Charlie Chan is a bit of a Cambridge institution, having been around for more than 30 years (50 including earlier guises). It regularly enters lists of the best Chinese restaurants in the southeast, so it’s odd I hadn’t been there before – though that’s probably due to it being the most expensive in town. It does Chinese food (obviously) and dim sum.

Dim sum and dumplings, Charlie Chan, Cambridge

The owner is a bit gruff and wouldn’t let us in just a few minutes before official opening (even to sit in the lobby out of the rain), but the other two staff were nicer. The interior isn’t very interesting, but it’s comfortable. Food was quite good (I just had dim sum; fiancée had soup as well), but not that impressive for the money.

Soup, Charlie Chan, Cambridge

Fiancée had duck noodle soup, which was savoury and subtle and quite a bit of roast duck in it. We had a dim sum selection of vegetable dumplings (steamed – ok), vegetarian bean curd rolls (same filling in tofu skin, served with a nice vinegar), fried custard buns (less sweet and less eggy than I’ve had previously), crispy dough cheong fun (yoo tiow in a noodle skin, with soy sauce) and char siew pau (BBQ pork in steamed rice bread which she really liked).

More dim sum, Charlie Chan, Cambridge

Address: 14 Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DB

Telephone: 01223 359336


Directions: It’s at the western corner of Parker’s Piece, at 14 Regent Street.

(A version of this review was originally posted by me on VT)