Review: Bollywood's favourite Cantonese diner Royal China has arrived in Kolkata, and we have a lot to say about its line-up
Royal China, the Bollywood-approved premium Cantonese fine diner just opened its doors in the City of Joy; the restaurant has been a huge favourite in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and has opened up a sprawling space at the heart of Elgin Road, at the Forum Mall. The brand looks to contemporise authentic Cantonese nuances for new-age taste buds, and some of the signatures from the menu reflect the brand’s fresh approach to dining.
“It’s been such a favourite with us, whenever we’re in Bombay, we never come back without visiting Royal China! Kolkata has been missing a brand that’s focused on Cantonese flavours, so bringing the brand here makes sense,” says Shailja Bhalotia, the co-owner. The menu is in a word, exemplary; it features some familiar comfortable names, some rare, forgotten dishes and some elaborate numbers.
“After years of holding the vision to bring Royal China in Kolkata, we are extremely delighted to finally introduce the brand to the City of Joy. We endeavour to deliver an authentic and an enjoyable experience to all our guests. I hope to use the experience that I have nurtured over the years in the F&B industry and guide the team towards delivering a successful project on the plate,” says Rishi Bajoria, the Chief Mentor for Royal China.
We were offered a freshly brewed pot of jasmine tea first when we dropped in on a rainy afternoon; we teamed up our tea with some fantastic Spinach and Cheese Dumplings, in true Yum Cha tradition. The delicate, but fleshy dumplings were translucent-skinned. Definitely pair the dumplings with the restaurant’s superb in-house chilli garlic oil, it’s sharp, fresh and low in salt. We then chose a very hearty plate of Prawns Tossed in Salt and Pepper which was a lot more nuanced than what we were expecting. The menu features a lot of impressive vegetarian Cantonese options as well. We tried the Kung Pao Potato with Okra, which featured diced veggies in a flavourful sauce.
The Pan Fried Whole Pomfret in Sichuan Sauce was hot and had the perfect texture. We paired the fish with Royal China’s signature entree, the Fukien Vegetable Rice, which is a Cantonese specialty you won’t find easily in the city. The wok-tossed rice is exotic and made with rice with seasonal veggies like carrots, water chestnut, peppers and is made with a thick sauce, which is really interesting.
You can pair it with something stir-fried or crispy, but we tried some rice with the fantastic Chicken in Black Bean Sauce. For dessert we indulged in Royal China’s famous Mud Cake which was served with ice cream and some really impeccable Toffee Walnut and Ice Cream (served with a caramel cracker). Our recommendations? Prawn and Chives Dumplings, Fukien Fried Rice, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce. Price for two: Rs 2,500