It's been a while since I have highlighted an eatery on my blog as there is so much to see and do in London and it's impossible to cover it all by myself. However, I was recently invited to visit one of the Royal China Group restaurants and their menu looked so enticing that I was definitely keen to check it out. We went to the Baker Street location, which is situated between Bond Street and Baker Street stations, and the perfect after-work location for those who work in or near Mayfair, Marylebone or the West End.
It was gloomy and wet on the day we visited and so we didn't have a chance to really admire the exterior of the restaurant, but the atmosphere inside was warm and fun. Even though it was quite early, 6pm on a Monday night, it was already fairly busy which shows just how popular this place is.
For a starter I had the Steamed Chili Pork Dumplings, which were utterly delicious. For an appetiser it was quite filling as I was given a bowl with five good sized dumplings. The dough was soft and thin, not dominating the overall flavour, and generously filled with pork. It was the chilli spiced sauce they were swimming in that really made this dish though; it added a kick of flavour that I couldn't get enough of.
My friend ordered the Creamy Sweet Corn Soup With Shredded Chicken which was another massive bowl. Too big actually, and it could've perhaps benefited from a more delicate presentation. The soup was definitely creamy, though my friend felt a little disappointed that the chicken was creamed in as well and there were no noticeable chunks. Flavourwise she said it was good.
You really cannot visit a Chinese restaurant without ordering Peking Duck, and we ordered half a duck to share. In hindsight we probably shouldn't have ordered starters as well, but we didn't realise quite how filling this dish would be. The duck had a beautifully crisp skin and the meat was succulent and slightly pink. It was served with pancakes (ten to share between the two of us), a bowl of sticky, rich hoisin sauce, and a plate of thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions.
We assembled each of the pancakes ourselves and they were absolutely incredible. There was so much duck meat that each pancake was generously filled and each and every bite tasted like pure perfection. This was easily the best Peking Duck I've ever tasted and worth visiting Royal China Baker Street for alone.
For the mains my friend and I both have quite different tastes and so we ordered them separately, though again the portions were very generous and perhaps it would've been better if we had shared them. I had the Chicken With Cashew Nuts with a side of Sauteed Fresh Asparagus as well as a bowl of Steamed Rice to soak up the juices of the chicken dish. The first plate I prepared only had about a quarter of the various dishes on it and already it was a satisfying portion.
I was really pleasantly surprised by how generous the portion of asparagus was and how beautifully they were cooked. They were crisp, they were flavoursome and tasted well on their own and with the chicken and rice.
The plate of chicken was huge too and I loved the combination of the mini corn, mushrooms, celery, nuts and chicken. I'm normally not a big fan of celery but it complimented the spices and flavours of this dish very well. As this was called chicken with cashews I would've liked a few more of the nuts, but overall this was a fantastic dish.
My friend ordered the Sweet & Sour King Prawns as well as the Mixed Vegetable Noodles. I unfortunately don't have a picture of the prawn dish as it arrived about 20 minutes after the rest of the food (and only after we asked about it) and I was too busy eating my own main to remember to take a photo. There were a few mishaps with the service when we visited by the way, several times we asked for something which was then forgotten or misunderstood, and we also felt they were 'hovering' a tad too much as for some reason our order was printed off and left on the table so they kept having to come back to check it.
But back to the food... my friend was very happy with the noodles, which she said were light, tasty and she enjoyed the touches of mixed veg. She also very much liked the large King prawns in her other dish, however, she said that the sweet and sour flavour didn't come across very well as there were too many onions and no pineapple or much of a sweet flavour to balance it out.
For dessert I chose the Mango Pudding and while I wasn't a fan of the sauce it was served with (I'm not sure what it was and didn't recognise the flavour so can't compare it to nnyting), I did love the actual pudding underneath. It was light, fresh and had a lovely, subtle mango flavour. Also, how beautiful is the vibrant colour?
My friend opted for an even lighter dessert in the form of ice cream and I had a small bite of both of her flavours as well. The Banana and Roasted Peanut was banana all the way through with some crispy chunks of peanut adding a lovely texture to the ice cream. And where to even start with the Lychee? Fresh and fruity, it perfectly captured the exotic and juicy flavours of lychees, without the effort to peel of its prickly skin. Frozen perfection, really.
While service was a tad slow, overall we enjoyed our visit to Royal China Baker Street. The central location is very convenient, the portion size generous and the food flavoursome. Especially the Peking Duck was absolutely scrumptious and we'll be back for another order of that, that's for sure.
Royal China Baker Street is located on 24-26 Baker Street, W1U 3BZ London. Dinner for two (when ordering a little less food than we did as it was definitely too much but with added alcoholic drinks) is around £100.