Can we just take a second to appreciate one of the greatest contraptions ever invented, the Lazy Susan? No doubt the person who invented it had had enough mealtimes too close to a family member’s arm pit, or reaching arms that just happened to graze their gravy as they brushed past to collect the mustard from the other side of the table. No matter their own personal reason, whoever invented the Lazy Susan gets a hats off from me.
When I was younger, every so often we took a trip to an upmarket Chinese restaurant situated at the end of our road – Mr Mans. It was owned by the dad or uncle of one of my classmates in year 3 – I don’t remember his name now, but I do still have an image of his very scuffed school shoes – strange how memory works, isn’t it? It was here that I saw my first ever Lazy Susan – and from that moment on I always wondered why restaurants other than Chinese never adopted it. I appreciate this is a very tenuous link, but bear with me here reader. There is a reason I’m telling you this.
A few weeks back I was invited to review Royal China, initially to try out the al fresco dining at the Canary Wharf branch, but ended up heading across to the very first Royal China branch in Queensway instead. Pretty glad we did, as as soon as I stepped inside the restaurant the heavens opened, attempting to clear the thick and sticky air that had been lingering for what felt like years.
I was there to meet my friend Pip for a Friday night chit chat over snacks and wine. And if I’m completely honest, I think we mis ordered slightly. We opted for the appetiser plater – prawn toast, squid, seaweed and spring rolls; along with lemon chicken and chicken sweetcorn soup – a childhood favourite of mine. Everything that arrived was good, except the lemon chicken that was tough as old boots – but as the rest of the food was mostly deep fried, it left us craving freshness – particularly as we could see the waiters carving whole fish and delicious looking chunks of meat for other diners who had been a lot more sensible with their dinner choices. I did get the wine choice completely right, however – a juicy little Pinot Noir number from Marlborough called Torea Oystercatcher.
Royal China is a very popular spot – by the time we left the restaurant was packed to the rafters, mainly with Chinese families feasting on dishes that we could only have dreamed of ordering. That’s what you get when you’re not well versed with a menu. They also do a cracking Dim Sum menu, I’ve heard. So I tell you what – I’m going to head back at some point over the next few weeks to try it out. I’ll update this very blog post to give you the verdict. Yauatcha has become a firm favourite of mine over the last 12 months, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether Royal China can be classed as a competitor. Stay tuned…
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