If you want to enjoy good Chinese you would do well to keep well away from Chinatown. In London that is, as other Chinatown's somehow seem to be somewhat better (Manchester is a great example in the UK). However, for me, there is one shining oasis in a sea of unattractive ducks in steamy restaurant windows.
New World is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in London, supposedly, and given that the menu hasn't changed for about 50 years I can believe this. It is also one of the very few places in London to still do a trolley dim sum service. We go semi-regularly as a group of friends and a few weeks ago we squeezed in a cheeky visit whilst in Soho for the evening. Some excellent dim sum dishes were selected from the trolley, my favourite being the big pork buns. About 10 dishes were shared between two of us and all were great, except for chicken feet, which I won't be ordering again. No-one should, ever.
OK, so the staff are rude and the restaurant was closed down by the council a few years ago due to a complete lack of hygiene in the kitchen but all that is part of its un-changed, crumbling 1960s charm. In Soho and want a Chinese? Afraid that a Chinatown restaurant will lead to (at best) regular trips to the bathroom? Give New World a go, right by the Chinatown NCP so well placed as part of an afternoon shopping trip.
Go during the day for trolley service dim sum, or during the evening for one of the set meals (No. 5 is my tip) and make sure you have the salt and pepper squid. If you are lucky you'll get a big revolving table, we like to pretend we are there to conduct an illicit business deal of some kind, spinning our offer around the table (like in the first scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).