2-24 Kensington High Street, LONDON, W8 4PT
The Royal Garden may look box-fresh, but has actually been standing on its site in Kensington High Street since 1965. It's a favoured bolthole of visiting sports stars, and its proximity to the Royal Albert Hall means that you may well find yourself going up in the lift with some distantly recognisable musical veteran. It's still privately owned, and is therefore free of what can often be the dead hand of corporatism, and the view from the top over Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park is rapturous. Upscale Chinese cuisine in five-star hotels is not always the best idea (the risk is that you find yourself eating sweet-and-sour pork at about ten times what it would cost in Chinatown), but in Min Jiang, the Garden has an emphatic riposte to the doubters. A strikingly stylish design job features blue-and-white Chinese porcelain against a contemporary interpretation of red lacquered walls, tables are laid up with stiff white linen, and the service is proficient and helpful, with unpatronising explanations of dishes for anybody still getting their bearings. The menus inevitably take a tour d'horizon of the vast Chinese landmass, but authenticity in ingredients, seasonings and timings is assured. A platter of steamed dim sum makes a fine introduction, including scallop and pumpkin dumpling, and blue swimmer crab xiao long bao, all perfectly textured and feather-light. A bowl of soup, say sweetcorn and snow fungus, might then precede main items such as Alaskan black cod with sha cha sauce, or Sichuan double-cooked pork belly with Chinese leek, with a side-dish perhaps of gai lan in ginger sauce, or fried mushrooms with pickle chilli and mustard greens. Desserts are so often not the point, and yet some creative modern thinking here produces jackfruit cheesecake with cashew and pandan ice cream, or fruity Sichuan pancake with Cornish vanilla ice cream.
Tel: 020 7361 1988
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Open all year.
Cooking type: Chinese
Chef: Weng Han Wong, Steve Munkley
Number of seats: 100
Accessible for wheelchairs.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £12.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.