A bright green corner caff on Newport Place just before the entrance to Gerrard Street, Chinatown, Jen Cafe is an unassuming dumpling bar with formica tables huddled together, a less-than-salubrious looking steamy micro-kitchen at the back end and a counter top for loners to sit at.
A tiny lady with nimble fingers hand makes simple floury dumplings at lightning speed by the front door – veggie, meaty, or somewhere in between. The dumplings are the star here, served simply in a bowl, with soy sauce and chillies.
Dumplings aside, £5-£8 gets you a big plate of pork, cabbage and rice or noodles, or any other of the standard noodle ‘n’ veg dishes. There’s no hanging about, you’ll get the bill before you even ask for it and the furious formica-table wiping will begin before you’ve finished your last chopstickfull. But the dumplings are delish, it’s perfect for the afternoon snack craving when taking visitors round London, or for a pre-Friday night pub crawl. There’s bubble tea too, if you’re into lumps of tapioca in your melon tea.