Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Restauants - Royal China - Baker Street

Royal China
24-26 Baker Street, W1U 7AB

This is one of my favourite places to eat in London. I love dim sum and I love this restaurant, although I find it hard to choose between between the Baker Street branch (there are two here - Royal China, and Royal China Club next door - a tiny bit confusing to say the least) and the other I frequent in Queensway. The food is almost always excellent and done to a very high standard, the service is similar in quality, and providing you turn up promptly when they are open, it doesn't take too long to be seated. Anyway, given how often I go and how much I love it, this will have to serve as the first installment of series of blogs - it's a big menu after all!

Right, on to the food. Admittedly this time we turned up for a late lunch and a few things were off the menu, but we ordered about seven dishes which arrived at the table in dribs and drabs - which I like. Chinese convention is that the only table that is happy is one that is groaning under the weight of bamboo steamers - to the point where diners should not be able to see each other. However I like it when I can take my time eating and everything is still hot and fresh when I get around to trying it.

Baked Milk & Egg Tarts

The first dish to arrive was a dessert dish, 'Baked Milk & Egg Tarts' (£3.20). As this is a room temperature tart we left it until the end of the meal. They were good egg custard tarts, but for me perhaps the weakest element of our lunch.

Prawn Cheung Fun

Moving on, the next dish to arrive was the steamed 'Prawn Cheung Fun' (£4.50) - one of my favourites - with fresh prawn, soft rice noodle and a delicious sweet soy sauce. I must admit I do spend most of my time eating this dish wondering how the chefs manage to get something so delicate onto a plate without it falling apart.

Stuffed Bean Curd Rolls

Next up was the 'Stuffed Bean Curd Rolls' (£3.10) - a steamed dish with a soft, slightly chewy bean curd skin stuffed with prawn and minced pork - delicious with a great texture contrast.

Turnip Cake with Chinese Cured Meat

The following dish was 'Turnip Cake with Chinese Cured Meat' (£3.10). The 'cake' is made of rice flour and shredded radish which is steamed and then cut into blocks before frying. When cooked right the cake has a wonderful soft texture with a slightly crunchy outer surface. This is a dish Royal China does extremely well, and is one J. and I always order.

Shanghai Pork Dumpling - Xiao long bao

I love xiao long bao, or Shanghai dumplings, and although not Royal China's strongest dish they are still great. The 'Shanghai Pork Dumpling' (£3.30) had a good amount of liquid inside them and good flavour.

Glutinous Rice Lotus Leaves

Another one of my favourites, 'Glutinous Rice Lotus Leaves' (£3.90), a little heavy compared to most dim sum dishes. The lotus leaves impart a subtle flavour in the glutinous rice, and I love the combination of Chinese sausage (lap cheong), mushroom and salted egg yolk.

Prawn Dumplings - Har Gau

The last dish to arrive was the dim sum classic Har Gau, or 'Prawn Dumplings' (£3.50). This dish is done really well here with the soft, translucent rice wrapper and the perfectly steamed and tasty prawn within. 

The lunch was fantastic, I always love eating here and cannot recommend it strongly enough. The prices are a little more expensive than elsewhere but overall the quality and the service is extremely reliable and makes it worthwhile. Lunch here comes in at less than £20pp including tea.

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