Homeboy and I were invited to try Dim Sum at Royal China in Baker Street. This is the flagship dining room of The Royal China Group which boasts six branches in prestigious London locations. The food is traditional Chinese Hong Kong style offering Dim Sum from noon until 5 pm and the A La Carte menu from noon until closing. I must say that the Dim Sum was exceptional. If you’re looking for the best Dim Sum restaurant in London, the best Chinese restaurant in London, places to eat near Marylebone, lunch near Baker Street or a Chinese menu then do visit Royal China.
Dim Sum Selection
Royal China Menu
The food focus is traditional Hong Kong Chinese with the same A La Carte menu in each restaurant. However, they do have several signature dishes created by the branch Head Chef, and these will change quite frequently. The main menu will have around four seasonal changes throughout the year. I’ll start with the Dim Sum menu. If you haven’t tried this food before, they are little handmade parcels filled with seafood, meat or vegetables and then steamed or fried. This cuisine originated from Canton in China and is usually associated with drinking tea. The Dim Sum name means snack, refreshment or light pastry.
Steamed Prawn Dumplings
This restaurant takes their Dim Sum seriously with dedicated Dim Sum chefs, training from masters and under the guidance of executive head chef, Man Yuk Cheung. Everything is prepared, steamed or fried to order for the optimum taste. Many of the dishes arrive at your table in those adorable bamboo baskets. Someone appears at your table holding a big tray, and they are joined by your server which identifies the food and ticks it off the receipt to make sure you get everything you’ve ordered.
Prawn and Chive Dumplings
I’m a vegetarian while Homeboy is a fish eater, and we both found enough to satisfy us on the menu. There are pictures of each dish so you can see exactly what you’ll get. I tried the Vegetarian Cheung Fun, which is a steamed rice noodle roll filled with vegetables and covered in soy sauce. It was tasty although I must confess it was a little challenging to pick up with the chopsticks because I’m no expert eating with them and the Cheung Fun was a bit slippery! The Vegetarian Dumplings were a lot easier to pick up, so they were eaten rather quickly! The Fried Vegetarian Spring Rolls was perfectly crispy and very good, although I should have let them cool down before I hurried them into my mouth because they were piping hot. I was quite full after those three dishes although I did sample some desserts, purely for research purposes of course!
Vegetarian Cheung Fun
Homeboy tried a seafood selection and thought the standard was exceptionally high, so that was praise indeed because he’s eaten a lot of Dim Sum. He selected one of the specials – Scallops and Fish Siu Mai in Chilli Oil which had a real kick to it. The other dishes were Prawn Dumpling with Coriander, Sesame Prawn Rolls and Deep Fried Prawn Dumplings. I just realised that it was a lot of prawns! Anyone wanting meat can choose Dumplings – Pork with Radish, Minced Pork with Shrimp or Shanghai Pork. Buns come stuffed with Chicken and Mushroom or Roast Pork. Other delights include Pan Fried Gyozas, Honey Roast Pork Puffs and Honey Roast Pork Cheung Fun.
Seafood Dim Sum
We also had a few desserts which I don’t usually order in a Chinese restaurant because the options are often quite limited. Here you can try a wide selection of premium artisan ice creams and sorbets with some very unique flavours ranging from Matcha Green Tea to Black Sesame Seed. We tried the Steamed Sweet Lotus Paste Buns, Freshly Baked Egg Tarts and the Honey Sponge Cake Special with a pot of Jasmine Tea. Earlier on we sampled their summer bubble tea drinks which come with Popping Pearls. You pick your flavoured drink (mango, passion fruit, strawberry) and then your pearls (lychee, passion fruit, strawberry). I recommend you try one of these.
Steamed Sweet Lotus Paste Buns
If you’d prefer to have a few Dim Sum as a starter, then you can follow with a noddle dish of pawns, beef, assorted meats, shrimp with egg, sliced beef with black bean sauce or spicy vegetables. Or you could try a noodle soup with crab meat and roe, fresh prawn balls, chicken balls, etc. They have a few rice dishes which look quite substantial. The A La Carte Menu is very extensive with Crispy Aromatic Duck with Pancakes, Ginger and Spring Onion Fresh Lobster, Crispy Shredded Beef Bird’s Nest and Szechuan Prawns. There are plenty of fish, seafood, beef, chicken, pork and vegetable dishes. They also have quite a few set menus like the Seafood Gourmet, House Dinner and Vegetarian.
Royal China Interiors
The interiors are comfortable and quite traditional, which reminded me of classic hotel dining rooms. I don’t think I’ve seen a carpeted floor in a restaurant for a long while now because it’s usually concrete, wooden or tiled. I noticed that the tables were all round in shape which I prefer because they feel much more friendly for large groups. The tables were well spaced, so you had privacy from your fellow diners. White table cloths were present, and ours got a bit messy at one point with spillage and hey presto, it was whipped off with a crisp fresh one waiting underneath it! I must say that I liked using the lovely black lacquered chops sticks, which made a welcome change from the disposable wooden variety.
It was quite dimly lit inside, which is helpful if you’re on a date. It’s not a restaurant where you’d whip out your laptop and start doing some work while you’re eating because there isn’t any Wi-Fi, thank goodness for that! The décor featured lacquered murals depicting Chinese illustrations and was really in keeping with the ethos and the food which is traditional. It was getting packed when we were there on a Tuesday lunchtime. There are often queues out the door because it’s really popular. Overall it’s a grown-up, proper and pleasant place to spend a relaxing afternoon gossiping and enjoying your Dim Sum. A good restaurant for business lunches or somewhere to dine with your parents in the evening.
Royal China Information
Cuisine: Traditional Chinese cuisine and Dim Sum
Price: Here are a few dishes I mentioned in the article – Vegetarian Dumplings £3.60, Pork and Radish Dumplings £3.75, Crispy Spring Rolls £3.75, Noodles £6.30-9.50, Aromatic Duck £23.50, Seafood Gourmet £38 per person, House Dinner £30 per person and Vegetarian Set Menu £30 per person
Website: Royal China
Address: 24-26 Baker Street, London W1U 3BZ. Check the website for further locations
Near: Baker Street, Marylebone, Bond Street and Marble Arch
Open: Check the website for up to date opening times
Reservations: Can only be made for Monday to Thursday, the other days are first come, first served!
Décor: Traditional Chinese style
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London and Royal China Group. Thanks: Roxii. Disclosure: Our meal was free which is why this article has been labelled as an Advert.