Despite the name, The Royal China in Putney has not been part of the main Royal China group for many years, though the dining room’s lacquered panel décor shows its heritage. The restaurant itself opened in 1988, and offers the same style of Cantonese cooking as the original Royal China in Bayswater. There was a set menu for £28, and the lengthy a la carte menu offered appetisers from £5 - £7, and main courses mostly in the £12 to £15 range. The two page wine list had selections such as Paul Zinck Gewürztraminer for £28.50 for a wine you can buy in the shops for around £9, Bollinger NV for £59 compared to a retail price of around £33, up to Chateau Talbot 2003 for £85 for a wine that will set you back around £37 in the shops.
Crispy duck was rather dried out, with pancakes that were thin but rather harder in texture than they should be (11/20). The best dish tried was steamed sea bass, the fish cooked competently though filleted clumsily (12/20). Szechuan pork was disappointing, the pork overcooked and tasteless, with the promised kick of Szechuan spices lacking (10/20). Prawns with cashew nuts were properly cooked (11/20) while steamed gai lan was adequate but cooked for too long, not having any of the vibrancy of taste that it should ideally have (12/20).
Service was, frankly, dismal. We arrived early on a quiet evening and were the only customers until our friends arrived, yet despite this our drinks order took over 15 minutes, with the waitresses just chatting amongst themselves in a corner; eventually I had to wander over to the bar and get the drinks. Things improved little when the meal got going, with great difficulty in getting any attention despite there not being that many tables taken. The bill was just over £40 a head, with beer and tea rather than wine. Overall, this resembles the Royal China in Bayswater in name and décor only. It is not somewhere that I would wish to return to in an hurry.