Cara discovers her new favourite destination for fine dining Chinese dishes under the name of JM Oriental.

It’s Mayfair-style dining but without the price tag. This 40 seat gem is hidden in Colindale. While you’ll be quick to jump on the location disadvantage, I intend to convince you it’s worth every minute spent on the journey to North London.

And it’s not even that far really, only 20 minutes from Goodge Street on the underground. I also dare you to find something just as great in Central London. JM Oriental is a relatively new restaurant, it only launched in 2021, but it has already been awarded the Golden Chopsticks Award for ‘Best Fusion Restaurant’.

The menu has a lot to offer from dim sum to Peking duck, udon noodles, smoked ribs to lava custard egg buns. To say we were overwhelmed by choice is an understatement but a varied menu does not mean a bad one.

Each dish we ordered was prepared with great detail using different flavours. The staff definitely need a special mention here, in addition to always being at hand they know the menu inside and out and made great recommendations to us.

We start with crispy king prawns with Thai orange mayo. It arrives looking striking with the orange mayo and red pomegranate accents. The mayo is generous, but it’s subtle and lightly creamy, which balances the crispy coating on prawns. The prawn inside is perfect too, juicy and delicately sweet. It’s amazing, we both love it.

To try as many dim sum types as possible and we of course order the platter. Colourful and hot, they look like little gems in theirbamboo box. Although we love them all, if we had to choose it’ll probably be scallop, prawn and beetroot.

It’s a pastel pink little parcel with a delicate gold leaf on top and chunky filling inside, but just the right amount.

We are also recommended smoky bbq ribs, which are also amazing. I’m running our of complimentary adjectives and the thesaurus is no help, as usual. Everything about the dish is spot on, the meat is tender and just falls off the bone, the sauce is balanced with a slight sweetness. I love it so much I greedily decide to keep the sauce for the coming plates.

Although, as I am starting to learn the dishes are put together so well and paired with their own sauces that there is no space for my side smoky sauce. Following staff’s recommendation we also order vermicelli chicken gyoza.

chicken sweetcorn soup jm oriental

Gyoza definitely looks less of an organised masterpiece than our previous ones. It’s a rather chaotic modern art masterpiece with gyozas sitting on a crisp somewhat square vermicelli block.

I appreciate when there are different textures in a dish, crispy, soft and textured in a form of a filling. The chicken gyozas have all of that plus plenty of flavour so again my smoky sauce remains untouched.

For the mains once again we follow the staff’s recommendations from the Chef’s specials – truffle roasted duck and steamed Chilean sea bass topped with yellow bean garlic, soya and pine nut along with special fried rice and seafood udon.

I also order chicken sweet corn soup well because well I love soup. It arrives in a cute little pot like plate. For £8 it’s a great deal and enough to share for two. It has similar texture to crab sweetcorn, thick and starchy and pleasantly warming. 

I enjoy it along the special fried rice, which does not need a mention. It’s just the way it should be while the udon is equally good with plenty of seafood pieces including chunky slices of well prepared squid.

The sea bass is a generous portion of flaky but moist fillet with a fancier version of sweet and sour sauce meets katsu curry. We fail to sense pine nuts but the dish is still good.

We find the duck meat slightly dry though, which is the only criticism I can give to JM Oriental. Other than that none, the dish comes topped with truffle slices. It’s a first for me to have Asian style duck with truffle but it works.   

If you have space left I’d recommend going for mango pandan cheesecake, it’s light and natural with jelly on top. If you have slightly more space definitely don’t miss out on lava egg custard baos.

The dough is tinted with charcoal, I’m uncertain if it changes the flavour but it certainly looks striking especially with contrasting gold paint revealing bright orange center inside.

Of course I couldn’t resist the Instangramable trend of pulling it apart to reveal bright yellow center. The dough is light, soft and fluffy. If made right (and these ones are) egg custard buns are one of my preferred bao varieties.

However, not just the dishes are a delight to look at but also the setting, all that fine dining is set in an elegant décor with mint green, gold and dark timber touches. We leave very full and happy with plans to come back again soon.

JM Oriental, 28 Heritage Ave, London NW9 5GE