WARM and inviting from outside, Chop Chop is cleverly sectioned off, making it appear full even on a wet week night. Although slightly chilly inside, the welcome was suitably warm.
Despite the good selection of fruit juices, beers and wines, we opted to bring our own wine (£5 corkage).
Perusing the menu, dumplings were a definite choice given the positive recommendations from friends.
However, the volume of options was overwhelming. Instead we decided on the set Banquet for Two (£19.50 each) which provides unlimited servings of the seven dishes – it was lucky we were hungry.
First came the cucumber salad. Not a dish that makes the mouth water in anticipation but the combination of ginger, lemongrass, Chinese leaves and noodles was delicious. After a bit of a struggle with chopsticks, it was surprisingly alluring. Next came strips of aubergine that were oily, juicy and tender.
The chicken wings, sprinkled with sesame seeds, were good, if a touch unoriginal.
Equally, the crispy northern chicken was indeed crispy but the sweet and sour sauce was a little too sweet and we both agreed we have tasted better.
With bottles of vinegar and soy sauce, and ramekins of chilli oil and garlic we set about making our own sauces for the dumplings.
First came the boiled pork and coriander dumplings. Eaten almost immediately they tasted at their best. Bursting with fragrance, they become slightly stuck to the plate once cold, although remain scrumptious.
My personal favourite were the pan-fried dumplings. The first ones we had were prawn and the second beef and chilli.
Equally juicy, the prawn dumplings, were infused with the now familiar combination of ginger, garlic and lemongrass. The beef and chilli were bursting with flavour with a pleasantly strong after kick.
Utterly full after second helpings of the dumplings and aubergine, we were unable to face a pudding. Although at first glance, the set menus seem a tad pricy, the dumplings and salads alone make it worth it.
• Chop Chop Leith, 76 Commercial Street, Commercial Quay, 0131-553 1818