Dim Sum, 201 London Road, Sheffield

STEAMED chicken feet in black bean sauce, anybody? Thought not. Then how about them cooked Thai-style with pickled vegetables?

Don't worry if you can't stomach hen's tootsies (although I have had them deep-fried before), there's plenty else to choose from on the dim sum menu at, where else?, Dim Sum.

Everybody's been telling us to go to this bright red restaurant on London Road, Sheffield. Great for dim sum, China's answer to Spanish tapas.

We did when it first opened as quite a tiny place back in 2003 but since then it's been extended to seat 65 and that's not even before you take into account the seating in the back room. We've heard that on Sunday people queue to get in. Time to go back then.

There's a menu in Chinese in the window and plenty of Chinese diners inside so that's always a good sign.

Another good sign is millionaires Emma and Jim Harrison, of Thornbridge Hall, just finishing their meal.

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They're regular diners and Emma enthuses about the place. "I've eaten all over the world and this is good," she says, marking a few "musts" on the menu for us.

And what she and Jim don't eat they get bagged up and take home for the kids. So that's how they keep their money.

Just then we meet a couple of friends who are also regulars and can order just like that without even looking at the menu. We join them for what can only be described as a tutored tasting.

Dim Sum, owned and run by Wan Sang and his sister Tina Yau, has a lot more on the menu to offer beside dim sum but we concentrate entirely on the 30 dishes which come under this banner.

Among the dishes Emma has mentioned is Har Gau, or prawn dumplings (3.20) and our friends suggest we also order Sui Mai, more dumplings but this time stuffed with pork and prawn.

"They won't be the same," I'm told and they're not. Both are made of steamed rice paste but the former have a scalloped exterior with a minced prawn filling while the latter are more bun-like with the prawn in large chunks.

We also have firm textured, almost meaty, cuttlefish cakes in breadcrumbs (3.20) and deep-fried paper-wrapped prawns (3.20) which taste really light.

Another recommendation is roasted pork cheung fun with soya sauce (3), a sort of loosely-wrapped pancake with a minced meat and vegetable filling.

For those who worry about the "slitheriness" of some dim sum dishes, don't. This doesn't register at all.

My friends suggest we try some of their dishes although I'm not overstruck on the cold salted chicken, which is not on the menu but you have to ask for it.

I've ordered the whelks in satay sauce (3.20) which are quite a revelation, sliced in what tastes like a mild curry satay sauce with a lot of fennel or other aniseedy herb.

But no-one else is keen.

We are also recommended steamed spare ribs (2.80) with the warning that they can be gristly. They are. But I like spooning up the garlicky "soup" or sauce they come in.

Those in the know order Lo-Mei-Gai, glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves (3.20) which tastes faintly fragrant and mops up the juices.

More on next page.The meal costs us, with drinks and tea, only 29.60. I can't believe how cheap it's been and we've enjoyed the steady procession of tastes and textures very different to our own.

Perhaps next time I'll give the chicken's tootsies another go...

201 London Road, Sheffield.

Tel: 0114 255 0467.

Open all week noon-11pm. Fully licensed. Credit cards. Disabled access and toilets. Street parking.

My star ratings (out of five):

Food 4

Atmosphere 4

Service 4

Value 5

Chinese restaurant category. Do not compare ratings between places of different style or price.