Knights of the (Chinese) Round Table

Had a quality night this week out for dinner with the Board. I was grateful to be asked to suggest where to go, not because I don’t trust my assistant, but because it was only when I found out on the day we were supposed to be going out that nowhere was booked that I just felt I had to take control. OK, maybe I don’t trust my assistant.

I was trying to think of somewhere where we could talk freely and openly, since I knew there’d be lots of work talk, the Board meeting having been only hours earlier. I also didn’t want somewhere crazy expensive (the CFO was with us), so I settled on getting a private room in one of the best Chinese restaurants in the City. Imperial City ( nestles underneath the Royal Exchange, a few doors down from Hermes. It’s deceptively large, given it’s basically underground, but the decor is tasteful, tables are large and well spaced out and plenty of waiting staff on hand to dish out the prawn crackers.

Our private room was large also, with one huge round table at the end, our own mini-bar etc and the customary spinny-thing in the middle. I always worry a bit with private rooms that you can hear a pin drop and you don’t get the atmosphere of the main restaurant. Certainly, that’s the case in the likes of 1 Lombard or Quaglinos, at least in my experience. Not so with Imperial City, partly because we made our own atmosphere (!!) and partly because it was so close to the main restaurant that you didn’t feel shut out.

I’d eaten at Imperial City several times before, but quite a long time ago, so had forgotten just how good the food is. The plum sauce with the shredded duck was clearly not out of a bottle with fresh and vibrant flavours mixing perfectly with the tender duck. The various main courses, both fish and meat, were excellent if a little obvious. I would particularly recommend the steak with cracked black pepper and lemon grass and the steamed scallops with chilli. Wine was a rather lively Rioja – perfect. If I had to level any criticism at all it would be that the mixed vegetables were a bit heavy on the MSG. I could still taste it the day after, but doesn’t really detract from what was an excellent display of quality Chinese cuisine.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by pj on January 30, 2010 at 12:53

    First sesame prawn toast I have eaten that wasn’t too greasy too. Good to have a chinese restaurant serve good sake also. Not the usual.


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