Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Chop Chop - Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3

The first time we tried to go to Chop-Chop we were turned away. No booking meant no eating it seems and at 9pm on a Tuesday evening that’s pretty rare?

I was mighty disappointed, it led me into the feeling that we were missing something amazing so I booked to come back the next day. The only time we could get in was 9.15 the following night. This place had to be special...

It was a pretty full day; running between shows with lots of drinking. We made sure to eat enough before hand to soak up the booze during the day but not too much to spoil our suppers. It was going to be a very carefully balanced affair.

Either way by the time we got round to choosing from the expansive menu it looked fairly complicated. We took the easy option and ordered the unlimited banquet for three at £18.50 each!

Now I was expecting Dim-Sum but this place seemed to be very focussed on the dumpling. Either fried or boiled they had a million of them to choose from. Starting off though we ordered a portion of the Spicy Peanuts and Silverfish to keep us going.

These were pretty amazing actually, little tiny fish fried whole with crunchy peanuts and small dried chillies. You had to be pretty careful when you were eating these though as the chillies were the same size as the peanuts and were pretty powerful to boot.

The food started pouring out; about 3 or 4 dishes at a time. Crispy Beef here, Aubergine in Chinese Spice there and Dumplings everywhere. One particular dish that stood out for all the wrong reasons was the Lamb in Cumin.

Boiled chunks of Lamb seemingly only seasoned with Cumin, dry and pretty tasteless they had to be liberally doused in Soy to make them edible. The Crispy Beef was good, as were the Aubergines. Not quite as good as Chilli Cool a couple of weeks earlier but good all the same.

The dumplings were hit and miss; some packing a punch like the Beef and Chilli. Others teasing the taste buds like the very lightly flavoured Pork and Coriander; not quite able to distinguish itself through the dumpling casing.

I was a little surprised by how smooth some of the fillings were. The Prawn dumplings were quite surprisingly so and they had a very Findus crispy pancake edge to them . The best by far were the Beef and Chilli Fried Dumpling with the Fried Chicken ones coming a close second for me.

All in all if I’m completely honest with myself I was a bit disappointed with the meal, the dumplings just weren’t as amazing as I’d thought they would be and everything else was just good not great.

It transpires that Chop-Chop was one of Gordon Ramsay’s best local restaurants in 2009 and since they seem to have got a deal in Scotland to sell their Dumplings in Sainsburys and that was the rub. The dumplings to me tasted like they’d been mass-produced, like the kind of bought in pasta parcels that certain high street chains might use.

I’m left with the feeling that we found this place a little too late and that it might have become a victim of its own success. It has its plus points; it’s close to town, very cheap and the service was quick and friendly.

It looks like a lot of people do rave about this place so I’d be open minded about it, all in all in it maybe that I’ve been spoiled by some really good Chinese cooking down in London.

Chop Chop on Urbanspoon


  1. My brother was one of the people who raved about this place when it first opened but I've never got round to going.

    Sounds like they've let the ball drop a bit - sad if so.

  2. I knew I recognised the name of this restaurant somewhere when you said you were due to review it on Twitter! I thought it must just be a fairly common name but I remember seeing them on the F Word now. What a shame that the burst of popularity seems to have damned the food quality, although they're obviously not doing any worse for it if they were so busy.

    Probably won't bother trying this place while we're up then, would rather go somewhere that doesn't require advanced booking and with better food. Thanks for the write up though, and definitely still going to try Seadogs if we can!

  3. Wow it's so rare to see a review like this about Chop Chop that it makes me wonder if perhaps you got them at the end of a bad night?

    I have been going to Chop Chop for years (before the F word) and have to say the food is out of this world, blow your socks off amazing. I have found their popularity has only increased their perseverance for high quality. Perhaps their were staff kitchen problems tonight? Meemalee & BeccaRothwell I would urge you to try them anyway.

    The Lamb & Cumin is one of the most popular dishes and is a favourite of at least 4 of my friends. The Pork & Coriander dumplings are my absolute favourite. The aubergines have been so radically undersold here that I find myself seriously agreeing with the title of this blog. I have brought probably 20 new people to Chop Chop in the last few years and everyone leaves enchanted by the Dumplings and Aubergines.

    Chop Chop were selling dumplings to Sainsbury's before the F-Word. They also sell to P&O Cruise Ships and other world class establishments. They have 3000+ Loyalty Reward Members and just opened their second location in Leith. Trust me Chop Chop are worth their weight in gold. It's such a shame that your experience wasn't good.

    Perhaps it's not for everyone but I have never had a bad meal, I crave and dream about their food and I would urge anyone reading this to disregard negative aspects of this review and try them anyway.

  4. @Lynn perhaps it was a bad night but I think I was pretty fair in all honesty with my review.

    Sadly I've had far better examples of Chinese cooking in the last couple of weeks so I think the bar was set pretty high for me before I came here.

    Sadly though the Lamb was dire, I'm surprised that it is one of the most popular dishes as it was frankly shit.

  5. Ooh looks like a lot of food.I've heard of this place though haven't been yet,its within reasonable distance for us to go.
    Like the new look title!

  6. Glad to see you're back on the Chinese food flex good and proper. Those dumplings do look a bit rubbish; we should to to Silk Road in Camberwell for ace lamb cumin skewers and awesome dumplings. Not to mention hand made belt noodles. One for our Wednesday nights, me thinks.