By Wen Bing Hou
Whenever I’m searching for a restaurant to dine in I tend to conduct “quick research”. If a particular restaurant has an intriguing history it tends to seal the deal. This is the case when I’m in China, anyway.
We were hunting the streets for a decent restaurant on a typical dreary, wet London day when we stumbled across Royal China. The Royal China is a chain of restaurants, originally having been established in Canton, China. Come 1998 until the present, it has achieved iconic status in London and worldwide fame.
We visited the company’s Queensway branch. On our way in, I overhear some someone say that she has been coming regularly for over two decades, so it was already very encouraging. We are greeted on the other side of the stainless glass door by two marble lions. I’m pleased. After all, the lion represents excellence in Chinese culture. Before sitting down, my partner and I realise the restaurant’s prestige in and outside Chinese communities. Social media reveals nothing but praise for the restaurant.
The epitome Cantonese food
We are instantly ushered to our table by an overly friendly lady. She mentions that the Royal China Queensway branch was the first of its UK restaurants. She advises us to try the chain’s famous Dim Sum. Ostensibly, their Dum Sums are tastier than Hong Kong’s. The menu is very impressive.
The restaurant has authentic Cantonese food: I really recommend the delicious honey roast pork for £9.80. After much deliberation we decide on having 6 fresh scallops steamed in black bean sauce at £8.50 each, a special chicken broth which took a few hours to make at £22, fresh lobster at seasonal price and a crispy aromatic duck at £25. Then we notice at the bottom of the menu: “Your ULTIMATE Dim Sum experience.” So we order numerous plates of Dim Sum, with a special mention for the chicken and chive dumplings.
The decor is very traditional. Many people were admiring the countless animal paintings adjourning the long corridors. I was peacefully listening to Chinese music being played. Being surrounded with the colour black is pretty cool and brings a really relaxing type of atmosphere. Us Chinese regard black as symbolising Heaven’s colour. Also, lucky red was featured in the restaurant! The restaurant’s staff are very generous and ever helpful. We notice that they assist anyone with any queries. Before our food arrives I mentally think that I’d recommend this restaurant to anyone. It feels like a second home to me. For a split second I believe that am still in China, especially being surrounded by so many Chinese people.
Service and Food
Our food swiftly arrives. The array of delicious smells light up the taste buds. The chicken soup was rich and rewarding to the senses, like a perfect tasty tonic. The scallops and the lobster were a taste sensation. The freshness equalled its taste. With no time to spare one of China’s famous dishes – the aromatic duck – arrives. The tenderness was superb. We savoured every mouth full. Then came the final dish: Dim Sum. For all who aren’t aware, Dim Sum is a selection of steam fried dumplings. Ours tasted of various meats. Absolutely tip-top.
For any Chinese person visiting London, dining at the Royal China is vital. Not only will you be tasting world-class food, but will be surrounded with authentic Chinese culture. I commend the waitress for the astonishing speed of service. I’ve never come across a restaurant which such an amazing service system. It was also remarkable to hear staff members being able to communicate in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. The ambiance was incredible. All diners felt totally relaxed and full following their splendid meals. It was a really nice Chinese dining experience in the UK, although we are far away from home, the food, atmosphere and aroma gave us a brief comforting reminder.
For all who are interested in visiting the opening times are as follows: Sunday: 11:00AM – 10:00PM; Monday to Saturday: 12:00PM – 11:00PM. I can assure you that, should you dine here, it will be a taste sensation.