The Chop Chop in Leith is the second Chop Chop in Edinburgh and it takes the experience of the first and applies them to a new location down in Leith.
Chop Chop is a Chinese restaurant in the new but traditional style. By that I mean it’s not the anglicised Chinese restaurant that we’ve come to expect. If you’re looking for chicken fried rice or almost all of your usual favourites from the other Chinese restaurants that pepper Edinburgh then you’ll be out of luck. Some diners may, of course, be disappointed by this. If you’re going to Chop Chop for the first time then I encourage you to look online at the menu first.
Chop Chop’s menu is dominated by its dumplings. In some senses this is a Chinese dumpling restaurant although it does offer the likes of chicken wings, a range of fish and crispy pork and beef dishes.
The restaurant encourages diners, especially large groups, to make use of their banquet offer. These bring suitably generous quantities of dumplings and the ‘extra’ dishes to the table at a set price. It seems easier to serve and it certainly makes ordering simple.
I find it more rewarding to order dishes specifically – although it’s helpful to have a dining partner who’s happy to share dishes with you.
Any Chop Chop review needs to concentrate on the dumplings. This is easy to do – they are very nice. They’re fresh and tasty. They come in a good range too and are ordered in quantities of 8 or 16. This reviewer has tried and enjoyed the pork and chives dumplings, pork and coriander dumplings, pork and green pepper dumplings, pork and celery dumplings, chicken dumplings, vegetable dumplings and beef and chilli dumplings. Seems a lot? That’s about two-thirds of the menu.
To enjoy the dumplings diners mix the provided soy sauce, with provided garlic and chilli into a dipping dish. Dumplings are then dunked through expert chopstick use. You can ask for a fork if you prefer but it’s not provided by default.
As much as I enjoy Chop Chop there is a catch. If I don’t feel like dumplings then my desire to visit is all but destroyed. This does not mean that their non-dumpling dishes are no good. It does mean that Chop Chop is double or quits on the dumplings; if they don’t win you over you will wonder what you’re doing there.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is pleasant but does not feel very Chinese. Sure; there’s music and decoration but there’s no getting away from the fact you’re eating in a building opposite from the Scottish Executive on shiny red, easy wipe down, tables.
Attendance at the restaurant seems to be a bit famine or feast. I’ve walked in at opening time and been one of only a small number of diners. I’ve walked in a little later, on a different day, and struggled to get a table. Much, I think, depends on whether any of the offices are having a meal out.
Chop Chop regulars are well advised to explore the loyalty card too. It’s free and does save you money.
Overall? I recommend Chop Chop – even if it’s too discover that this style of Chinese food isn’t for you.