Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Royal China Riverside

My last salvation at Canary Wharf. I have heard so many good things about Royal China, I was really looking forward to this. Good food at Canary Wharf, but sadly I was proved wrong.


There’s definitely no trolley pushing here. In fact, you don’t even have to mark anything off a list, it’s a la carte dim sum. We decided to choose from a selection of classic favourites, and not try anything too weird, to initiate the yum cha newbies.

  • Scallop Dumpling (£2.85) - these dumplings are only good when they are freshly prepared, unfortunately, the nice filling was ruined by a less than savoury skin.
  • Prawn & Chive dumpling (£2.85) - again, let down by skin
  • Spicy Chicken Feet (£2.40) - not as tender as can be, the sauce could do with more spice.
  • Pork & Radish Dumpling (£2.40) - very unlike the ones I am used to. The filling was just wrong, but at least the pastry was good.
  • Glutinous rice in Lotus Leaves (£3.20) - quite dry and bland, not enough soy sauce. I was really surprised they put prawns in this too.
  • Turnip Paste (£2.40) - this is normally one of my favourite dishes, but unfortunately this was completely spoiled by the Royal China variety. They were definitely very generous, with thick slabs of the turnip cake on order. However, thick is not better here. The cakes looked like they weren’t even fried at all, being mostly white in texture, only a few bits were starting to take a brown tinge, but was nowhere here the degree needed to make these taste good. The cakes were too heavy on the flour, with not enough turnip, and certainly not enough of other ingredients.
  • Roast Pork Puff (£2.40) - not great. The pastry was not hot or fresh.
  • Beef Cheung Fun (£2.85) - went really quickly, so I didn’t even have time to try it out.
  • Fried Dough Cheung Fun (£2.85) - was only warm. They didn’t give you the peanut and hoi-sin sauce for dipping, so you only have soy sauce. Otherwise, it didn’t seem that fresh but the flavours were ok.
  • Pork Dumpling (£3.30) - surprisingly, the best dish of the day. The dumplings were encased in beautifully slippery skin, the sauce poured on was vinegary and slightly hot, a good combination.
  • Fukien Fried Rice (£8.80) - egg fried rice topped with creamy assorted seafood & chicken - was executed very well. The rice was nicely coated with a superb sauce. I wonder if non yum-cha dishes would be better choices at Royal China.
  • Milk & Egg Tart (£2.40) - was cold and disappointing. This is usually something that the Westerners lap up, but even they were unenthusiastic with the offerings.
In conclusion, a major disappointment. I wonder if location has anything to do with it, but I have decided to give the franchise one more go before I dismiss it. With the dismal state of UK yum cha, I don’t really have much choice.

Rating - 5


The décor definitely sat more in the traditional sense than the modern. I actually expected more as I always thought Royal China was a flashy restaurant. The décor was more trashy than flashy.

Clientele wise, mostly Western office workers, having dishes that they serve on top of a silver plate lifter – I haven’t seen one of those since eating in HK in the 80s.

Rating - 1.5


Generally efficient, although I did have to ask for the bill twice. They were very busy though, so the service was not bad

Rating - 3


Well, I have heard that Royal China was expensive, so when our bill came to a little over £11 each, I was quite happy as I was expecting more. However, they did slug us a 13% service charge, that is just wrong!!

Rating - 0

Brownie Points - 9.5


30 West Ferry Circus
E14 8RR
Phone +44 (0) 20 7719 0888

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