I’d always heard of dim sum for brunch being a “thing” but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.
I remember Hakkasan doing a brunch deal which was on my radar last year, but I carried on booking then having to cancel it for various annoying reasons (work, double-booking myself, more work).
So I was very keen when Chris got a group of us together at Royal China a few weeks ago…
Royal China is a cornerstone of the London dim sum scene – it has quite a few branches now and a loyal following amongst Londoners, tourists and ex-pats. They’re known for the quality of their dim sum (it’s second to none really) and constant churn out of perfectly prepared traditional dishes. I’d been before several times, but never for brunch.
We went to Royal China Queensway. As soon as you get there you can tell something special is going on. There’s a throng of people waiting in the entrance hall, a ticket machine and TV screen showing numbers bingo-style and even more people waiting outside in a messy, continual queue. (You can see from the photo above.)
It looks like a tiny space from the outside but don’t be fooled – it gets bigger and bigger as you go in, like an Alice-in-wonderland rabbit hole’s path to dim sum.
We settled into our table and started to order dish after dish. We went for a huge mix of things and shared everything – sharing being a crucial part of the dim sum brunch – and I can happily inform you that, apart from one mediocre plate of prawn toast, every single bite was delicious.
I’m afraid I can’t recite the names of everything we had (sorry), but I do have photos of the best things – and the menu, thankfully, has photos in too – I think that may be the first time I have ever applauded a restaurant for putting photos in the menu.
(Reading the menu is like reading a novel by the way, it’s vaaaaast.)
For four people I would recommend getting one or two rice or noodle based dishes, 3 to 4 different dim sums and at least 1 plate of vegetables. You can keep ordering more so don’t feel in a rush to order everything all at once…
Oh, and order the jasmine tea. It’s delicious, and you get bottomless refills.
Also, I need to particularly point out these to you…. Char Siu Bao (pork buns). They’re sweetened little buns with a sticky pork filling inside (similar to this place).
They’re one of my favourite dishes – so unexpectedly sweet, salty and marshmallow-esque.
But truly, everything is good, I defy you to be disappointed with the food here.
Now, the service is something which might cause some disappointment. I hate to say it but it wouldn’t be full disclosure if I didn’t. In my experience it’s not always the friendliest service – you tend to get ignored a lot and plates are brusquely slapped down on the tables – but, and now you’ll think I sound crazy, if you know to expect it I doubt it will really bother you that much. For us it became a friendly joke each visit, and the food is so good that you don’t care about any other details (or at least I didn’t).
Best of all, it’s cheap as chips here (or should that be char siu). We spent £15 a head both times and had much more food and tea than we sensibly needed.
I guess all those long queues each weekend can’t be wrong…
13 Queensway, London W2 4QJ