Royal China 1

24-26 Baker Street , London, W1U 7AJ

7 reviews

41 Chinese Dim Sum Marylebone

Royal China Baker Street

SquareMeal Review of Royal China

Despite the burnished golden walls, black and gold seat covers and opulent swooshes all over the menu, we reckon that the 200-seater flagship of the Royal China group is starting to look a bit tired – although it still has more personality that some outlying branches of the chain. Expect queues for daytime dim sum at the weekends, when the seasonal menu encompasses deep-fried minced squid balls, prawn dumplings with coriander, chicken’s feet in Chinese rice wine, stuffed beancurd rolls and best-selling roast pork buns. In the evening (from 6pm), a hefty carte focuses on signature barbecued meats and crispy duck alongside competently rendered Cantonese standards including lemon chicken, stir-fried Dover sole with spicy salt, sautéed  beer with oyster sauce and peasant-style hotpots (stewed pork belly with preserved cabbage, for example). A favourite for big parties.

Are you the restaurant owner?

Click here for Links & Logos

4.7

Food & Drink: 6.9

Service: 4.3

Atmosphere: 5.6

Value: 5.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 18 November 2016

I haven’t eaten in here (or any Chinese restaurant) for a long time, it used to be a firm favourite, however, the influx of great Japanese and Pan Asian restaurants in London over the past few years lured me away. There is still always a queue around the block for dim sum on the weekends. The food here is still good, service steady and all in all we had a thoroughly enjoyable meal eating all of our old favourites - crispy aromatic duck, smoked chicken, crispy chilli beef (that wonderful sticky sweet, you know it’s not good for you, sauce), noodles and beansprouts, egg fried rice, a bottle of very reasonably priced Albarino and a few beers. The bill for 3 of us came to £117 including service. I used to think of Royal China as one of the more expensive restaurants that we used to frequent, but most restaurants that we eat at now easily come to this amount (and more) for 2 people, so we were very pleasantly surprised. The décor though is very tired, there was rather too much gaffer tape holding down pieces of carpet and it really could do with a bit of a facelift, but then, so could I, maybe it’s best to remember the good old days!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 02 June 2016

Amidst the quest for all things new and trendy, it is often quite refreshing to return to the traditional. Ask most hip Londoners what they think of Chinese food and the typical response would probably be to rate high-end Hakkasan or its more affordable peer Yautcha. However, if you want a more authentic experience – and one that does not necessitate a visit to the too-tacky Chinatown district – then take a trip to Royal China. Now a mini-chain spanning some half dozen restaurants in a variety of London outposts, its flagship venue stands on Baker Street and has been here for some 20 years. Cool it is not, perhaps most reminiscent of a large canteen, albeit one with Oriental furnishings, but based on how busy it was on a recent weekday lunchtime, clearly Royal China is doing something right. It ain’t the service: I was, for example, asked by three different people what drink I wanted within minutes of arriving and before my comrade had joined and, in general, none of the staff seemed to be aware what others were doing. But, in terms of food, the restaurant is hard to fault. In itself, having a menu spanning 100+ dishes across both Dim Sum and more conventional mains is an impressive feat; being able to prepare them all to a high standard even more so. On this occasion, we chose a la carte and enjoyed a fine spectrum ranging from succulent fried chicken with a chilli sauce, to sizzling beef via subtly flavoured greens. Elsewhere, we spotted few dissatisfied customers and mostly empty dishes. At c£80 for two all-in (including beers and service), Royal China isn’t obviously cheap, although through more careful selection, and tea rather than alcohol, the price would obviously come down. What you get though is very good and probably more authentic than many other Chinese places in central London.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Sue P. 09 August 2011

We were a group of 28 on Saturday 6th August at the Royal China. We had excellent service, delicious food and a really excellent eveing. We will certainly return! Would highly reccomend it.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

David J. gold reviewer 01 June 2011

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to know that Royal China on Baker Street is not Full-screenIndali on Baker Street. It’s all in the name you see, and if you haven’t worked it out yet then let me help you – they’re two different places. “Ah!” I hear you say. At the time, I hadn’t worked this out, so walking into Indali and declaring that I was here for some Chinese grub and a wine pairing, understandably caused some surprise. They’re an Indian restaurant. Royal China is at 40-42 Baker Street, not all that far away from Indali to be fair (to me), and is part of the Royal China Group that consists of six London restaurants. Anthony Byrne Fine Wines supply the plonk and there’s a new Winter Set Menu that has been created to both highlight what is inspired and prepared in the kitchen, with the fine wines from Anthony Byrne. The menu is generously priced at £40 including wine. It’s a difficult task pairing wine with Asian cuisine. In this country it’s difficult to overcome the standard Indian/beer combo and Chinese cuisine is often mated with a beastly house white of some unknown variety. Royal China’s general manager, Kwong Man Lok, explained how this new menu attempts to offer the diner something new. “As well as improving their dining experience, we also hope that people develop more of an understanding of how wines can enhance typical Chinese cuisine.” To begin there was a variety of appetizers: the crispy seaweed was salted and crunchy as it should be and a deep-fried crab claw (with claw reaching out like a pirate’s hook) was meaty and filling. The golden scallop was fine but could have been better, and the seafood rill of diced prawn and scallops, with pineapple, carrot and a celery salad sauce, was rather flat and ordinary, as were the crispy prawn rolls. The Darling Cellars Sauvignon Blanc chosen to accompany these dishes had its work cut out to overcome the oils and deep-fried battering of everything. The wine was a young vintage from bush vine, which produce riper fruits and is becoming more and more common in New World wines. There are tropical flavours like most Sauvignon Blancs and a chaotic mixture of passion fruit, guava, asparagus and green fig. It’s a light and grassy white that battled honourably with this dish. Braised lobster with broth followed in the shape of a skimpy little body with thick and meaty tail. An hourglass shape. The Christina Hendricks of the marine crustacean family. Steeple Jack Chardonnay from Australia was chosen to serve alongside the lobster, a surprising little package with a peach and melon balance and a crisp finish. It’s a good wine. Fresh and dry to cut through the lobster without overpowering the meat, and there’s a subtle balance that puts a calming finger on the ginger and spring onion broth. As we moved on to our first meat course of the evening, out came our third New World wine: an intense and ripe red from Chile: Apaltagua Gran Verano 2008. Do not be presumptuous with this, as there are a variety of tastes at play. An immediate peppery hit progressively gives way to a softer plum and blackcurrant taste. Matched with a British Chinese favourite: crispy aromatic duck with plum sauce, it walked a steady line between overpowerment and not enough zip. As for the food it was standard pancakes (pre-rolled somewhat takes away the fun) with spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce. The duck was frangible and fatty falling from the pancake and I mopped up anything that remained with my fingers. La Fattoria Bianco Casetta from Italy has a pale, straw yellow colouring with a fragrant bouquet. It’s fresh and fruity like the best Italian women and a nice match for stir-fried Dover sole with XO sauce and a spicy Szechuan sauce. The sole was twirled in a spiral presentation, glowing with spicy sauce and seasoning. Long, green slithers of Bok Choy were watery and sodden through, and didn’t really have a place on the plate, while Chinese broccoli lacked a fresh crunch. The last course returned to meat and pan-fried lamb chop with honest black bean sauce. This is more serious than a dishonest black bean sauce, which drools and dribbles and lies its way through a meal. The lamb was cooked beautifully, soft and tender and easy to cut and the strong flavoured sauce was substantial and thick without overwhelming the lamb. Served with a glass of Mindiarte Rioja, the dish was complete. The renaissance of Rioja in the latter half of the 19th century has continued to grow in the UK, with it being one of the most popular red producing grapes. The Rioja Alta Tinto has a deep, cherry colouring and a variation of aromas on the nose. Its palate is backboned and clean, developing a fruity finish perfect for red meat. There are one or two glitches in the new menu pairings where wines require arduous challenges to steady the act. Chinese cuisine is heavily dependent on some inevitable techniques, notably its need to deep-fry and season anything they can get hold of in a kitchen. This has always been the case and a reason why finding accompanying wines is so difficult. Despite this setback, the winter menu offers you five-courses with five different wines. In London this is simply extraordinary. Go and try it for yourself and perhaps, like me, you’ll unearth some gems.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Evan H. 08 October 2010

If you want to be treated like an ignorant tourist and ripped off then I thoroughly recommend Royal China. We dined there a couple of weeks ago and had a great meal with excellent service. All was good. We returned this evening and had another enjoyable meal and thought that Royal China's reputation as a good local Chinese restaurant was confirmed. Then the bill came. I handed over my credit card and the waitress printed out a receipt that I had to sign. The ‘tip’ line was left blank. I told the waitress that the ‘recommended’ service charge had already been added to the bill. I asked why she had asked us to sign a separate bill with a blank space for the ‘tip’. She flustered and said that an additional confirmation was required by the bank. Yeah, right! I told her that we had dined here two weeks ago and the waitress had not required us to sign a separate bill for a bank confirmation. Like almost every other restaurant in London, all I had to do was enter my PIN. I could even see that the wireless credit card terminal had an ‘Enter PIN’ message on the screen. Presumably the scam was to ask the customer to add a ‘second’ tip on the paper receipt at which point the waitress would cancel the original transaction and re-enter the higher amount (the original bill with the second ‘tip’ added). Anyone who has lived in London for a while knows that this practice was all but outlawed about five years ago. The main newspapers, most notably the Independent, mounted a campaign to eradicate the intentional double-charging of ‘tips’. I asked to speak to manager. He came to the table and also repeated the line that the bank required an additional confirmation. When pressed harder, he told me that a ‘service charge’ was different to a ‘tip’ and that he wanted to give his customers the opportunity of adding a ‘tip’ if they liked the meal. I'll leave you to be the judge as to whether this is credible. If you think that a service charge is different to a tip then by all means dine hear and I do hope that you enjoy the experience. If, however, you do not want to encourage rip-off restaurants that adopt a proactive policy of fleecing gullible tourists (or those that look like tourists) then I would advise you to steer well clear. This is a great shame as the restaurant is good enough to know better.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Amika S. 01 December 2008

Ok food, horrible service/staff. We were there last weekend and we witness the hostess yelled at a customer! Unbelievable! They really need to train their staff. Not worth the money.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Sid N. 01 December 2008

I am Chinese, love dim sum and have been going to various Chinese restaurants in London. Although I have to admit that the food at Royal China is good but their shockingly poor service and sanity level are so awful that I will NEVER EVER visit this restaurant again. About two weeks ago, I decided to take 4 of my friends to Royal China for Sunday lunch. With the restaurant's no reservation policy, we have to wait to for almost an hour to be seated. The hostesses were very rude and unhelpful. Not once during our entire meal did we see any of the Royal China's staff smile. The horrid serving experience ended with a staff shrug her shoulder when asked to clarify the Chinese writing receipt. We have never got the explanation of our receipt nor a single sign of hospitality from the staff. For the price, Royal China IS NOT worth a long wait, awful service and rude hostesses. I am not recommend any one who like to be treated amicable when going to a restaurant to visit Royal China EVER!

 1  

Royal China is included in the following SquareMeal lists