UPDATED 22/01/2012: Haven't been to Peninsula for a few years, and I certainly won't again ...
The Peninsula is a Chinese restaurant marooned at the bottom of a Holiday Inn in Bugsby's Way - a nowhere place near-ish the O2, but more importantly next to See Woo Cash & Carry, a veritable oasis for all chefs of Asian persuasion.
I've probably had finer dimsum in Queensway and Chinatown, but I've always had a soft spot for the Peninsula and their interpretation of yum cha.
Ordinarily you can't book at the weekend, but my middle brother persuaded them to hold a table for us to celebrate three wedding anniversaries - our parents' 40th, my brother and his wife's 10th and me and hubby's 5th. Mind you, we had to turn up at 11am.
Sunday morning, 10.45am, we've parked our cars and we're waiting for the doors to open. We're not alone as one-by-one dimsum lovers start to assemble.
Impatiently, some of them rattle the doorhandle, on the off-chance they might be able to wait inside. Peninsula's staff must feel like Shaun of the Dead did as the ravening zombies attempted to claw their way into the Winchester.
Finally entry is approved, and I can't help feeling smug when my family waltz past everybody straight to our table.
We've got the menu and we've got the tick sheet. I try to read the thing but middle brother takes over and so I weakly bleat "Char Sui Bao for my hubby and 'low the tripe!"
Middle brother promptly ignores me and orders three pages of entrails and feet and other gooey stuff.
I want crispy, so I try to order suckling pig only to be denied. However, they do have a mixed roast meat platter so that will do for me.
Soon the dishes arrive - wave after wave of har gau and shiu mai and cheung fun begin to stack up.
There's jellyfish and chicken feet and curried whelks for my dad, and char siu puffs and spring rolls for the rest of us.
My nephew asks me to pick out the duck meat from the duck feet for him and I try to explain that there isn't really any.
We've also got two types of fried rice - one bog-standard with cardboardy prawns, but one with a gloriously gloopy gravy oozing throughout - we all want more of that one.
The mixed meat platter is another triumph - toothsome morsels of Peking Duck, char siu, siew yuk (crispy pork) and more jostle each other.
There's Singapore noodles, too dry but well-spiced, there's more-ish, slippery char kway teow.
There's also the best dish that day, beef brisket noodles. This is unctuous and intense, and we fight over the fat, meaty chunks that hide amongst the flat rice noodles.
I'm disappointed by the xiao long bao which stick to the steam basket and tear, so the chicken broth escapes through the cracks.
But the overall impact is lots of pockets of deliciousness which we can't stop cramming into our mouths, and I can't believe that we manage to leave quite so many leftovers (see below).
Eight adults and five children manage to eat like kings for £180, with plenty of leftovers (which of course we pack up to take away).
As we stagger out in a dimsummy haze, I reflect that the Peninsula's location may not be pretty, but delights await you inside.
Note to self - don't let middle brother order next time.
Holiday Inn Express
85 Bugsby’s Way
0208 269 1638