China Tang is in the basement of the Dorchester hotel, next to a very smart bar. The décor is suitably luxurious, with art deco style pillars, blue patterned carpet and glass panels with assorted pictures adorning the walls. The banquette seating is set unusually deep, so unless you have the physique of a basketball player it is difficult to sit comfortably (restaurant designers should always be forced to sit in their own chairs).
There was a lengthy wine list, with steep mark-ups. There were selections such as Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer 2007 at £58 compared to a retail price of around £14, Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2008 at £100 for a wine that costs around £29, Didier Dagenau Silex 2007 at an absurd £280 (+ service of course) for a wine that you can buy for under £70, though Vega Sicilia Unico 1995 at £465 for a wine that costs £225 could be regarded as a relative bargain on this list given the other mark-ups.
The menu is a fairly standard set of Cantonese dishes, with a dim sum menu also available in the evening. Char sui buns were enjoyable, but lacked the ethereal lightness of the version at Yauatcha (13/20). Har gau (here called “har kau”) had tender prawns but a dumpling that was a little heavier in texture than ideal (13/20). A crab meat and sweet corn soup had pleasant taste but was almost devoid of seasoning (12/20).
Honey cha sui pork had taken on the honey glaze well, but the pork itself was a little chewy in places (12/20). Gai lan was very good, the vegetables steamed lightly with garlic, the individual shoots carefully chosen (15/20). Szechuan prawns were properly timed, cooked with a slightly sweet chilli sauce (13/20). Singapore noodles were lighter in texture than some, though also could have done with a bit more seasoning (13/20).
Service was attentive, with jasmine tea carefully topped up, though the tendency to try and up-sell dishes was a little grating (when I chose a relatively cheap main course, it was suggested that I might prefer a dish three times the price).
The bill, at £50 a head, was not vast, but this included just a beer apiece and some tea, and we chose quite inexpensive dishes; the bill could swiftly mount up here. Overall the experience was pleasant, but for me the cooking was not quite at the level of Royal China.
Further reviews: 14th Apr 2011