Dim sum is one of my favourite lunches - it's quick, there's a lot to choose from, and there are vegetarian options a-plenty. What's better than dim sum? Fancy dim sum, that's what, and you don't get much fancier in London for noodles and dumplings than Royal China. This luxury chain has several branches across the capital, and I visited the flagship restaurant on Baker Street. Inside it's all about beautifully decorated black walls and sparkling-white linen covered tables, and of course a choice of chopsticks for the hardcore dim-summers and silverware for the less confident.
I met Angela, who had the misfortune to be my lunch companion this day, me having just come out of a particularly vicious face treatment (which I'll soon be blogging about) which left my skin an actual bloody mess. The kind concierge turned a blind eye to it, but it wasn't good timing to go straight out to lunch after being 'beautified'. In my defence I had been told my skin would "just go a bit pink". Angela told me my cheeks looked like grazed knees when you fall over as a kid. Poor Angela, being the one to have to look at said grazes!
Anyway, on to the food. The menu is huge and exciting! You can choose from lots of little dishes (which we went for) or a set menu. Vegetarian options included delicious spring rolls and vegetable dumplings. Angela vouched for the meaty options, especially loving the pork buns, and something made from meat and turnips that she raved about. For a main course we both chose a noodle dish (above), I had mushrooms, Angela has pork. Must have been the yummy array of dim sum to start, but we both struggled to get through these huge noodley portions. After a bit of a break we were back in the game for dessert. Angela had a very odd-looking tapioca and fruit dish that she tried, and failed, to get me to try several times, but she loved it. I went for Royal China's legendary egg tarts - three mini ones on a plate all for me. Almost too pretty to eat.
Royal China is a fantastic experience if you want a side-order of luxury with your dim sum. Elegant surroundings and impeccable service make this a place well worth trying. There's no pretentiousness - bubble tea is served alongside fancy cocktails, and no one bats an eye if you choose to use cutlery. I only wish my face hadn't been throbbing with pain, and that I hadn't had to sit with my back to the restaurant so I didn't put anyone off their food. A really pretty place with a five-star feel, dim-sum-a-rama!
Royal China offered me a complimentary meal.