Go for the Dim Sum. The rest of their menu is hit-or-miss, although they do have some hidden gems. Deep Fried Squid with chilli is not one of them. Pork Belly is interesting – not Canton style but flavourful and very rich (although I like the clay pot style with dark vinegar more, which I had at China Tang).
This is a good place to take first-timers to London. It has breathtaking views over the park, which looks great at any time of year – even when it’s raining. Most tables have good views but it’s worth asking for ones right next to the window. You must book ahead! This place is very busy, very popular. It has many regulars.
[UPDATE: JUNE 2011]
I’ve had Dim Sum here roughly 20 times. I think it’s better than the Royal China (Bayswater, Baker Street and Hampstead) and has great views over the park. As far as the service goes, it pays to be a regular customer and improves each time I visit. The Xiaolong bao are divine – worth the trip alone.
They make a big deal about their duck (requires ordering 24 hrs in advance) but I don’t think it’s all that. Especially when Gold Mine and Four Seasons on Queensway have more flavour IMHO. Still, quality Dim Sum in elegant and sedate surroundings that are reservable is hard to find… otherwise, you are free to fight the crowds for a place in Bayswater or Chinatown which might offer more elbows and atmosphere.
Prices are high – more reasonable for Dim Sum but beware at dinner time.
Recommend: Xioalong bao, Har Gao, Lo Mai Kai, venison puff pastry.
Royal Garden Hotel
2-24 Kensington High St
London W8 4PT
020 7361 1988