Where to find the best Contemporary Chinese food in London - Numnum, Southwark
Numnum, London - Restaurant Review
Cuisine: Contemporary Chinese
Style Points: 4/5
Chinese food is one of my favourite cuisines and recently I had the opportunity to try newly opened contemporary Chinese restaurant Numnum. Following a successful period as a pop up in London’s iconic Spitalfield’s market, Numnum can now be found in the heart of Southwark where it operates out of a funky converted railway arch.
The dining area is large and the long white painted ceilings give it a real spacious feel and the gentle rumble of trains passing overhead only add to the cool feel of the place. But of course the proof is in the food so we took our seats whilst the lovely proprietor Tim talked us through the menu.
The menu itself isn’t extensive as one would expect from a Chinese restaurant, instead the restaurants has focused on quality over quantity and there is a great selection to choose from including an array of noodles, wok fried and roasted dishes along with soups and dumplings.
The menu will also change constantly to use seasonal ingredients and allow the chefs to experiment with new dishes and flavours from their respective region of Southern China.
We tried the Wonton Noodle Soup with pork and prawn wontons, bok choi and shitake mushrooms in a rich chicken broth made out of entire chickens and their bones that’s been boiled for eight hours.
Alongside this we had Twice Cooked Pork with leak and peppers, and Pan Fried Pork and Chive Dumplings drizzled in chilli oil and garnished with coriander.
The noodle soup was a refreshing palette cleanser and chocked full with the flavour of chicken in the broth. The wontons were very tasty and had plentiful amounts of minced pork and prawn. The twice cooked pork was one of my favourite dishes and really put to shame all the twice cooked pork dishes I’ve ordered from my local takeaway over the years! It was super delicious and the leaks and peppers were the perfect crunchy accompaniment to the juicy pork.
I actually preferred the chive dumplings to the pork ones, this might be because I still had the twice cooked pork on my mind! Nonetheless both were very nice and the chili oil drizzled on top gave them a nice spicy finish.
After these dishes we tried the Kung Pao Chicken which consisted of chicken thigh pieces wok fried with dried chili and cashew nuts, Numnum Roasted Corn Fed Chicken, Golden Honey and Spice Roasted Chicken, and Beef Bone Marrow Fried Rice.
I love Kung Pao Chicken and this one was particularly delicious with juicy chicken thighs pieces coated in a wonderful sauce made with dried chili.
We were excited to try the roasted chicken dishes which came with three pieces each but you can order a half chicken sharing size that consists of six pieces. Tim informed us that the honey and spice was his favourite and I would have to say it was mine too. The Numnum version was very nice but that honey glaze was sweet, spicy and tasted divine when biting into the juicy chicken.
Along with the twice cooked pork and the honey and spice roasted chicken, the bone marrow fried rice is a must try. A moreish mound of wild rice cooked with peppers and other delicious ingredients is served with a beef bone filled with meaty bone marrow. Tim told us to add the marrow to the rice before eating it on its own was good enough for me as I’ve loved bone marrow ever since I was a little girl and my used to cooked lamb bones for me to suck the marrow out of it. Delicious!
The prices at numnum are very reasonable, especially for the portions you receive. The wok fried dishes such as the twice cooked pork and the kung pao chicken were £7.5, the roasted chicken dishes were £7 for three pieces or £10 for six pieces, and the pan fried dumplings were £4.50.
The wonton noodle soup was £7 which may seem steep for a broth but you get a huge portion and there was plenty of wontons. You will definitely be able to get a meal for two people for under £20.
I’m delighted that Numnum now has a permanent home in London. Given the success of the pop up I’m sure the restaurant will be around for many years to come and I will definitely be going back to sample new dishes as well as some more of that moreish honey and spice roasted chicken.
If you like Chinese food as most people do then I recommend you give this place a try.
See the full menu at Numnum on their website.
Address: 81 Scoresby St, London SE1 0XN
Closest tube station: Southwark
Special thanks to Tim and Numnum for their hospitality!