Yet another London export which calls Dubai home is the Asian restaurant named Royal China. I’ve dined twice at this DIFC location before with both times being for the Friday brunch. The first time I went I was super impressed and the time after I was left scratching my head as to how the service could differ so greatly.An invite saw me return back to Royal China but this time for dinner where myself and my guest got to sample their a la carte menu and hopefully give them a chance to redeem themselves (service wise) as I had no complaints with the food quality previously. I’ve been told their head chef is from Shanghai so looking forward to some authentic tasting dishes.
First thing I noticed as we were seated in our red velour seats were the overly scratched dining tables. I also noticed from my first visit back in Jan 2015 that the furniture looked like it hadn’t been updated since then. Maybe some new tables or even table clothes would look nicer for their guests.The giant red lanterns overhead are striking as is the see through bar with the multiple wine racks. I know Dubai hasn’t caught up with the no-smoking indoors but at one stage during our evening I got a big whiff of cigarette smoke. Unavoidable but a non-smoking dining area would also be welcome.One of the multiple waiters for the evening went over the menu/s to give us some suggestions on what to eat. We started with some drinks and I tried the recommended Red Dragon mocktail (a fruity mix topped with fresh raspberries) whilst my friend opted for the passion fruit mojito, both refreshing and easy to drink.Royal China doesn’t normally serve dim sum at dinner time but we were lucky enough to have a steamed platter brought to us in a basket containing, vegetable, chicken and scallop varieties. They were as good as I remembered.This time round I was keen to try the peking duck. Wrapped in a soft warm wrap, the aromatic duck was nice but the crispy skin was too hard on the teeth which turned my friend off.We had a variety of mains including the szechuan prawns which were juicy decent sized prawns coated in a firey chilli sauce.
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We also tried a beef with black pepper sauce which came with sauteed onions and red pepper. The beef slices were extremely tender and delicate, a nice contrast to the crisp peppers.The Chinese broccoli sauteed in garlic was crispy despite looking over cooked.The lemon chicken was the most disappointing dish we tried that evening. I’m baffled as to how a simple dish could go so wrong but the chicken was dry and tough even though it was thinly sliced and the breadcrumbs and lemon sauce did nothing to improve the taste and texture.The flowering jasmine tea is always welcomed at the end of a meal. Helping to aid in digestion and it’s also a sight to see, with the flower almost growing in front of your eyes.The only dish we tried off the new Summer menu was the green tea glutinous rice dumplings filled with fresh mango. This dessert took a while to arrive but when it did it was warm to touch. The mango filling is more like a mango custard while the tart taste of the green tea dumpling is dominant over the sweet filling.The service was slow between meals with it taking them a long time to clear the tables. There was also multiple staff serving our table instead of having one dedicated server. The music was random and did not match the atmosphere and would be better suited to a lounge or bar. Perhaps more traditional music might be more appropriate for a restaurant classified as fine dining. Overall I prefer and would recommend their Friday Brunch with endless amounts of freshly made dim sum to choose from for just 188dhs plus DIFC taxes, which is better value for money. They also serve the hard to find (in Dubai) but delicious cheung fun noodle dish which is popular in Yum Cha places across the globe. Hopefully the service will be improved upon and become consistent with each visit.
Location: Building 4, DIFC (Valet Parking available)
Phone: 04 3545543