I’ve only ever eaten dim sum as a starter or a side in super small amounts, never really as a main meal, but after going to Royal China Baker Street for lunch, MY GOD how my eyes have been opened. If you’ve never tried them before, or call them ‘din sun’, like my mum does, please do read this then go out and find some because I want the whole world to enjoy these bite-sized mouthfuls of joy.
Naturally, I jumped at the chance to try an authentic dim sum lunch when I was invited to a Royal China restaurant. The idea is that you can order as few or as many dishes as you like, then order more if you feel like it, much like tapas.
Looking at the menu, there were a few dishes that I recognised like gyoza and prawn dumplings, but feeling a little adventurous, we decided to risk it and try a few mystery dishes from the specials. Turns out the waiter completely shook up our plan anyway by suggesting and describing three other things in deliciously tempting detail, leaving us absolutely no choice but to order his recommendations.
I can’t even explain how delicious the food was. That is to say, there are words I COULD use, but they wouldn’t be enough. So instead just picture a crazed 30 year old cramming bite-sized food into her mouth with shameless glee. At times there were vegetables down my face and I didn’t even stop to wipe them away.
My absolute favourite dish was the ‘fried dough cheung fun’, which was one of the recommendations (and 100% delivered on the ‘fun’). We also tried vegetarian dumplings, spring rolls, fried prawn and olive beancurd wrap (tastes a lot nicer than it sounds). When it came to dessert, we were also persuaded to try the black sesame dumplings, which again I struggle describe because I’m salivating just thinking about them. But to paint a rough picture, imagine a light dough ball filled with sesame and gooey melty chocolate. Told you.
The whole experience was incredibly enjoyable. The dishes kept arriving through the course of our time there, so we could carry on chatting without interruption. The restaurant was abuzz with the lunchtime rush, but it didn’t feel crowded, and the dim lighting and black mirrored walls gave the whole place a relaxing atmosphere. I also very much enjoy feeling like royalty and having what seemed like endless hoards of food delivered to our table. They were also more than happy to box up the food we couldn’t eat, which I didn’t hesitate in re-heating and scoffing for breakfast the next day.
I’d recommend going there to anyone looking for a relaxed, social lunch, and I’ll definitely be taking friends and family there ASAP. The Baker Street branch is their flagship, but there are also other Royal China restaurants in Bayswater, Fulham, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Canary Wharf.
Also just to note, the Baker Street location provides an absolute HAVEN from the chaos of Oxford Street (less than a 10 minute walk away), so if you need to recover from the trauma that is the Marble Arch Primark, head on over!
By Holly Earp