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A la Colthard – the Royal China

Daphne Colhard reviews the Royal China

Husband Ollie and middle son Humph have been perturbed by the form of Chelsea where they have season tickets. I gather from their conversations that the Special One might mot be so special with their worst start in years. Chelsea were playing Fulham last Saturday and the idea was to have dinner post match with another couple who are Fulham fans.

I suggested the Royal China in Fulham Road . It was walkable but away from the hubbub. I have reviewed the Baker Street restaurant favourably and this was my first visit to the Fulham one.
Out table was not ready and the manager dealt with this in an offhand way to us as we waited uncomfortably in the passageway ” 5 minutes, ok.” Restaurant welcomes or lack of them are a bugbear of mine and in this department Chinese restaurants can be deficient. Why not show us to an empty table , offer a drink and menus instead of us standing awkwardly and in the way of waitresses?

We chose wun tun soup, duck, prawn Szechuan style and beef in back bean sauce. This is standard stuff and were all well cooked dishes though the duck was rather dry .we had a couple of bottles of red Italian Barbera wine favourably priced and quaffable.

Ollie amd our Fulham friend worked up a head of steam over the Chelsea MC who made derogatory remarks about Fulham fans not taking their full ticket allocation. Our Fulham friend who called the MC a chavvy oaf said he compared unfavourably to their MC the disc jockey Diddy David Hamilton who treated fans as visitors not opposition. Ollie said it was harmless banter but I did venture that if it caused crowd trouble would this be the case? Ollie ‘s look clearly said i should stick to hotel and restaurant reviewing!!

The Royal China served its purpose of a bountiful feed for 3 families out on a Saturday after football. At. £50 per head it was a tad pricey but it positions itself at the higher end of the market but certainly cheaper than Ken Lo.

Whilst regarding Chinese as one f the great cuisines, and the ability to share dishes attractive, I find as with most ethnic food its difficult to delineate between the well cooked and haute cuisine. I can appreciate good Italian and French cooking from bad but the taste range in Chinese seems narrower. Often the only difference is ambience and price. There were few Chinese there . Ollie and I had seen the excellent play Chimerica which records American / Chinese restaurants over several decades and when we managed to get the discussion off football we discussed this. I wondered if Chinese food had changed as cities like Shanghai became so cosmopolitan and vibrant. Nobody seemed to answer this one and the conversation soon turned back to whether it was Fulham’s sterility in the second half or the vibrant Chelsea midfield that explained the victory.

Later in the week I visited my Chinese acupuncturist and herbalist Wong Wei. Wong said the food we eat here is termed “lup sup.” by Chinese which could be translated as sludge. She knocked me up a fish dish which was quite different to anything I tasted in any restaurant. Wong said the Chinese menu was often different to the western one.

Daphne Colthard.

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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts