Four Seasons has been plying its trade in Queensway for many years, serving conventional Cantonese food. The narrow, long dining room has a preparation area in the window with roast ducks on display. Tables are tightly packed, and the room is carpeted, with cream walls, matching table linen, and a low ceiling. Even on a Monday night there was a steady queue of people waiting for a table.
The lengthy menu covers the usual Cantonese favourites, and there was a supplementary specials menu with photos of the dishes, and a short, two page wine list. The wines started at £14.50 and included choices like Boulder Bank Sauvignon Blanc at £18 for a wine that you can pick up in an off-licence for £6, Domaine Thibert Pouilly Fuisse at £30 for a wine that retails at £18, and Apalagua Pinot Noir Reserva 2010 at £18.50 for a wine that costs £8 in the shops.
At my most recent meal prawn dumplings were again well-made (3/10), and the hot and sour soup was much better than I remember it from last time (4/10). The roast duck was very enjoyable, the skin tasty and the meat having good flavour; this is certainly not in the league of the best duck that you find in Beijing, but it was very good by London standards (4/10). Tofu with crab was distinctly light on crab, the tofu having reasonable texture (2/10). Service was certainly efficient, and from sitting down at the table we had our two courses and had paid within 45 minutes.
The notes below are from a meal in September 2011.
Prawn dumplings (£4.50) were good, the prawns tender and resting on a bed of spicy sauce (3/10). Hot and sour soup (£3.30) had a bit too much sourness from the vinegar and for me could have done with a little more chilli heat, but it was enjoyable enough (2/10).
Gal lan was excellent, lightly steamed with garlic, the stems tender (easily 4/10). Whole steamed sea bass was cooked from scratch and brought to the table whole, then filleted, for the most part competently. The fish itself was tender, and I liked the black bean sauce with the fish, which was quite thick and really tasted of black beans, the fish garnished with fresh coriander (4/10).
Spicy prawns with cashew nuts were competently cooked but needed more spicy flavour, the stir-fried vegetables with them not enough to lift the dish beyond ordinary (2/10). Singapore noodles had that hint of powderiness that comes from when they use curry powder to enliven the noodles, but have not mixed it in sufficiently well, though the texture of the noodles was decent (2/10). Egg-fried rice was well made (3/10).
Service was efficient despite the completely full house, with refills of drinks brought quickly and no problems getting attention. The bill came to £42 a head including some beer and jasmine tea. Overall, while nearby Royal China has the edge, this was still very good Cantonese food.