dim sum lunch at royal china
I’ve been hankering for some dim sum since we got back from the US and today I finally got my fix when I met a friend at Royal China on queensway for a quick lunch. B and I have brunch there most weekends, arriving just after 11am (when they open) to avoid the long queues. Not only is it cheap and cheerful, but dim sum is great for a hangover!
We were hungry, so we quickly ordered (as most typical Chinese restaurants, the staff were brusque but efficient) and within minutes the first bamboo baskets were placed in front of us. We started with some juicy steamed har gao (prawn dumplings) with delicate translucent skins and tasty siew mai (pork and prawn dumplings) eaten with a generous helping of chili oil (naturally!).
A couple of fried dishes swiftly followed – plump fried squid cakes served with a piquant chili, garlic and vinegar dipping sauce and sesame and prawn paper rolls which we had both not tried before. The prawn rolls were pretty good although a little greasy and could have done with some kind of dipping sauce (we just went ahead and dunked it in the chili).
Last out were the pan-fried turnip paste and prawn cheong fun. The turnip paste was lovely and soft inside, golden and slightly crusty on the outside – yum! BB and I were commenting that whenever we meet for dim sum we are always starved and I think it’s because we spend the hours leading up to lunch just thinking about all there is to eat!
The prawn cheong fun is pretty consistently good here, with a thin pastry/skin and most importantly, a sauce that is not too sweet or salty. A hugely satisfying meal all for just over £20 for two! Our only complaint was that the chilli oil wasn’t spicy enough – it really varies depending on which chef has made it, sometimes it’s so hot it can blow your head off!
The queensway/bayswater branch of Royal China definitely serves the best quality dim sum in London, heaps better than any of the Chinatown eateries. Other places we occasionally like to yum cha at are Pearl Liang which has good solid traditional dim sum and it also means we can sleep in, as unlike Royal China, they take reservations. For posher surroundings, upscale Yauatcha is a good option. They use fancier ingredients (the scallop siew mai is fantastic), have brilliant cocktails and also serve dim sum in the evenings. Royal China Club is not bad either but they do a modern take on dim sum and it’s the traditional fare that we most often crave.
Royal China (Queensway)
London, W2 4QJ
t. 0871 426 0550