Tianjin chef at Royal Palace in Rotherhithe, London, anyone been?
Saw this restaurant after dinner at Cafe East. Turns out their chef is from Tianjin and thus specialises in Shandong-ish aka Lu Cuisine from NE China, with a few Sichuan dishes thrown in. It's a relatively rare genre in London as far as my limited experience goes, so wondering if anyone has tried this place.
Lots of small plates with classic dishes, as well hand made noodles and dumplings. Also hot pot, a northern staple. You'll need to order off their Chinese only menu for most of this stuff. For non-Chinese readers, I'd recommend asking about: (approximate pronunciations in parenthesis)
the noodles (beijing zhajiang mian) and dumplings (shui jiao)
braised beef slices (jiang niu rou)
homestyle jellyfish (jia chang hai dai shi)
two-treasure prawns (xia ren shuang bao)
tianjin style sauce with two type of meat - not sure what they are (tianjin bao er yang)
chicken and mushroom stew (xiao ji dun mo gu)
beef simmered with turnip (niu rou dun luo po)
red braised lamb (hong men yang rou)
pork strips with bean sauce (jing jiang rou si)
cucumber salad (ban huang gua)
cold pig's years (liang ban zhu er dou)
get a whole fish - red cooked (hong shao yu) or sweet and sour (tang chu)
green peppers with dried bean curd (jian jiao gan dou fu)
Chinese kimchi (chu liu la bai cai)
These are just a small subset of the NE Chinese dishes, hope someone tries it out. I'm looking forward to checking them out myself when I get a chance.
1B Rotherhithe Old Road (near Surrey Quays)
London SE16 2PP
Made it here on Tuesday and boy I'm glad I did!
Firstly, you have to get past the menus. They have at least three menus, but don't advertise this. There's the standard Cantonese/Western one they give by default, then a Northern Chinese one and a hotpot one.
We skipped the Western menu and headed straight for the Northern one. Note it's only in Chinese, so you may need some help translating if you can't read it. First up was pork dumplings. These were quite okay, good pastry but not particularly exciting filling. The next dumplings in line were mixed meat. These had the same pretty good, thin pastry but a much more flavoursome, nicely spiced filling. Good stuff.
Next up was grilled meat skewers. We went for the 12 for £10 deal, and selected a mix of chicken hearts and lamb. WOW! These were delicately spiced, nicely charred on the outside and incredibly moist and flavoursome in the middle. Excellent cooking, perfection. The general comment around the table was that these blow the skewers at Silk Road and Gourmet San out of the water. (I even heard the words "best I've had in London" floating around!)
After this, straight on to the hot-pot. Again, this menu is in Chinese, but I understand they may have an English translation available. They have a deal that each person at the table can select five hot-pot ingredients from the menu for £20, or you can purchase items separately. They have a pretty wide selection and we got a mix of meats, vegetables and noodles – they were nice, but I've not had much experience of hot pot, so will skip commenting on the worth of this section of the meal (unlike Independent writers. ;-))
Go and try the skewers!
BTW, here's a link to a chowdown report from last year.
The chicken heart skewers were great, and even more delightful than most coracao de galinha/Brazilian-style grilled chicken hearts I've had in a long while. Great subtle even spicing overall on both the lamb and chicken hearts.