Royal China is a group of restaurants that has its London clientele queuing out of the doors at lunchtime. Bearing this in mind, we choose to venture further north-west to the spacious Harrow venue, writes Nicole Holgate. The locations are all decorated in a similar elegant style with red, black and gold, while being airy and bright.
There is almost too much choice available, including an à la carte menu, chef’s specials, vegetarian options and lunchtime dim sum. We decide to stick with dim sum, which has the added bonus of a traditional pot of green tea that is topped up throughout the meal. Prices are reasonable, although it depends how many dishes it takes to sate your appetite.
We order a variety of plates to arrive together: light crab and spinach dumplings, fluffy roast pork buns and gorgeously fresh scallop dumplings – I can never say no to scallops. These prove too easy to finish off, so round two consists of tasty Vietnamese spring rolls, soft vegetable cheung fun (rice noodle rolls, an alternative to their crispier counterpart) and crunchy deep fried squid.
Really getting into the swing of it, my friend chooses a popular Chinese dish: sliced beef ho fun with wide, flat noodles cooked in soy sauce. The beef is deliciously tender. I go for the seafood udon, which is a generous mixture of prawns, scallops and squid among chunky, flavoursome noodles.
There are countless more dishes, including a variety of desserts. However, by that point we concede defeat and are kindly allowed to take our remaining noodles home in a doggie bag. Rest assured, we will be back to try some more; we may even brave the crowds in central London.
Royal China; 148-150 Station Road, Harrow-on-the-Hill HA1 2RH; 020 8863 8359; tinyurl.com/n9atljp