The flavours of Asia are among my most favourite. It’s hard for me to go more than a few days without cooking or eating something inspired by the far east. I may even go so far as to say I have an addiction. But the thing is, it’s an addiction I’m proud of and one I certainly don’t want to beat.
I’m also lucky to have a Chinese friend who is happy to go and stuff her face with me any given day of the week with authentic Chinese food (or any food, for that matter). She orders in Chinese (something which never ceases to impress) and I wait, mouth salivating, for said order to arrive. It’s perhaps the only time I’m quiet. So when I asked my friend to come and try the newly renovated Royal China in Queensway for some Dim Sum over lunch, it didn’t take her too long to say a resounding yes.
The Royal China restaurants (there are six of them across London) offer traditional Hong Kong Chinese dishes. The group is renowned for its Dim Sum, which is served daily from Noon until 5pm and includes Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Spicy Sauce and Pan-fried Fillet of Duck Breast Rolls. Each restaurant has a dedicated Dim Sum Chef, as well as a Head Chef.
The Queenway branch, the first of the group to launch, has been open for 20 years and recently underwent a total refurbishment. The new-look 130-seat restaurant features a stunning gold leaf ceiling, and a new ornate hand-painted Chinese mural with a modern twist on the classic Royal China wave motif. It’s an elegant, if not dramatic, place to sit down and gossip over some of the best Dim Sum in London.
When two girls that love to eat – and particularly love to eat Chinese food – go for a Chinese lunch, needless to say epic amounts of food are ordered so please bear with me while I try my best to list everything we ate (note: I probably won’t be able to).
The fried stuff: Fried Minced Squid Balls & Fried Crispy Spring Rolls (£3.10 each) – both crispy, not at all oily and packed to the brim with their respective fillings.
The interesting stuff: Turnip Cake with Chinese Cured Meat (£3.10) – one of my favourites for its completely unique flavour and texture and one I am going to try to recreate at home. Prawn Cheung Fun (£4.50) – slippery, barely needs chewing and goes down so easily, you may want to order two plates just to be safe.
The traditional stuff: Minced Pork Dumplings with Shrimp (£3.20) – these are a classic for a reason. Firm, sweet and encased perfectly in a barely there steamed skin, oh steamed dumplings, how you’ll always hold my heart.
The daring stuff: Chicken Feet with Rice Wine (£3.10) – you must not be afraid because the truth is, feet are every bit as good as the wing if given the same love and attention. Lots of skin means lots of flavour and getting to gnaw on any chicken bone is always a win in my mind.
If all of this seems like a lot for a simple, friendly lunch, that’s perhaps the beauty of Royal China. The cooking is so delicate and flavours so fresh, it’s easy (and perhaps dangerous) to eat as much as all of this and then some. Royal China is a truly authentic taste of the east and a place I will always be happy to travel up the Central Line to, friend in tow, and gossip over its perfectly moreish Dim Sum.
Tel: 0207 221 2535