WHEN 1805 first arrived on the Bournemouth restaurant scene last summer, it opened the doors to a whole new concept in Asian fine dining.

And one of the specialities of the house is dim sum (which apparently means “touching the heart”).

Dim sum is a Cantonese-style cuisine from southern China, parcels of meat, seafood and sweet fillings served in stacks of bamboo baskets, often served with pots of tea.

Fans of this particular dish, however, fear that authentic dim sum is becoming a dying art because freshness is so key to their success, which often means a very early start in order to prepare all the ingredients.

But 1805 even has its own dim sum head chef, Xing Yu, who has over 30 years of culinary experience, and has created an inspired dim sum menu which I was invited to check out in the run up to Chinese New Year last Tuesday.

A typical selection of dishes vary from parcels of ground pork and shrimp “siu mai” to sweet treats including custard and salted egg yolk buns.

We selected a few items from the lunch menu (which includes a very reasonable sounding lunch menu for around £15).

My particular dim sum favourites were the King Prawn Scallop Dumpling (£4.80), with pastry so thin that it could barely contain its succulent filling, the Meat Dumpling in chilli oil (£4.80) and the Lobster Dumpling with Champagne Sauce (£5.80).

Moving on to a couple of examples off the lunch menu, The Deep Fried Cuttlefish Cake (£4.80) was a little underwhelming in terms of flavour, but the Crispy Duck Rolls (£4.80) were superb – light and crispy and stuffed with slivers of fresh, crunchy vegetables with plenty of sweet tender duck.

We were also invited to try the King Prawn Rice Rolls (£5.20) which were a curious glutinous texture and incredibly filling. In Chinese cooking, texture is every bit the equal of taste, I’m told.

The chefs here pride themselves on elegant, honest fine food so they don’t use any artificial colourings or MSG.

Everything tastes natural and you can tell it has been freshly-prepared on the premises.

The restaurant itself is handsomely plush with hand-crafted dark wooden furniture and slick, knowing service.

This is a place which also pays homage to its roots with a display of historical artefacts, including a traditional carriage in the reception area.

Even the name of the restaurant is significant, as it marks the year that the first Chinese people became established British citizens, a significant moment in history and a move so rare it required an Act of Parliament.

Restaurant owner LinLin Xing explained: “We wanted to choose a name with real meaning and significance, for our restaurant is not just about the food, it’s about the whole Chinese culture.”