Just over four years ago the Edinburgh Blog visited Chop Chop, in their newly opened Morrison St premises. The restaurant didn’t look much from the outside and the interior was basic. Chop Chop’s food, however, was brilliant. Their dumplings were the best I’d experienced on these shores. Since 2006 Chop Chop has enjoyed a meteoric ascent; including an appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word TV programme, the award of an AA rosette and countless press praise. The result has been a jammed packed restaurant nearly every night. So it is little wonder the owners have opened a second Chop Chop restaurant at Leith’s Commercial Quay. We headed along to see if the high standards and fun dining experience that define Chop Chop could be repeated in Leith.
We hadn’t booked a table at Chop Chop and were lucky to be squeezed in. Just a few moments later folk were being turned away. No doubt the popularity is helped by the no corkage fee on Bring Your Own Booze until the end of July, or perhaps folk know until then Chop Chop are unable to charge for any alcohol you order! The menu in Leith is the same as at Edinburgh’s Haymarket and works best when you order a wide variety of dishes. Don’t wait for all your selections to arrive before you begin - as soon as the food is ready it’s brought to your plate. Like the Haymarket restaurant, the staff are friendly, relaxed and approachable.
The dumplings were as good as I remembered, although it was disappointing for the prawn filled dough to be sold out by 6pm - perhaps a by-product of serving lunches to Scottish Executive staff. I think the boiled dumplings are now my favourite, with 8 of the chicken variety (¬£4.20) going down a treat. It’s a close run competition between the fried dumplings though and we could not fault the 4 fried pork and prawn dumplings (¬£4.85) we ordered. It would be great if Chop Chop offered a mixed selection of dumplings, as unless you’re in a large group opportunities to try a varied selection are limited.
I would have appreciated a larger serving of the prawn chow mein (¬£8.50), which is simply served. The home-made noodles and the perfect flavours elevate this dish way above its appearance. The small portion of aubergine (¬£5.15) we ordered also held fantastic flavours and was the standout dish. For dessert we shared the sugar string apple (¬£7.05). The portion size, even for two people, is huge. And the sugar string apple is one of the strangest desserts I’ve ever eaten - pieces of apple in a coating remininescent of a toffee apple, which is so hot it will burn you. That’s where the bowl of ice water comes in - dip your piece of sugar string apple in here, before eating. That’s way too much of something so bad for you, but it’s a dessert that everyone should try at least once.
Many reviewers have praised the affordable nature of Chop Chop. True enough, it could never be classified as expensive, but the tapas nature of ordering means the bill can quickly spiral. Variety and quality wise, the food at Chop Chop is unsurpassed. The success they have enjoyed is well deserved and it looks as though the Chop Chop restaurant in Leith will be every bit as successful as the restaurant near Haymarket.
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t enjoyed a trip to Chop Chop. And so here in Leith, the Chop Chop march to world domination begins !
Chop Chop’s two Edinburgh restaurants are located at:
- 76 Commercial Street, Commercial Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX. Telephone: 0131 553 1818
- 248 Morrison Street, Haymarket, Edinburgh, EH3 8DT. Telephone: 0131 221 1155