Turning into Heritage Avenue in Colindale looking for the award winning restaurant I'd been invited to review with my husband, we thought we'd taken a wrong turn. With plenty of reasonably priced parking, the rather nice Beaufort Park apartment complex and a scattering of shops it looks like a nice place to live but at first glance you might not expect to find a Mayfair worthy restaurant there. However sure enough we soon spotted the stylish and sumptuous JM Oriental.
Founder and executive chef Andrew Hung who has a string of successful West End ventures behind him didn't spend lockdown making sourdough and watching Tiger King. Instead he formulated a plan to bring Mayfair style dining to North London. JM Oriental opened in 2021 and just one year later won a prestigious Golden Chopsticks Award for "Best Fusion Restaurant."
Regular readers may recall I am also a Golden Chopsticks Award winner (2021), awarded for my writing about Asian food, so it was lovely to be able to go along to support another award winner this week to sample just some of the items from JM Oriental's exciting menu. (GIFTED)
Outside there's a casual outside seating area which might be nice for sampling the restaurant's rather lovely cocktails on a summer evening but inside is where you really feel that a meal in this establishment is going to be something special.
With enviable feature lighting and a variety of seating options including a semi-private dining room and elegant decor, the interior is inviting with a warm atmosphere with enough background music to bring a nice buzz to the place while still allowing chat.
We were welcomed by smiling members of staff as we entered, including the very chatty and charming Alex who showed us to our table. Check out the super cute place settings!
So, onto the food
Alex showed us the lunchtime Dim Sum menu and said people travel from miles around, from as far afield as Birmingham just for the Dim Sum. We were there for dinner but were glad to see Dim Sum was still available.
We chose a curated steamed selection - the Artisan Dim Sum Assortment- including a divine scallop, prawn and beetroot offering adorned with real gold flake. We added a portion of truffle pork and prawn siu-mei which is one of my long standing Dim Sum faves. The delicate truffle added a touch of luxury and from now on I will be bereft without that addition.
We also picked another memorable dish -crispy king prawns with Thai orange mayo and pomegranate from the entreé menu. No lie - this is probably the best King Prawn dish I have ever eaten. Don't be put off by the "mayo" bit. This is nothing like that greasy white stuff Brits like to add to sarnies but rather a flavourful coating enhancing moreish plump prawns. I am obsessed with pomegranate at the moment and the crunchy fresh seeds complemented the rich creaminess of this dish perfectly as well as adding a pop of colour highlighting the fancy serving dish.
Dim Sum might be designed to share but frankly during my visit I didn't want to. I experienced similar emotions watching the dishes being cleared as I did when I saw my child off to uni. Sad to see them go but excited for what was to follow.
JM Oriental has a number of signature dishes and we opted to try one-the truffle barbecue roasted duck. Like the siu-mei the truffle was smoky and subtle, concentrated most in the wafer thin crispy skin. The meat was tender and tasty. *pauses for a moment to remember the joy of eating it* This dish alone was worth the 40 minute drive into Colindale from Hertfordshire.
The ramen was recommended by Alex who throughout the meal was invaluable with his insider tips and recommendations. All the staff in fact were friendly and helpful and not just because I was there as an influencer. I made a point of observing their interactions with other tables and I can confirm you will get the full VIP treatment at JM Oriental even if you aren't an award winning writer. (Can you tell I am unfeasibly proud of my Golden Chopsticks award?)
There are plenty of vegetarian options and we were asked about allergies. Portions are generous, more than I expected given the fine dining vibe and at this point I was feeling quite full but I knew you would be disappointed if I didn't sample one or two items from the dessert menu.
Alex proved invaluable once more recommending the JM signature chocolate fondant with Japanese matcha "lava" and vanilla ice-cream. Check out my TikTok video of me cutting into it HERE. Seeing that green matcha lava oozing out is very satisfying isn't it? Also, after failing to order them as one of my Dim Sum starters I was glad of a second chance to order the steamed egg custard bao buns as a desert. Gorgeous to look at, even nicer to eat.
Talking of things you shouldn't miss, cocktail lovers should definitely check out JM Oriental's cocktail offerings. Before our meal I enjoyed a sweet Strawberry Blossom with strawberry gin, elderflower liqueur, apple juice, grenadine and a whole fresh strawberry encased in ice. To mark the end of our gorgeous dinner I took one final recommendation from Alex and enjoyed a refreshing lychee cocktail complete with a fresh lychee.
We saw lots of takeout bags going out of the kitchen but although I love a Cheeky Tuesday I think this quality of food is almost certainly best served straight from kitchen to restaurant table. Plus the decor and stand out service really make this a 5 star experience I don't want you to miss.
This restaurant is a gem which is definitely worth travelling for. I'm already planning a trip for a Dim Sum lunch.
Address28 Heritage Avenue, Beaufort Park
Find JM Oriental just 25 minutes from the West End, close to Colindale Station on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line (Zone 4), just round the corner from the RAF Museum London. Parking is good and costs £4 for four hours between 2000 and 0759 or £8 for 4 hours between 0800 and 1959 if you fancy that lunch Dim Sum experience.
You can book online or call 020 8912 6215. JM Oriental is closed on Mondays.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a meal for two for the purpose of writing this honest review.