Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, LONDON, W8 4PT
The glass and stone tower that is the Royal Garden Hotel celebrated its half-century in 2015, although it still looks as though it could have gone up a couple of years ago. It's a landmark building, overlooking Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, city vistas that come into their own from a table in the tenth-floor Min Jiang Chinese restaurant. Upscale Chinese cuisine in five-star hotels can be hit-and-miss (the risk is that you find yourself eating sweet-and-sour pork at about ten times what it would cost in Chinatown), Min Jiang delivers an emphatic riposte to the doubters. A strikingly stylish design job features a collection of 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. Authenticity is a watchword here, and the extensive menus of dim sum and the appearance of global classics of the Chinese repertoire such as Beijing duck, crisp-fried squid in salt and pepper, and spring rolls, substantiate that claim. Yet the precision of the cooking raises the place above much of what goes on in Chinatown, and is particularly impressive in the fast-cooked dishes. Xiao long bao dumplings made with blue swimmer crab, or steamed scallop in XO sauce, are stimulating appetisers, preparing the way for tenderly seared beef rib on a bed of shredded onion in rich Mongolian sauce, or chilli-hot gong bao made with corn-fed chicken. Desserts are not the strongest suit, but white chocolate and chilli cheesecake with sweet-and-sour strawberries may yet become a modern classic.
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: 80
Accessible for wheelchairs.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £12.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.