in holding mistakes against people. The service at Yum Yum Ninja was great and excluding pork-gate the food was excellent. Next time I may just be a little more cautious when I bite into my dumplings.