What: The Ugly Dumplings
In a nutshell: Anglo-Chinese dumpling and noodle joint
Summing it all up: Street traders The Ugly Dumplings are opening their first permanent site, taking over the old Little Pitt site off Carnaby Street
You may have spotted dumpling street food trader The Ugly Dumplings at markets around town - they pop up everywhere from the Duke of York Square to Spitalfields. Hot Dinners caught up with co-founder Ping Wong to discover their plans for a bricks and mortar place off Carnaby Street.
What made you decide to open an actual restaurant?
I was approached by a fellow dumpling lover Philipp, who is from a Russian background, and he suggested we build a dumpling restaurant concept based on my recipes and techniques. We want to combine my knowledge of Asian flavours and tested recipes with his global vision of the dumpling scene.
I believe that while street food market segment is really rewarding, working with Philipp and settling down on a permanent site is a fantastic opportunity. We are still planning to continue satiating the bellies of our loyal customer base across the London street food markets, while the restaurant will give us a platform to explore new flavours and shapes while providing dumpling lovers with another reason to celebrate.
What's going to be on the menu at Newburgh Street?
The top five favourite dumplings from my street food markets will definitely be on the menu, which are aromatic duck, prawn & chive, pork belly, satay chicken and spinach & tofu. My noodles will also be on the menu as sides, and we are going to introduce some new side options, including salads. Philipp wants to explore a more global side of dumplings and use fresh seasonal local ingredients to build new recipes. We also want to introduce a soup option. I believe this combination of ideas and cultures will create a unique dumpling concept, perfectly suited to the gastronomic scene in London.
Is is just savoury options?
We are also going to explore desserts, both dumpling and non-dumpling, so that customers can transform their experience from a quick sit-down and takeaway to a full two to three course dinner, while still retaining the choice.
What about gluten-free or vegan?
Both of us want to appeal to as many customers as possible, so we are going to take into account as many allergies, intolerances and dietary choices as possible. We already have a vegan option in spinach & tofu dumplings, and we want to expand that if possible. We are already researching gluten free options for dough.
Have you a drinks list in mind?
At the start of our partnership we straight away agreed that we want to keep the identity of The Ugly Dumplings, which is essentially cute and fun. This will not just be reflected in our atmosphere, interior and food offering, but also in drinks. We want to have simple but fun cocktail options, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that will tick the boxes for as many customers as possible. We will also offer a small selection of wines and beers, as well as soft drinks, teas and coffee.
Most of our readers will know the site from its previous Pitt Cue incarnations. Are you planning any key design changes?
In terms of layout we are not going to do that much downstairs, as it is already perfect for a sit-down restaurant. Upstairs we are going to remove the bar and turn it into convenient high banquette seating, while takeaways and drinks will be served from a pantry and a high table at the opposite corner, to the left of the entrance.
Most of the changes that we make, however, will be in terms of interior. We are going to turn the premises from a trendy and greasy barbecue restaurant (whom we highly rated by the way) to a warm, cute, humble and cozy environment.
More about The Ugly Dumplings
Where is it? 1 Newburgh St, Carnaby, London W1F 7RB
When does it open? 30 July 2017
How do I book? It'll be walk-ins only.