A meal constructed of small plates is a wonderful thing.
Convivial, for it is almost invariably shared with friends.
And varied – allowing the diner to sample a myriad of different tastes and textures.
Thus the new menu at Chung Ying Central – younger brother of the long-established Chung Ying and Chung Ying Gardens in Chinatown – excites me.
For it includes a fabulous and fascinating selection of starters, dim sum and small plates, though there are also more substantial dishes of various styles.
The dishes were many and various and all were well-crafted and flavoursome.
Salt and chilli squid – so often marred by soggy batter and rubbery meat – was crisp-coated and soft within.
Baby octopus likewise had been precisely cooked so that it was tasty and tender.
Crisp belly pork with soya sauce was a triumph – the crackling crunchy and the flesh beneath melting.
Crisp prawns also hit the target, delivering a contrast of textures.
We ate, too, exemplary soft shell crab served with a liberal amount of salt, five spice, chilli and coriander.
And a salad with soft thin noodles and prawns and plenty of slivers of fiery red chilli.
But, for me, the highlight was turnip cake with mooli, chorizo and dried prawns cubes, fried with beansprouts and egg.
Need to know
Dim sum range in price from £4 to £6.
Small plates range from £6 to £8.
There are plenty of vegetarian options.
There are also lots of noodles, soups, traditional and popular main courses.
Chung Ying Central
126 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 3AP. 0121 400 0888.
I work as a freelance consultant with Chung Ying Central