Harden's survey result
“With such delightful views of Kensington Gardens, the food could so easily become secondary”, but the impressively glam 8th-floor of the “luxurious” Royal Garden Hotel has long been acknowledged as one of the capital’s best destinations thanks to its “consistently excellent” Chinese cuisine (“better than I had in Hong Kong!”). Its ratings came off the boil slightly this year however, amidst some unfamiliar accusations that “it’s going downhill and becoming very expensive”: “if this is the best Beijing Duck in town, then I’m the Emperor of China!”
“Exquisite Beijing duck” and “divine dim sum” are twin culinary highlights of this “top-class” Chinese, which occupies a “beautiful and comfortable” dining room on the eighth floor of Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel. “The rare and privileged views across the park to Kensington Palace takes this place to another level”, though – “request a window seat!”
“Never failing to impress my Chinese wife or anyone we invite here” – this “very professional and impressive” 8th-floor operation is not only one of London’s very best Chinese dining rooms, but – “despite being in a hotel” – it also manages not to be blighted by its “stunning views” (“go in daylight to get the best of the panorama over Kensington Gardens”). “If you want excellent dim sum or Peking duck look no further”: the food is “fresh and totally engrossing” – particularly the wood-fired duck which is “incredible” – and “given the quality and freshness of the ingredients it is money well spent”.
“Sensational views” set the scene at this “very plush” 8th-floor dining room, bordering Kensington Gardens, which – with its “fantastically fragrant and subtle” Chinese cuisine – offers one of the capital’s best all-round experiences. Top Menu Tip – “the absolutely delicious, wood-fired Beijing duck is a must!”
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
Min Jiang W8
A grand Chinese restaurant, with impressive panoramic views of Kensington Gardens and, in the distance, of many of London's major landmarks; duck, served three ways, is the house speciality, but we think the dim sum a more reliable, and better-value, attraction.
They make a big deal about duck at this smart Chinese restaurant, on the tenth floor of a modern Kensington Hotel. Such a big thing, indeed, that they ask you whether you'd like to order one (or, perhaps a half) when you book. Here's a word of advice: don't.
Not that there's anything wrong with the duck, you understand, just that they make such a song and dance of it that you can't help noticing that - even if it is carved at your table, and presented in three services, one of which is classic pancake style - it's not really quite worth all the fuss that goes with it.
Avoid the duck, though, and this is a really good all-round destination of a type you don't find many of. Especially if you go for the lunchtime dim sum, which are both tasty and extremely good value. We're not talking Chinatown prices, of course, but you do get one of the best restaurant-views in London thrown in. Even on gray days, there's a sort of watercolour charm about the distant prospect of almost all the central buildings of note. Service is charming too, and the décor veers just on the right side of glitzy.
At the moment at least, the place still seems a bit of an undeservedly hidden secret. Among those who have sniffed it out, though, there seem to be a lot of orientals, which is encouraging. What the remaining diners have in common is that few of them seem to be Londoners. Which is shame, as - for a family celebration lunch, say - this place is hard to beat.
We haven't been by night, but we'd guess that, in the evening, the window seats would be well suited to romance too.
2-24 Kensington High St, London, W8 4PT
|Number of Diners:|
LUNCH 12.00 - 15.00 | DINNER 18.00 - 22.30
Last orders: 10 pm