The Royal China Group definitely holds the right to claim serving some of the most authentic Chinese food in town. I’ve visited four of their branches in London and I have to say they’ve always reminded me of proper Chinese restaurants in Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Philippines and Singapore.
Royal China Group’s PR peeps recently invited me and a guest (I chose good ol’ MB) to try their Fulham branch to try their evening dim sum offering. I had to say yes, because there’s not enough places in London that serve dim sum at night (Hakkasan Mayfair, Yauatcha, and Opium are good, but I think we need more!).
Whilst I will always love the Canary Wharf branch and adore the authenticity of Baker Street flagship, the intimate space in Fulham was a nice fit for a neighbourhood Chinese.
Now, Royal China has been known for their dim sum, which they serve during yum cha hours (ie noon til 5pm). However, the Fulham branch has recently launched their Evening Dim Sum platters. They have a Steamed Dim Sum platter (£15 for 5 pieces) which has a variety of their popular dim sum and a Steamed Shanghai Bun platter (£16 for 5 pieces) which is my ultimate favourite soup dumpling, xiao long bao.
I would’ve liked more broth and a bit more firmness to the wrap of the xiao long bao, but in all fairness, the filling was rather delicious. And it was all fresh because Royal China Fulham’s Head Dim Sum Chef, Sam Chen, makes all these parcels of joy on the day.
Not quite satiated with the xiao long bao dumpling fix, I ordered the steamed chilli dumplings (6.50). The wrap on this was rather thicker than my preference, but the filling was quite generous and flavoursome. The sauce is thinner than I expected (ie chilli oil laden like Din Tai Fung) but it does have a kick. I liked it.
I ordered a wonton soup (£5.50) to start. The wontons were, again, generously filled, but I thought the broth could’ve done with a teeny bit more of seasoning.
Meanwhile, MB’s hot and sour soup (4.80) was rather substantial and filling. It was decent.
Jellyfish salad (£8) is something I will always order in Chinese restaurants if on the menu. Now I don’t know if any of your are ready for this jelly (har har) but it’s actually really decent. The texture is like a really soft cartilage and flavour boils down to the sauce. Royal China’s offering came with classic cucumber and vinegar. I liked it, but I’ve had better.
Sweet and sour pork (£9.20) is dear to my heart for sentimental reasons. This, paired with good yang chow fried rice, makes up for my ultimate comfort Chinese. Royal China’s offering never disappoints.
MB and I shared a whole order of steamed seabass (£48, market price) with soy and ginger dressing. The fish was cooked with much authenticity the way proper Chinese restaurants in Asia would. I was in love at first bite. Meat flaked off nicely and despite the flavoursome sauce, you could still the freshness of the fish, as if it’s just been caught seaside. Loved this dish a heapload.
Here’s looking at you, kid.
We were pretty full afterwards, having had shared a hefty amount of good ol’ Chinese fare, some soda, and an accompanying pot of rice.
Overall, I genuinely think the Royal China brand gives Chinese food in London a good run for its money. The Fulham branch is cute but I think my favourite still has to be the Baker Street flagship and/or the one in Canary Wharf. Admittedly, I thought there’d be more choice for the evening dim sum platters, but frankly, the flavours were good enough to satisfy cravings when you miss yum cha happy hours.
But… if I’m being genuinely honest… I’d go for that steamed seabass alone.