'The dishes were authentic... The brusque service, however, interrupted our reminiscing'

Royal China, Fulham

Open Sun midday–4pm and 6pm–10pm; Mon–Sat midday–4pm and 6pm–11pm

The blurb

Using traditional ingredients and skills, this mini-chain of restaurants is headed up by award-winning executive head chef Man Yuk Cheung.

Well-known for its lunchtime dim sum menu, the dim sum is made daily at Royal China and freshly steamed or fried only after the customer places their order.

The style

The Fulham branch is the smallest of the Royal China group (there are five London restaurants plus their top one, Royal China Club), with two rows of well-spaced white linen-dressed tables making up the main room. The classic black-and-gold colour scheme is there along with the signature lacquered golden goose and sea scene dominating one wall. There’s also a bar to welcome you and an outdoor patio for the summer months.

The crowd

A popular spot for the local 30 and 40-something crowd, we also noted a group of Asians taking up the window table.

The food and drink

Royal China has an extensive Hong Kong Chinese menu with a page of signature dishes created by the individual head chef for each individual restaurant – ours included chicken with fresh mango (£11.50), and sautéed seafood in bird’s nest (£13.80).

We chose some classics such as crispy seaweed (£6.20), vegetable spring rolls (£6.20) followed by tender lemon chicken (£10.80), crispy shredded beef in bird’s nest (£10.80), stir-fried Szechuan tofu (ordered from the vegetarian set menu) and vegetable noodles (£8.80) accompanied by a light South African Hoopenburg Chenin Blanc (£23).

The dishes were authentic, which led to my date enthusing about his last trip to Hong Kong. The brusque service, however, interrupted our reminiscing. Our wine was sloshed on the table without apology, leaving a stain that matched the stain on the wall close to our table. We also had to chase our noodles, which were sent back because Singapore (with seafood) noodles arrived instead of our requested vegetable noodles – again, without apology.

In a nutshell

While the reasonably-priced food was as good as it has always been (I could keep returning for the Szechuan tofu), I would have liked attentive service and a posh soap when I visited the brightly-lit bathroom. It might sound petty but those things mark the difference between an okay date and a fab one.

Royal China, 805 Fulham Road, London SW6 5HE; rcguk.co.uk; 020 7731 0081

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