An authentic Chinese dining experience at Royal China
I must admit that I rarely opt for a Chinese restaurant when I go out for dinner. This is largely due to some bad experiences in the past, where the food has been overly filling, oily and fatty. However, this style of cuisine is hugely popular with many of my friends and I have been meaning to put the unfavourable memories to rest for some time.
A fresh start was calling and when I was invited to Royal China it was the perfect opportunity to try and rediscover the delights of Chinese food.
The Royal China Group was definitely the best place to turn my opinion on its head. The prestigious restaurants are scattered throughout London and have a reputation for hosting several high profile chefs. Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal are regularly seen at the Baker Street branch, which boasts authentic and fresh Dim Sum that is served from noon until 5pm, inline with Chinese tradition.
I chose to visit the Queensway branch, which is located a short distance from Kensington Palace. Although I arrived relatively early (just after 6.30pm), the restaurant was already beginning to fill up. Many of the guests were Chinese, which was a really encouraging sign.
Although the venue looks relatively small on approach, a long corridor leads guests from the discreet entrance to a large, open-plan dining area. The tables were immaculately presented and accommodate a significant gathering or – in my case – dinner for two.
I was joined by The Sloaney’s Social Correspondent Katie Ann Lamb who is somewhat of an expert when it comes to navigating the menu at Chinese restaurants. I let Katie take charge and we began with a generous helping of duck pancakes, which were piping hot and served with very fresh ingredients. There is plenty of choice for those wanting to begin their meal with such a course; Peking Duck, Crispy Aromatic Duck and Vegetarian Crispy Duck are among the alluring options.
Rather than limit ourselves to main courses, Katie wanted to explore as much of the menu as possible so we could have a broad overview of some of the best dishes. With this in mind, we decided to share a selection of smaller options and I was very impressed by the quality and original presentation.
Highlights included, Deep-Fried Baby Squid with Spicy Salt, Sauteed Pak-choy with Garlic, Sauteed Chinese Broccoli with Ginger and the Crispy Prawn Rolls. The Pan-Fried Black Cod and Deep-Fried Fillet of Dover Sole both looked delicious and I would definitely try one of these next time. The ‘Chef’s Favourites’ include Chicken with Fresh Mango and Stewed Pork Belly (hotpot).
There is a good wine list available that features (very chilled) champagne by the glass. Cocktails or even Chinese Tea can also prove a good accompaniment.
By the time we had finished eating, the restaurant was progressing from moderately busy to full, pretty quickly. This was impressive for a Tuesday evening in London and I can only imagine that pre-booking during the weekend is almost essential if you want to guarantee a table. Despite the busy atmosphere, the service remained attentive throughout our sitting.
With an authentic menu that boasts a selection of fresh food, with a particular flair for seafood, it is safe to say that I was successfully wooed by Royal China.
Royal China is located at 13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ Tel: 020 7221 2535 www2.royalchinagroup.biz