I’ve been coming to Royal China for years, which I missed deeply during the recent months of refurbishment. Having opened yesterday with its ever long queue for dim sum, I opt for the much quieter dinner where booking was not an requirement. I have no idea why the refurbishment has taken so long as the deco remained identical.
Royal China has been a hit and miss over the past years. I’ve been disappointed at Chinese new year where the dishes were heavily commercialised with no flavour and a ridiculous price tag, but during the normal days, its silky tofu pot can always make me feel more homey than any other restaurant. It’s one of those places that you need to know what to order to have a good meal.
After a long refurbishment that deprived us from enjoying the casual 10 min walk to a decent all round Chinese restaurant, we found the new place to be identical to its old self without the comforting dividers between the tables. Now you just have one large open area, like the ones you’d find in a large corporate company, a forever open space full of people making noises.
The menu has been updated with more pictures for the ease of ordering between pages and pages of delicious Chinese dishes. As a party of three, we ordered four dishes with some rice, which was more than enough as none of us managed to finish everything.
Silken tofu pot
This is my favourite dish at Royal China, one that I always order with a bowl of steamed rice. The silken tofu saturated with an intensely rich pork minced sauce was ideal with rice. I can eat two bowls of rice with this tofu dish alone. It’s difficult to add flavour to tofu but this dish had easily accomplished it.
I’ve not tried this dish before, and it looked identical to Peking duck with the caramelised skin. A petite plate of salt came as its compliment, but I preferred it as it was, crispy skin and a rich roasted flavour, nothing but traditional Cantonese.
Stir fry scallop and vegetables
You can’t have Chinese food without some form of stir fry that balances it all. This dish was mild in flavour, clean scallops and healthy vegetables that served the perfect bridge between the oily chicken and the heavily sauced tofu.
This dish was new on the menu, heavily infused with a rich broth that turned the soft aubergine into a rather meaty flavour.
Verdict - 3/5
Food (good all round) - there was nothing special about Royal China, a decent Chinese restaurant that serves Cantonese food with high quality. If you can, avoid the queue for afternoon dim sum on weekends and try their roast pork puff, my favourite in London.
Service (Chinese style) - expect nothing but Chinese style service.
Cost (cheapish) - the three of us spent £70, which was decent for a Chinese restaurant.