Stepping in from the unwavering phosphorescence of Bayswater’s bustling Queensway, glistening as a beacon amidst the dwindling December twilight, one leaves the chaotic intricacies of London’s assorted inhabitants and their rituals behind and enters an Oriental spectacle, greedily absorbed by each of the five senses.
See: an opulent bar twinkling with liquid promises and glistening with hopeful glasses graciously accepting of effervescent bubbles, treacly liqueurs, and potent inebriating nectars. Fractions of recent refurbishment meddled with festive flourishes and streams of auriferous lighting, reflecting with sophisticated nuance on glossy black surfaces. A decadent oriental mural pleases the eyes of inquisitive patrons and impresses upon them an irrefutable remembrance of their whereabouts
Hear: the domestic utterances of a familial bunch; romantic susurrations of date-night attendees; knowing murmurs of menu-less regulars; the uncertain questions of bewildered newcomers, exhausted by the gargantuan list of edible possibilities. The unusual cadence of the English language on the tongue of those foremost learned in other languages.
Touch: the forever-foreign weightlessness of spindly chopsticks in Western hands; the delicate fragility of paper thin glass, perfectly shaped to compliment champagne consumption; the rigidity of starchy table cloths and the foamy sponge of restaurant seating.
Smell: characteristic aromatics of Chinese cuisine. An olfactory awakening of spices, herbs and rich meats tastily toiling under the chef’s hand.
Taste: crisp deep-fried shells of Vietnamese spring rolls bursting with succulent pork and crunchy vegetables, complimented by a citrusy dipping sauce. Spice invades expectant tastebuds with rich hot and sour soup. Sweet and savoury collide merrily on a platter laden with chicken and peanut sauce; innovation bodes curiosity and concludes the first course with ‘vegetarian’ crispy duck.
Cantonese honey-roasted pork melts in the mouth and makes happy companionship with peppery pak choi. A second course of delectable tofu is happily ingested with a salted, stir-fried exterior and vegetable counterparts.
Frozen incarnations of fragrant green tea slip arctically down a desperate oesophagus. Hyper-sweet molten toffee encases volcanic mounds of the sweetest banana and, thus, constitutes the feast’s candied conclusion.
13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ.
Tel: 020 7221 2535
ROYAL CHINA CLUB
40-42 Baker Street,
London, W1U 7AJ.
Tel: 020 7486 3898
24-26 Baker Street,
London, W1U 7AB.
Tel: 020 7487 4688
30 West Ferry Circus,
London, E14 8RR
Tel: 020 7719 0888
805 Fulham Road,
London, SW6 5HE
Tel: 020 7731 0081
148-150 Station Road, Harrow-on-the-Hill, HA1 2RH
Tel: 020 8863 8359
Written by Jodie Jones