East Meets West at Dim Sum House’s New Wedding and Event Space
Four words: king crab three ways.
Philly’s already incredible lineup of wedding venues just grew yet again thanks to Wednesday’s much-anticipated (and super-festive) debut of Xi West in University City. (Lion dancers! Fire crackers! Karaoke!)
After a tough couple of years, events are back, and owner Jane Guo welcomed guests to the new space with fanfare and a show-stopping rendition of Celine Dion’s Titanic ballad “My Heart Will Go On.” One thing is for sure: Xi West was made to create moments.
Xi West is the first dedicated private-event venue from Guo and Jackson Fu, the mother-son duo behind Dim Sum House by Jane G’s, and is one of the largest Chinese- and female-owned wedding and catering spots in the city. And Dim Sum House patrons really, really wanted it — there was high demand for a larger event space at the restaurant, which sits on the second floor and connects to Xi West. (Both have separate entrances.)
And, now, they have it — and all the dim sum they can eat.
“Xi” means “west” in Chinese; the name is “our iteration of Eastern culture meets Western culture,” according to the team. You get a feel for that throughout. The 6,000-square-foot space was designed by architect Fred Vidi Design with interiors by Janice Mok of Mok Design Inc. and boasts a modern industrial-loft-style vibe.
The experience begins in the window-lined bar and cocktail-party area, which connects to the main ballroom via a set of sleek dark-hued doors. Almost every wall has a different texture, from wood paneling to vertical grooves to brick with geometric metalwork. There’s rich, red uplighting and large screens for showing videos, speeches and photos.
The room can be subdivided with piping and draping for a cozier feel, and there’s space for a dance floor. A 500-square-foot getting-ready suite complete with a private bathroom is available for the wedding party to primp and prep.
The main ballroom can accommodate 225 seated and 350 for a standing cocktail-style reception. Guests will dine at round tables that seat eight to 10 each (on Chameleon chairs).
And, now, the food. Cuisine is served family-style in the Chinese tradition to encourage sharing. Private-event food menus range from the Golden Phoenix ($750 per table) with crystal shrimp and shrimp-chive dumplings, Peking duck and sizzling beef short rib, to the Jade Throne ($1,780 per table) with live king crab three ways — a steamed minced garlic sauce rose (body), garlic honey tempura legs and crab meat with umami fried rice. (It’s a rare dish in Philly and what Dim Sum House is known for.) If you would prefer to have a dim sum menu for your wedding, you can opt for that as well. There are also various reception packages.
The menus are customizable, with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options — and the bar slings unique cocktails, some made with coffee from La Colombe. (Eventually, Xi West’s front will turn into a cafe and coffee shop during the day.) At Xi West’s debut party, the favorite of the night was a sweet, distinctive lychee martini.
Want to hold your ceremony here? You sure can — if it’s on the smaller side. (The team will flip the room while you and your guests enjoy the cocktail reception in the bar and lounge area, which accommodates at most 100 people.)
There is a preferred list of vendors (including the likes of Love Me Do Photography); certain outside vendors are allowed as well but you must receive approval first.
An on-site coordinator, GM Veasna Houn, can also help arrange unique experiences — like those fire crackers and lion dancers from the Philadelphia Suns we saw at the grand-opening celebration.
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