Harden's survey result
Some of the “best Chinese food in London” is on the menu at the Marylebone flagship of the Royal China group, including “fine quality” Cantonese classics and dim sum. It’s certainly “not cheap”, but a four-month refurb last year seems to have addressed the concerns expressed by reporters in previous years: marks for service and ambience are both up in the latest survey.
The flagship of what many consider “the best Chinese restaurant group in London” – the China Club HQ offers “luxury twists on traditional dishes”, results in “superb food, whether it’s dim sum for brunch or seafood and classic Cantonese in the evening”. It reopened in early August 2018 after a four-month refurb and expansion into the adjacent corner site – hopefully this will please reporters who had recommended “a facelift” (the rating above is for the former decor).
“Delectable dim sum” that’s “comparable to the best in HK” ensures the accomplished Marylebone flagship of the China Club group is “always packed”. Especially given “an interior that could be improved” however, even fans can find it “overpriced”.
“Even better than Hong Kong” is the wild claim made by fans of the dim sum at this Marylebone flagship for the China Club group – it’s “pricier than the rest, but a cut above, so worth it”. And don’t arrive late for your booking: “they limit your time to 1.5 hours because they’re always packed at the weekend”.
Royal China Club W1
The Royal China group's first venture on this Marylebone site was a luxuriously minimalist Japanese restaurant called Michiaki. It didn't last.
Now they've turned it - essentially unchanged - into a sort of club-class Royal China. Many readers will know that Royal China is widely regarded as the capital's leading Chinese chain, so you might have thought this would be a winning formula: superior cooking served, for once, minus the group's love-it-or-hate-it '70s-disco decor. Which all goes to show that, as Bernard Shaw put it: You Never Can Tell.
What a disaster! How can you screw up seaweed? Admittedly a cliched choice it is, however, usually a pretty safe one. Not here. The cloying sweetness with which that dish was prepared, was to be a Leitmotif of the entire meal. We sampled extensively from both the dim sum menu and from the a la carte. Results from the former seemed marginally superior, with seafood dishes (we ate next to a fair sized tank of lobsters) turning out to be the best bets. But, without subjecting you to a blow-by-blow account, suffice is to say that what followed was, in large part, pretty ghastly. In the end, we just gave up, and picked at a few bits before the dishes were taken away uneaten.
On the plus side, the setting is comfortable, and the friendly service was in many respects exemplary (although, lacking a pad, the waiter inevitably got part of our order wrong). In the time-honoured tradition of disastrous Chinese meals, we couldn't help wondering if results might have been better if we spoke the lingo: the large tables full of oriental folk seemed to be having a much better time than we were.
38-42 Baker St, London, W1U 7AJ
|Monday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Tuesday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Wednesday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Thursday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Friday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Saturday||9 am‑9 pm|
|Sunday||9 am‑9 pm|