Min Jiang W8
REVIEWS, December 1, 2008
Overall Value
out of 5
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience
Min Jiang, The Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High St, London, W8 4PT

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.

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