Trying 5 classic dishes at Royal China #London #Restaurants #CanaryWharf
Trying 5 classic dishes at Royal China, Canary Wharf
Freelance writer Charlotte Elizabeth reviews the Royal China restaurant.
A drizzly Tuesday evening in the business district of London isn’t the setting which springs to mind when picturing authentic Chinese cuisine. Leaving the towering banks of Canary Wharf behind, the crowds thin. By the time you reach the river, there are only a few people around. But stepping into the Royal China restaurant is stepping into another world; a buzzing atmosphere and delicious smells await inside the unassuming building.
At 7pm the restaurant is already over half full, with varied tables of solo diners, business groups and friendly gatherings. At one point a family arrives straight from the airport – luggage in tow after returning from holiday and asking their taxi driver to drop them here instead of home. Staff greet them warmly and you can tell they have visited many times before. The food clearly calls for repeat visits.
Sitting down at the intricately dressed table complete with traditional place settings, we see the menu is varied, with traditional and more contemporary options all present. After being tempted by too many delicious-sounding dishes for two people to comfortably enjoy, and much deliberating, we decide to put Royal China’s food to the test by ordering some Chinese classics:
1. Crispy aromatic duck
Most tables around us were starting their feast with duck and pancakes, so we happily joined this trend. The staff are clearly aware of the popularity of this choice, and the duck with all trimmings was at our table mere minutes after ordering. The flavourful duck is presented, then whisked away to be shredded, returning expertly prepared and ready to roll. Our verdict: the right balance of crispy, crunchy, tangy and savoury. It’s easy to understand why its a popular dish.
2. Crabmeat & sweetcorn soup
The glutinous egg-drop soup is present on Chinese menus worldwide, and no exception at Royal China who offer both a chicken and crabmeat variation. The comforting sweet and salty flavours were delivered as expected; crunchy corn accompanying the delicate meat for a satisfying and perfectly temperate bowl of soup
3. Pork dumplings
Dim sum is a favourite food of this reviewer, and Royal China does indeed offer a great selection. From the evening a la carte menu, we chose the pork dumplings; tender, juicy meat encased in a soft pastry blanket. The Spring dim sum menu is a recent seasonal collection available now, and there are definitely many exciting options to sample.
4. Stir fried seafood in birds nest
I was intrigued by the number of dishes on the menu which are served in birds nest; something I have heard of being a (very expensive) Chinese delicacy. Upon ordering, we found the birds nest in question for this dish was a crispy basket to present the food, not dissimilar to a delicately woven prawn cracker. Nibbling some which had absorbed the flavours of the sauce was a delicious accompaniment to the sautéed scallop and prawn dish.
5. Crispy shredded beef
My dining partner has to be the only person I’ve met who had never before tasted this dish. It has always been a firm-favourite takeaway order from my youth, and after spying it on the menu, it was added to our classics taste-test. Arriving beautifully presented, the large pile of crispy shedded beef strips were dressed to perfection in the traditional sweet-spicy coating. Perfectly crisp and flavourful, this remains one of the most moreish dishes I tasted.
Overall, at Royal China the portions are generous, arrive quickly, are beautifully presented and expertly flavoured. There’s sadly no room left for dessert this time, a sign we had indeed enjoyed a feast. After finishing our meal and looking around the room at the now near-full restaurant, we spy plenty of dishes we wish we’d tried; you can see how it’s easy to become a regular at Royal China.
Chatting to the manager on the way out, he friendlily explains this is not actually a very busy evening for them. I’m not at all surprised, and while I am confident of the restaurants ability to efficiently seat diners, next time I’ll be securing my reservation in advance.
The Royal China Group consists of five authentic and prestigious Chinese restaurants, including the critically-acclaimed Royal China Club, centrally on Baker Street, as well as Baywater, Fulham and Canary Wharf. The Royal China restaurants offer traditional Hong Kong Chinese dishes, while the Royal China Club provides an exclusive experience.