Royal China Club is a Baker St institution famed for its dim sum and is the crown jewell within a six restaurant conglomerate – all of which are London based. After 12 years trading they have recently gone through an overhaul, taking over next door’s premises, expanding into a 180 cover restaurant. Considering the colossal size of their crabs and lobsters in the tank, I think this is a wise move. They probably need a car forecourt for them to be honest, and don’t get me started on those elephant trunk sized geoducks! I have come here for the dim sum though and visited thrice for a reason. Check out why…
Char siu pork puffs (3 per portion) are akin to curry puffs in exterior that you can get in Chinese bakeries in Chinatown. Instead of a curry filling, there is a sweet, sticky, dense meaty filling that get introduced to the tongue when you bite into the oven-fresh flaky pastry.
Sesame paper prawn with mango sauce £5.60 (3 per portion) were a wonderful play on textures. Crispy on the outside with a hit of sweet pert prawns on the inside. The mango sauce was a spare wheel though and wasn’t needed IMHO.
Vietnamese spring rolls with prawns & soft shell crab £5.80 (3 per portion) are palate pleasers – all the ingredients are clearly identifiable through the high quality of them. They come with grease-cutting fish-stroke-vinegar sauce and lettuce cups for wrapping.
Steamed seabass roles Szechuan style £8.60: I was dubious about this dish as I thought the hot oil and numbing spices would overpower the integrity of the delicate fish. I was wrong as all I could hear was the click clack of chopsticks going for it including mine.
Glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves £9.60 is a generous lump of goodness that would stop you in your tracks – it says “mini glutinous rice wrap” on the menu. But there’s nothing mini about it, the filling is full of umami and comes with whole fresh prawns vs the usual dried shrimps which is a welcome change!
Pan fried mince lamb buns £5.20 are not a common item on a dim sum menu, but it’s testament to the guys at RCC doing things differently. They’re served hot with a crispy umber-tinged base that snaps and crunches – it’s a welcome expression of lamb and carbohydrate.
The roast BBQ pork Royal China style £18 was a piece of meat that someone really lavished some time on, making sure the fat was rendered down, the meat spiced and the skin coarse like sandpaper that makes a mellifluous crunch when you bite into it!
Visit number three was during Chinese new year 2019, post overhaul.
Char siu pork puffs were just as good as the first time.
When did I go? Oct 2016 + Apr 2017 + Feb 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £50-£70 per head
The good: What immediately stood out from RCC was the quality of ingredients and the care they put into their dim sum. From what I gather, their USP is refined Cantonese cuisine and you can really tell. I say this with a heavy heart – but it’s great to get out of Chinatown, detaching yourself from the tourists traps, avoiding the downward spiral in the quality of food. I do it in the name of eating deluxe dim sum, well that’s what I keep telling myself anyway. They also have a play in the way they add luxury ingredients such as truffle & caviar to elevate dishes.
The bad: The obvious is the price, which is probably why I don’t come here too often, the dishes are probably 50% more than the average. Is it worth it though? Probably not, but come here when you’re feeling flush as the food is lush!
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 40-42 Baker St, Marylebone, London W1U 7AJ