What can you tell us about Bang Bang Oriental?
Ultimately it's a food court, but don't let that turn you off as it's not quite like one we've seen in London before now.
On our last few visits to New York, we've come across a few places like this - a number of top notch restaurants in food stall form, gathered together in what is, yes an upmarket food court. But something that's standalone, not necessarily attached to a shopping village.
We didn't really have anything like this in London - and our various street food markets aren't the same thing at all. But Bang Bang Oriental changes that.
Where is it?
it's not central, that's for sure, based all the way out in Colindale. Londoners who've been around the block will perhaps remember this as the site of Oriental City, Bang Bang's previous incarnation.
If you're getting there, driving is handy (just park in the Morrisons car park which is part of the same development) but Colindale tube station is just a few minutes away too. That's way up north on the Northern line, but still only about 20 minutes from Euston station.
Who's it suitable for?
Pretty much everyone, from all ages young to old. Essentially if you like Asian food, but have difficulty pinning that down to one cuisine, this is for you. Here you can graze to your heart's content, from any of the 20+ stalls surrounding the court. It was pretty family-focused when we hit it up on Sunday lunchtime but, presumably, that changes come evening.
And what exactly is on offer?
A LOT. For a complete run-down of all the stalls, check out our story about the opening but it runs the gamut from ramen to tempura and from Hong Kong hotplates to dim sum to Taiwanese chicken and everything in between. There's a lot of choice, but the whole place is laid out in a way that it somehow doesn't become overwhelming.
So how does it all work?
Much more simply than it might seem when you first head into the big hall. Essentially, you just head for the stall you fancy, order what you want and pay. You'll get a buzzer that will tell you when your food is ready. There are 450 seats so it's never hard to find somewhere to perch once you have your food.
So order from one place at a time?
Not really. We think you'll want to do what we did - and buy from a few stalls at the same time, to eliminate any unnecessary waiting. Just make sure to keep the buzzers - which are the same for all stalls - with the right receipts so you know just what's ready when. Better still make sure you go as a group and split up into different queues.
And what should we order?
It's really hard to specifically recommend as there's just so much and we've barely scratched the surface. We know that the De Longi's Hong-Kong style barbecue pork with rice and egg on a hotplate is getting a lot of praise on Instagram (and just looks stunning when it's ready too).
We personally had:
- A couple of yakitori sticks from Yaki Ya - just the job to sate your hunger while planning your attack on the rest of the venues
- The Taiwanese chicken balls from Taiwanese Street Food - gloriously crispy and umami rich snacks. We immediately wanted another batch. Their onion pancakes looked really good too.
- Prawn tempura from Umi- because we can't NOT order tempura.
- And a dim sum plate from One68 - highlights being the pork, shrimp and mushroom dumplings and a perfect egg tart. Their BBQ pork puffs were also pretty great
- A range of buns from Wonderful Patisserie as you leave - custard cheese and coconut stood out.
What we realised from our ordering was that, even on a day when the queue was out the door (they stagger the amount of people getting in at busy times which means it's never unpleasantly busy inside) everything was of top quality. Very impressive all round, to be honest. It's also kept scrupulously clean - which is impressive given the sheer numbers.
How about drinks?
There is a bar in the middle if you want a beer - and plenty of bubble tea of course. Or just grab a cup of Chinese tea if you prefer.
We're already planning a return trip asap - so that should give you the first indication. We need to go back to try those Taiwanese pancakes, the pork hotplate and the noodles at the Southern Chinese stall we helpfully have forgotten the name of. There's also a 300 seat Golden Dragon restaurant downstairs which is probably worth a go too.
What: Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall
Where: 399 Edgware Rd, London NW9 0AS
Find out more: Read our story about the opening.