ROYAL CHINA QUEENSWAY
Famed for having some of the best dim sum in London, Mark Kebble follows where Tom Parker Bowles leads by reviewing Royal China Queensway
The first thing my guests and I are told when shown to our table at the newly refurbished Royal China Queensway is that Tom Parker Bowles comes here once a week to enjoy dim sum for lunch. High praise, indeed, but Tom isn’t anywhere to be seen today – although it appears like most of Queensway are here for a Royal China fix as almost every table is taken by happy looking punters.
From the outside, you could miss the rather diminutive frontage, but it’s a whole new world once you enter the front door. 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. Royal China Queensway is the oldest London restaurant in the prestigious Royal China collection, but the changes have brought it right up to speed – but they still serve their traditional, authentic Hong Kong Chinese cuisine.
Our lunch begins with a selection of hot appetizers. The deep-fried baby squid with spicy salt is quickly devoured by all, the duck pancake rolls not as popular, but still a hit with their chilli dip. Ribs, glistening with sauce, are picked at. Small talk commences, but we are all thinking the same thing: bring on the dim sum.
What follows are five different versions of Royal China’s legendary dim sum, featuring different textures and fillings. There’s one with prawn and seafood, a sticky exterior housing a delectable chunk of fish; another is meat with an altogether different wrapping, like a meatball taken to the next level; another comes out, this time filled with pork and is a particular favourite; another fish concoction that is accompanied by a tangy dip that quickly disappears from the table; the scallop version is a little too liquidy to be a hit, but is still an intriguing taste… The list could go on, and why we decided on asking for rice and vegetables on the side beats me as they are barely touched due to the filling nature of the dim sum.
As we are left with the final few scraps that, despite our stomachs insisting on calling time out, we still pick at, it’s clear that Royal China is indeed the place to go for high quality dim sum. I will make a note not to try and contact Tom Parker Bowles during the week at lunch.
13 Queensway W2 4QJ; 020 7221 2535; royalchinagroup.biz