[SG] Royal China at Raffles

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dimsum fans would have heard of Royal China and their perpetual full-house seatings that require phone bookings in advance. I called them on a Thursday to make booking for Sunday's brunch but it was all fully booked. So if you're planning to go on a weekend, do call about a week in advance to make reservations.

While I was on my craze to find the best 流沙包 (flowy custard egg yolk bun), Royal China was my last dimsum place I've visited three days in a row. Despite how I've had the same dishes for three days by different dimsum chefs, Royal China still managed to serve up fine dishes to whet my appetite.

We'd expected a larger seating area but it was just a cosy space that could take about 100 persons or so. It had very vibrant ambience, good for family gatherings over the weekends. Service staff were dressed up just like those in Chinese restaurants and they were all very friendly. However, given the high traffic, don't expect them to respond to you very promptly and as there were large pillars lining the centre of the restaurant, we also found it rather hard to get the attention of the service staff. 

Chee Cheong Fun ($4.80)

A combination platter of prawn, scallop and char siew. The skin was a very unique one, with rough edges on one side, perhaps made such that the different layers do not stick together. It was very soft and didn't stick to the teeth at all. I liked the sauce too, a typical one used in most dimsum places, made with soy sauce as a base. It wasn't too salty and added a light flavour to the dish. 

Of all the different ingredients, I enjoyed the scallop one best. You could taste the freshness of the scallop bursting with every bite, soft and tender. Generous with their servings of seafood, there were more than enough scallops to go around and each was a big one at that. The prawn and char siew ones were ordinary though.  

Nom Factor: 8.0/10
Fried Prawn Dumpling ($4.80)

One of the best fried dumplings I've had, the skin wrapping the prawn before drying was so thin that it only added a crisp instead of the usual kind where you can taste the wrap. The prawns were so fresh that you could taste the natural sweetness of it. A simple dish done well! 

Nom Factor: 9.0/10
Carrot Cake ($4.00)

With finely grated white carrot strips, this has been pan-fried to a thin crispy layer on the outside and extremely tender on the inside. As it was made with carrot strips, it didn't have the 'kueh' texture that tends to stick to your teeth.  

Nom Factor: 7.5/10

Har Gao ($4.80)

A dish that's always on my must-order list every time I go to a dimsum place, this is my test to how good the restaurant is. A staple in all traditional dimsum place, this is a seemingly easy dish but few can do it well. The prawns, just like those used in the fried prawn dumpling, were fresh and tender, and wasn't overly crunchy. The skin was a little too sticky for my liking and didn't manage to gel well with the insides as it was on the verge of falling out. I find the flavour a little over-mixed with other condiments that you can't solely taste the flavour of the prawns. I might be overly critical though, with my unusually high standards of har gao.    

Nom Factor: 7.0/10

Mango Custard Egg Yolk Bun ($4.00)

It didn't really flow out

Even after my feeble attempt trying to force it out

A rather disappointing dish for a 流沙包 fan. The bun was a bit too thick, though I liked how it was fluffy enough that you don't tire of it easily. The key ingredients of custard and egg yolk weren't well-blended though, with a little too much custard. It didn't manage to bring out the savory part of the dish and of course, not flowing out is a deadly sin. Also, it didn't have a tinge of mango in it at all. It was quite a pity though, as it could have added a refreshing touch to the dish, setting it apart from other 流沙包. 

Nom Factor: 6.0/10

Siew Mai ($4.80)

It tastes as good as it seems! Tender, juicy and succulent meat with a generous serving of prawns. The wanton skin wrapping it was also just right, not too sticky yet manages to hold the piece together. The wolfberry on top added a unique twist to it, with added herbal sweetness to complete the flavour.

Nom Factor: 8.0/10

Lotus Rice ($18.00)

More than sufficient for 3 persons, this was one that impressed my mum. Simmered in the heat of the lotus leaves, each grain of rice were infused with its fragrance that got me addicted even for someone who doesn't eat rice items for a dimsum meal. Each piece of meat was tender and juicy, with added flavour from the mushrooms. A finely done dish! 

Nom Factor: 8.5/10

Mango Pudding ($5.00)

This would be one dessert that will get me going back. You might probably think it's just another mango pudding, but don't belittle this small piece of pudding. With real mango bits blended in, it isn't the coagulated hard pudding you get off the shelf in supermarkets or any other Chinese dessert store. Finely blended and mixed with a tad of milk, it was rich and yet not too sweet. Every mouthful got us wanting for more! 

Nom Factor: 9.0/10

Mango Sago with Pomelo ($6.00)

This was very disappointing. I find it a little diluted and it simply paled in comparison to the heavenly mango pudding that came before this. An overpriced glass of mango sago, you can get a decent 杨枝甘露 anywhere along Liang Seah Street's dessert stores.

Nom Factor: 6.0/10

Decent dimsum at affordable prices given its location and ambience. I'd expected the bill to come up to alot more in fact. Not all were spectacular, I've got to give them credits for some of the fine details they paid attention to the dishes though. 

Overall Nom Factor: 8.0/10
1 Beach Road #03-09
Raffles Hotel

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