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Royal China Club

40-42 Baker Street, London, W1U 7AJ, United Kingdom

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Royal China Club opened in 2003 and had a major revamp in 2018. It is sister to Royal China Queensway (which never reopened after the 2020 pandemic shutdown) and can seat 180 customers, with no less than three private dining rooms. As well as the usual Cantonese dishes there is an emphasis on luxury, so you see dishes like fresh abalone with caviar, and there is a large lobster tank in the dining room opposite the bar, brimming with creatures that seemed resigned to being part of your meal.

There was a mostly French wine list with some quite grand bottles on offer. Labels included Yealands Pinot Noir Reserve 2016 £49.50 for a bottle that you can find for £23 in the high street, Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva 2010 at £60.50 £31, and Pernot-Belicard Vielle Vignes Meursault 2018 at £95 for a wine that will set you back £47 in a shop. For those with the means there were posher options, such as Chateau Clinet 2008 at £315 compared to its retail price of £105, and Tenuta San Guido Sassacaia Bolgheri 2010 at £615 for a bottle whose current market value is £265. Alternatively, Tsing Tao beer was £5.80 a bottle.

Hot and sour soup was more generous with prawns than some versions, and had plenty of vinegar and chilli kick (14/20).  Har gau is the classic steamed prawn dumpling dim sum, and we had some of these before the main course. The dumpling was quite delicate and the prawns tender, though the prawns were not bound very tightly to the dumpling layer, so had a tendency to fall apart. Nonetheless, the flavour was good (13/20). 

A whole wild sea bass was steamed and served whole, though filleted before being presented and reassembled, in this case with ginger and spring onions along. The fish was carefully cooked and had good flavour (14/20). I enjoyed Singapore noodles on the side, the noodles themselves having a more delicate consistency than many versions of this dish, cooked with bell peppers and just a touch of curry powder (14/20). I love gai lan with garlic when it is done well, and here it was excellent, the stalks of broccoli tender and lightly cooked, al dente but not undercooked (15/20).

Service was from a charming waitress and a charmless waiter, but was very efficient, and dishes arrived quickly without feeling rushed. The bill came to £105, much of which was due to the wild sea bass at £68 for two (wild sea bass is an expensive fish so the price of £34 a head was not especially rapacious in itself). If you avoided the pricier specials then you could leave here for around £70 a head including drinks and service. There are slicker experiences in central London than this, but the cooking was good and I would happily come back.

Further reviews: 07th Aug 2014

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  • Allen Bracchi

    I now have to go to sleep ( I am reading this review in bed ) and dream about the hot and sour soup which looks like a fine example of this most moreish dish.