Review: Royal China, Fulham
Royal China is a popular chain of gourmet Chinese restaurants, with six restaurants in London and three restaurants internationally. Across all branches there is one menu for diners to peruse. Royal China is renowned for its dimsum, which is served until 5pm with an evening dimsum platter offered only in the Fulham branch.
The smallest of the restaurants in the group, The Fulham branch has a distinctly intimate feel.The restaurant’s exterior is dark and inconspicuous with a black and gold-themed décor including a quirky wave and bird mural design and an ornamental arrangement on the bar. Quirky decorations aside, the professional and knowledgeable staff and the crisp white tablecloths help to create the impression of a well-oiled machine.
Throughout our meal a head waitress cast a watchful eye over the dining room and even spotted my napkin as it slipped off my lap without my knowledge. The staff were also quick to help with the menu, something I’ve found very helpful thanks to my new-found indecisiveness when it comes to ordering!
Without hesitation, we ordered the steamed chilli pork dumplings (£6.80) to get our dim sum fix and they were perfect silky mouthfuls of umami.
Next up was the pork chop with salt and chilli (£8.20), which I always use as a benchmark of a good Chinese given its combination of the well-seasoned coating, moist and tender meat and the zingyness from the fresh chillies and spring onions that adorn it. For me, it’s the perfect dish and they do it very well here.
To accompany our meal, we needed a bit of veg for colour, so we opted for the sautéed green beans with minced pork (£10.80), a popular Sichuan dish and one of my favourites, which was gorgeous.
I adore chilli and I really crave spicy food, so our main course was selected to incorporate this. The Sichuan prawn (£13.50) was a touch too sweet and sticky and lacked those qualities we associate with the province (numbing peppercorns, chilli bean paste), but the extra punch of the birds-eye chillies (at our request) was a welcome touch.
The Chiu Chow chicken (£10.80) was beautifully smoky and savoury and the classic Cantonese-style roast duck (£11.20) was rich with glazed skin and doused in the most moreish sweet soy. Steamed rice (£3) with a hit of chilli oil on the side was all that was needed to soak up the delightful juices.
For our chosen libation for the evening, we selected the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (£20.50), a very palatable wine that's smooth yet tart enough to cut through the strong flavours of the food we selected. We found that the wine list and the drinks menu was varied in both region and price to cater for your every whim.
And finally, to end where we began, we ordered Vietnamese pancake rolls filled with pork and prawns (£5.80) as our 'dessert'. If some people adhere to the motto ‘life’s short, eat dessert first,’ then is this really that unacceptable?
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
805 Fulham Road
Review: Carmichael's, Antigua
Carmichael’s is a fine dining restaurant located at Sugar Ridge Resort. One of the most popular fine dining restaurants on the island, the menu from talented Executive Chef Andrew Jean features fresh seafood, produce and meats all prepared with Caribbean flair. While Antigua isn't renowned as a 'foodie destination' (people are typically more focused on lying on the beach and sipping pina coladas), Carmichael's is certainly shaking up the food scene with it's modern take on classic dishes.
The casual chic restaurant consists of a large, covered wooden deck area with high ceilings and exposed wooden beams. The understated decor, which features rattan arm chairs and crisp, white tablecloths, ensures that the sole focus is on the views and the food. Regardless of which table guests are seated at, they are guaranteed fabulous views of either the pebble-bottomed infinity pool or the azure sea.
During our visit, we started with the amuse bouche, which consisted of breaded cheddar with apple chutney, which was very moreish, we greedily could have devoured a few of these! Next up was the crispy duck salad with sweet hoisin sauce, which was nice and light with a pleasing crunchiness and well-balanced flavours.
For our mains, I had the coffee crusted pork tenderloin with coffee air and pea puree, which was very tender, however, the coffee flavours didn’t really come through. My husband opted for the classic surf and turf, which was definitely the winning dish of the two. The steak was perfectly cooked and the lobster tail was generous with tender flesh. For dessert, we shared the apple flan, which was superb and the perfect ending to a great meal.
We would definitely recommend Carmichael's for anyone seeking great cuisine in a stunning location. As Carmichael's is one of the most popular restaurants on the island (and is frequented by the guests staying at Sugar Ridge resort), bookings are recommended. For booking details, visit the Sugar Ridge website.
Our experience overall
Food and drink: ★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★
Tottenham Park, St. Mary’s
Antigua & Barbuda
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.