Here’s how to make an entrance – along a walkway & over a footbridge above a koi-filled pond & into Imperial China’s dining room. Inside, dark woods, plush carpets & well-dressed tables position the restaurant firmly at the classier end of Chinatown. So it’s surprising the menu is middle-of-the-road, containing many dishes seen in high-street restaurants across the land. You might start with prawn toast or barbecue spare ribs, then a soup (hot & sour, chicken & sweetcorn) or crispy duck with pancakes & hoisin sauce. Next are more classics: chicken with cashew nuts, salt & pepper squid. A more interesting time can be had at lunchtime dim sum (beef & pineapple dumplings, baked shredded turnip pastry). The experience, however, doesn’t always match the grandeur of the surroundings. For some, the cooking is ‘not memorable’, & while staff are smartly turned out, communication skills can be poor.
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