Latest opening: Dream Xi’an

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Dream Xi’an Chiniese restaurant Tower Hill Guirong Wei

Related tags Dream Xi’an Guirong Wei Master Wei Xi’an Impression Chinese cuisine

Shaanxi cuisine specialist Guirong Wei is expanding her culinary horizons with a new restaurant in Tower Hill.

What: A Chinese restaurant in London’s Tower Hill​ that specialises in dishes from the country’s north western Shaanxi province. Dream Xi’an takes its name from the capital city of Shannxi and offers the hand-pulled noodles for which the area is famous alongside several classic Xi’an street foods that are rarely found in the UK. 

Who:​ Dream Xi’an is the latest restaurant project from Guirong Wei, who has played a key role in introducing Londoners to the delights of Shaanxi cuisine. She arrived in London in 2008 and worked at respected Sichaunese restaurant Barshu​. In 2015, she opened Xi’an Impression with Zhang Chao in the shadow of the Emirates Stadium in Holloway. The humble, tightly-proportioned restaurant was an instant hit despite serving up dishes that were at the time largely unknown in London. Guirong opened her first solo restaurant Master Wei just before the pandemic in Bloomsbury close to SOAS and UCL.

The food:​ A larger kitchen has allowed Wei to significantly expand her repertoire. New dishes include a selection of steamed dim sum all made by hand on site. Options include Xi’an empress dumplings, filled with chicken, prawn, and carrots; Xi’an special steamed dumpling, filled with pork, cabbage, and spring onion; the vegetarian special, with wood ear mushrooms, glass noodles, and egg; and Wei’s xiaolong bao, with pork, preserved vegetables, and soup. New street food inspired dishes include special fried bao, a thick-skinned dumpling filled with beef and onion; and paomo soup, a hot stew of chopped up bread that is cooked with sliced beef and served in a rich beef broth. More familiar to fans of Master Wei will be smacked cucumbers in sesame and chilli oil; cold beef tendon in spicy sauce; and the cumin beef and pulled pork ‘burgers’, served in homemade leavened flatbreads. 

Xi'an-dumplings

The vibe:​ Beneath a modern development on Tower Place within the site of a former Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Dream Xi’an is a far bigger space than anything Wei has put her name to previously with a 70-cover dining room and a large kitchen. Design details include light wood panelling, dark brown banquettes and chairs and traditional Chinese artworks. 

And another thing:Restaurant tipped Wei as one to watch in 2020, ​identifying her as one of a number of skilled Chinese operators to look beyond Chinatown.​ Speaking on the launch, Wei - who has attracted glowing reviews from The Times​ critic Giles Coren and Guardian​ critic Grace Dent - says: “My previous restaurants gave me the chance to bring my hometown food to London, and with Dream Xi’an I’m so lucky to be able to offer many more special dishes – I hope people will love it as much as I do, it means a lot to me!” 

Tower Place, London EC3R 5BU
www.dreamxian.co.uk

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