New? Established in 1996, Royal China now has 6 award-winning restaurants across London. Baker Street is the flagship but we stayed West and visited the Fulham Road branch one Wednesday evening.
Where? 805 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HE
On the menu: Traditional Chinese fare with all the classics you’d expect, Royal China is known for it’s Dim Sum, which unfortunately is only available at lunch time. The illustrated menu makes things a bit confusing so unless you can see beyond the ornate oversized lettering and randomly placed images, it may be a good idea to plump for one of the set menus like the House Dinner we went for.
First Impressions: The dining room is smart but lacked any real character. A few contented diners were already tucking in to crispy duck and chicken dishes, we could tell they were locals which is always a positive sign.
The Look: A traditional upmarket Chinese, the dining room has a black and gold mural on one wall – a colour scheme that continues throughout. White linen and plush carpet made it smart.
What We Ate: The wait for our starters was quite long but the feast that eventually came made up for it. Starters came on a big platter; sesame prawn toast, spicy shredded chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls, mini pork chops and (the best bit) crispy seaweed, although the seaweed was tossed in sugar which I found unnecessary, especially when the rest of the starters were quite sickly sweet. Starters were whisked away and replaced by crispy duck, brought over in one piece before being chopped up into pancake sized pieces at a side table. Chicken in black bean and pepper sauce was good but my favourite dish was Szechuan-style sautéed prawns in red chilli sauce. The prawns were huge and cooked to perfection and despite being sweet, the sauce wasn’t overpowering. Stir fried green veg made us feel a little healthier, and individual baskets of fried rice with roast pork and shrimps were hard to resist.
What We Drank: A bottle of white sat in an ice bucket next to us and the attentive waitresses kept us topped up.
Go With: Chinese is always best shared amongst friends. The portions here were vast and our set menu could quite happily have been shared with 3 or 4 but that’s the best part of Chinese food anyway – variation in dishes means there’s something for everyone and no one goes hungry.
Final Word: Classic Chinese, Royal China was relatively unfussy but with efficient service and the Fulham restaurant definitely felt like a great local to have. I can imagine quite happily tucking into it on a Friday night from my sofa (more inviting than the dining room), but I will definitely pay the Baker Street venue a visit for Dim Sum when I’m at a loose end one lunch time and happen to be in that neck of the woods.