(Visited Saturday 25 February)
We entered Royal China Docklands (part of a historical mini chain in London with the mothership in Queensway) prepared for their renowned sullen service.
Well, it is true that they won’t win any cheerful hospitality award, but apart from some linguistic difficulties with the ‘lower ranked’ members of staff (who however even regaled us with some smiles, unbelievable, and certainly not to be expected from the managers – they clearly have deep problems to solve, their time too precious for smiles), overall they were not positively rude, which was a gratefully received achievement. And certainly they were efficient.
And it was a beautiful day, the room is pleasant, with spacious and well spaced tables and fine views of the river. And if you go in the warm season even better if you can sit outside; that would be a bit of London Dolce Vita.
No great choice of teas. They insisted very forcefully that we have jasmin because ‘we would find everything else (2 choices) too strong’.
Of course we avoided jasmin and opted for the other two choices.
We tried the dim sum on a weekend lunch (no reservations taken, arrive early enough if you don’t want to wait).
The overall quality of the food was not stellar as at Yauatcha, but it was still well above that of your average Chinatown restaurant. Actually the steamed dim sum was sometimes really well executed and delicious, only the soups disappointed.
The soups were hot and sour vegetables, and Rainbow been curd. As we said, disappointing, watery and without depth,
The dim sum, showcasing some quite brilliant flavours and fine making of the dumpling, included prawn and chive, crab and spinach, vegetable. We also had pork buns, whose filling was reasonable but not in the right proportion to the dough and really nothing to write home about (again, a poor show compared to the Yauatcha version), and a vegetable cheung fung which was instead very good..
The properly Chinese desserts (i.e. not Westernised) were worth the slightly long wait: a nice steamed sweet lotus paste bun, and a truly lovely Black sesame paste dumpling in peanut crumbs.
The cost for this type of lunch is very reasonable, around the £50 mark for two, which makes this branch of Royal China, considering the food quality and the surroundings, one of the best value for money for Chinese food in London.