This flagship branch of the Royal China chain might have doubled in size thanks to a four-month renovation in the summer of 2018 but compared to its huge siblings, it still feels intimate; instead of one large dining room, the restaurant is split into two, while five new private dining rooms benefit from natural light. The new look is slick without being intimidatingly stylish: gold leaf on the ceiling, red lacquer on the wall and enough black leather seating to make the restaurant smell like a luxury stand at the Beijing Motor Show.
While rivals in this price bracket might concentrate on innovating regional Chinese cuisine, Royal China Club’s approach is to stick to the classics, but using premium ingredients: fresh abalone tossed with caviar, pan-fried scallop with foie gras, or a grilled Wagyu fillet in teriyaki sauce.
If the size of the bill isn’t a concern, you will eat very well here, although more budget-minded diners may not feel that the high prices are worth paying for dishes that are not dissimilar to the Baker Street Royal China a few doors down: £22.80 for a basket of eight seafood dim sum struck us as very steep, no matter how well made the contents.
Elsewhere, soft-shell crab with salt and peppercorn was well timed and well spiced, Szechuan king prawns had noticeably fresh seafood in a well-balanced sauce (though purists may wish for more chilli heat); while roasted crispy Iberian pork belly was a faultless version of a classic dish.
Staff are delightful, and even early in the week, there is a loyal market of regulars happy to pay Royal China Club’s prices for a comfortingly reassuring dining experience. If price is a concern, daytime dim sum offers a relatively more affordable way in.