Brimming with locals, the Royal China (Queensway) was super busy even for a late lunch sitting, which is always a good sign.
Walking onto the restaurant floor I am suddenly overcome by the creepiness of the room’s composition. You are surrounded by black shiny panelled walls boasting scenery of crashing waves and big birds, what’s more there are pillars made of mirrors which make endless reflections of the room’s hideousness. Thankfully, Royal China’s food was far more appetising and pretty.
I was brought back to earth by being handed a menu that comes complete with images, which I liked. What I also liked is that this place is totally traditional, genuine and authentic. It doesn’t succumb to the British squeaminess of “crude food”, so you will find and see chicken feet here.
Sesame Prawn Rolls (£3.95) – My friend dining is a prawn toast fan, but only when they’re done really well and Royal China’s got thumbs up all round. Sealing its success via huge prawns (and not mashed beyond being recognisable like you so often see). The imperfection to their craft also added a welcomed air of authenticity. Perfect uniform squares or triangles often scream bought in / frozen goods, but everything we ordered was clearly made and cooked on site from scratch.
CREDIT: Royal China Group
CREDIT: Royal China Group
Smoked Bacon Rolls with Chicken (£5.50)- Each Royal China branch has an exclusive dim sum menu specific to its location, and these were ordered off of the Queensway menu. Sweet presentation of gently steamed chicken wrapped in bacon and spring onion. I really enjoyed these delicately flavoured rolls, but I can see how it may be an odd experience for someone that may usually have their bacon crispy, as steamed bacon may be off putting for some (my friend did not get on with these well at all).
Honey Roast Pork Puffs (£3.85) – I had to bear with this dish as it is instantly heavy; sickly sweet honey pastry, with savoury being virtually undetectable, but more bites brought forward the bacon and its salty smokiness, and then toasty, nutty sesame seeds. I usually like dishes that make me eat more and more in order to explore its different depths, but my love or hate issues remain unresolved on this dish.
Pan-Fried Gyozas (£3.75) – Now these were love at first bite. I lust over gyozas and this was seriously superior to the many others I have sampled. Its exterior part crisp and golden and then areas of wet pancake make great for a trip of textures that are then met with a very well seasoned crumbly but moist sausage centre with a strong onion flavour. These came served on a bed of cress that worked well with the eggy pancake exterior. Both of us agreed on this being dim sum of the day and could have eaten a thousand more.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls (£3.85) – Piping hot, crisp golden cylinders packed tight with prawns, spring onion and a heavy handful of fresh coriander. These were pretty standard as rolls go. With savoury thirst quenched, I was interested to see what sweet offerings Royal China had on their menu.
Black Sesame Dumplings (£4.10) – I loved the thought of sweet dumplings, but these powdered puff balls are harvesting a warm, savoury grey matter (black sesame paste of some sort). The flavour much like the restaurant’s decor was just a little, disconcerting! The grey matter was not welcome on the table.
Chilled Mango Pudding (£3.65) – Contrasting the shadowy sesame dumplings came this wibbly-wobbly, bright corn yellow coloured pudding. Tasting strong with fresh mango, the presentation was cute & kitsch in a heart shape atop a school canteen style plastic plate. Very sweet in every way.
The service was fluid and warm, our drinks topped up regularly and food came as it was ready from the kitchen. I really love how Royal China’s authenticity shone through at every opportunity (and yes I suppose the decor and sesame grey matter is part of this too). Royal China’s gift to you is their gyozas’ and their generous portioning with meat/fish filled dishes, making Royal China great grub for your buck too.REVIEWED BY: Jordan Lohan
ADDRESS: 13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ
PHONE: +44 207 221 2535
RATING: ★★★ (explained)
PRICE: ££ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: Recommended 13% gratuity will be added to your bill.