28 February 2013

Royal China Canary Wharf

Not all my meals at restaurants make the blog, I've been mainly writing about fine dining establishments, with a focus on those which provide vegetarian menus, and those with Michelin Stars. Chain restaurants, average, bad and even decent casual meals don't usually get blogged. Today though, I had a terrific lunch at Royal China, worthy of a write up. Royal China is a group of restaurants known to me, many years ago my family visited the Queensway branch regularly. The restaurants are very popular with the Chinese community, always a good sign.

One our team members at work had her last day in the office, as she was heading off on maternity leave and wanted a goodbye lunch with the team. Upon arriving we were sat at 2 large tables, with 16 of us they didn't have a table big enough. A choice of a la carte menu or dim sum menus were available. Most on my table went for soup and a dish from the a la carte menu for a main course, with rice and vegetable dishes to share. I went for a selection of dim sum.

Prawn and coriander dumplings had a nice crunch from water chestnuts, prawns were fresh and well cooked, and a strong coriander taste.

Chinese turnip (daikon) and cured meat cakes were unusual, sticky from the cornstarch binding , but plenty of daikon and cured meat that kept their flavour.

Royal China Cheung Fun were 3 different cheung fun, a superb king prawn, with excellent tasting prawns, one with pork, with a nice sweet and savoury char sui pork, and one with tofu. These were the best of the dim sum, slippery, wafer thin cheung fun, well packed with tasty ingredients, and laying in a particularly good soy sauce.

Xiaolongbao are Shanghai Pork Soup Dumplings, steamed dumplings, filled with a pork mince and a liquid soup. I had the molecular version at Bo London, and it was good to try the original version. These had an excellent pork mince, and filled the mouth with an excellent pork soup when bitten into. They came with a sweet vinegar dip that matched the richness of pork fat in the soup very well.

I also tried some Kai Lan (Gai Lan/Chinese Broccoli), one plate with garlic and one with ginger. The kai lan was steamed well, retaining some crunch without losing any flavour and freshness. I also tried a Char Sui Bao, a pork steam bun, this had an excellent bun, very light and fluffy with a  sweet pork centre. Also sampled was crispy chicken, this was half a chicken in an excellent sweet and incredibly shiny glaze, albeit a bit dry. A sweet and sour chicken, prawn kung pao and chicken and noodle dish were ok. 

Service was quick, they must be used to the legion of suits from Canary Wharf having lunch, and most but not all dishes came out at the same time, although all my dim sum came out between my colleagues soup and main courses, so they all had a laugh watching me take pics and eat it until their dishes arrived.

My dim sum were £3.30 - £4.50 for 3, good value for their quality, and best of all our boss covered the entire lunch for all 16 of us! 

I was impressed with Royal China, I ate at the Queensway branch many, many times in the Eighties, my father was PR and then GM at a group of London casino's. He covered South East Asia so we were regulars when we wined and dined his punters, but that was many years ago, I was much younger and more interested in quantity than quality, and I haven't tried too many high end Chinese restaurants since. I will certainly return with my wife at some point, I know the tofu has a good reputation, and a number of vegetarian dishes were available.

Royal China

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