If you want yum cha in Canary Wharf, you have two options. The first is Royal China, which I've been a few times (each time I forgot to bring my camera...d'oh!) and is the pricier option but provides for a more enjoyable experience. The second is Lotus, aka the Floating Restaurant; or to give it its full name - Lotus Floating Chinese Restaurant.
In the 18 months or so since moving to Canary Wharf, I've walked past LFCR at least once a week as it is en route to the shops. I've always been skeptical of LFCR - I mean, a floating restaurant...how gimmicky is that?
So curiosity killed this cat, and a few weekends ago we went to LFCR for yum cha. Inside, it's decorated in the typical way that you'd expect an average-quality suburban Chinese restaurant.
The prawn cheung fun was nice but the serve was quite small. The plate wasn't especially long, and the cheung fun was even shorter in length.
The pan fried turnip cake was acceptable but was missing alot of ingredients (eg shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage).
The prawn har gao was ok, but it was more pork mince than prawn.
The egg custard buns were nice but a bit on the small side.
The sticky rice was the best dish we ordered. Although it was also slightly on the small side, it had quite a reasonable amount of ingredients inside (eg salted egg yolk, pork and chicken).
And finally, we got a plate of pan fried dumplings. These were actually (surprisingly) quite good - lots of ginger in the pork mince, and had a lovely crispy skin.
Kitsch factor aside, the LFCR just scrapes into to get an 'average' rating.
Service is alright, but some of the staff have no idea what they're doing (I asked a waitress for a takeaway menu. It took her 10 minutes and a consultation with her colleagues to find a menu).
Given that it's not that much cheaper than Royal China (and the serving sizes were definitely on the small side - as a side note, I'm glad we didn't order the egg tarts because they were the size of a chocolate truffle...how they can justify that, I don't know), I'd recommend that you go to Royal China instead. It was obvious that LFCR is trying to maximise its profit by either shrinking the serving size and/or the amount of ingredients used to prepare each dish.
Lotus Floating Chinese Restaurant
Crossharbour E14 9
Telephone: (020) 7515 6445