Despite having read about the understated decor, I was still surprised by just how pared back it is in there. We ate in the first floor dining room, which is a little sleeker than the ground floor but small and packed with tables. The restaurant wasn't full though so we didn't have any immediate neighbours.
We ordered tap water which was met with undisguised disdain, but we ignored it. We were after a quick bite before seeing Blue Jasmine and it's the perfect place for a brief visit. Food arrived quickly.
First up the pork belly and bamboo pot sticker dumplings (£6.50). These were good, the pot could have been a bit stickier, but the best thing was the soy dipping sauce, so good.
More pork taking the form of soyed slivers which were to be wrapped in tofu sheets and garnished with spring onion (£6.50). I've never eaten anything like this before, the wraps being completely different in texture to other Chinese varieties I have tried. Different in a good way.
The unanimous favourite dish of the night was this tofu with pork and black beans. It was doused in chilli oil and was fiercely hot, we ordered some boiled rice to temper it slightly. Loved it. Think this was around £8.
I was a bit disappointed with the dan dan noodles (£4.50), they lacked heat and sauce. The minced beef topping was dry and the noodles claggy. Yipin China's version is far superior.
Last to appear was the spinach in garlic (£6). Really good and powerfully flavoured, loads and loads of garlic.
As usual, we ordered way too much and were defeated. I'd echo Marina's sentiment that the dishes best executed at Baiwei are the tofu ones. Was certainly true of our experience, I wouldn't say I'm a tofu lover, but that was the most memorable part of the meal.
Good value for the amount of food, we paid about £16 each, I might go back, but won't rush. Happy to have eaten here though, because I work so close yet rarely eat in Chinatown, something I've been saying for years and still intend to rectify.
8 Little Newport St