I have yet to compile a list of all the decent Chinese restaurants in London (excl Ping Pong) not sure why I never got around to doing so but as they say… a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!
My quest will begin here at Royal China and end sometime in Dec when I go back to the motherland. Now I know the horse has been beaten to death by critics and bloggers alike but for the reasons below (please see) it’s good enough for me:
- Locations in Queensway, Baker Street, Canary Wharf, Fulham and Harrow you can’t miss it!
- The defining factor for any Chinese restaurant penultimately boils down to their ability to handle dim sums and some claim these are ‘Dim Sums to die for’.
- The last reason is more for my own peace of mind than anything and I’d like to think I wholeheartedly trust in the judgement of my fellow bloggers on this one.
In search for the perfect occasion and company, I couldn’t ask for anyone better than my very own mama who just so happened to be visiting from a year abroad in China. She was thrilled to learn my idea of a good time was taking her to eat yet more Chinese food upon landing, apparently eating it 3 times a day for the last 365 days was not enough.
On a sunny day, Royal China in Westferry Circus is a beautiful sight to behold, the sun shines above the River Thames reflecting the water into a million sparkles.
We covered a few essentials ordering from the à la carte and dim sum menu.
Braised Bean Curd Stuffed with Minced Seafood £8.80
Pan-Fried Stuffed Egg Plant with minced shrimp in black bean sauce £9.80
Great textures and meaty bites but there needs to be some sort of rice or noodles on the side to soak up the rich gravy, ordering some is highly recommended.
Cantonese Honey Roasted Pork £8.20
Cha Sui or Cha Shao pork is the Chinese equivalent to your hunk of meat on the barbie. Traditionally marinated with soy sauce, honey and five spice you can virtually find this dish in and around every corner within a block radius of Leicester Square, however the marinating process is a skill that’s often imitated but never duplicated. Tastes vary depending on restaurant quality, oh the ideal version, dare I say like how it’s done in Royal China, is sweet and smokey with an obligatory streak of fat running through the centre rendering the meat juicy and tender.
Crispy Shredded Beef in bird nest £8.50
Lord only knows what this was, a savoury dish cooked in the most unsavoury way. The meat was a kind of tough beef jerky covered in sticky orange sauce, the type that assumes every non-asian person would love. NO. I pass on in disappointment.
Royal China Cheung Fun £3.60
I always order cheung fun by virtue of habit around my table as I never fail to marvel at the translucent skins bursting with fillings at both ends. The Royal China one is a pyramid stacked trio filled generously with prawns, beef and pork in each sleeve and served with a dash of sweet soy sauce and sesame oil.
Steamed Sweet Lotus Paste Buns with Egg Yolk £2.60
You only have to take one look at these and giggle at the uncanny resemblance to the butt-less chap wearing babies of China. Ok babies and mooning aside, the wonderfully soft buns are filled with a luscious lotus paste and a salted egg yolk – getting these is a MUST.
The service was also very attentive, probably because we were the only ones eating lunch at the awkward time of 15:30, nonetheless friendly and patient.
Overall I really loved most of the food in Royal China and I believe it’s a great tip of the iceberg introduction to quality Chinese food around London.
Next up… Wong Kei.