Chowdown at Royal Palace, Rotherhithe: report
This is just starting off the thread. I was the last to arrive, so must start this off. Attending a chowdown with a toddler is probably not the best way of appraising the menu of a restaurant. I must say I was a bit distracted most of the time, by my anxiety that toddler might not behave properly, and by being excited about meeting fellow-chowhounds. This is my first time reporting like this and I should have been taking notes or something.
I was late - very very late. By the time I got to Royal Palace with my hubby and toddler, it was quarter past one and Limster had specified 12:30pm as the meeting time. Others at the chowdown were kristainlondon, Limster, and JFores and his girlfriend.
Starters: They had already been ordered. Braised beef slices, cold pigs’ ears, cucumber salad, flat noodles and something else I can’t remember. I enjoyed the beef and the cucumber. They were both quite salty. The beef from soy sauce, which was the predominant flavour. The cucumber was very vinegary but refreshing.
Mains: Handmade noodles with a tangy sauce, handmade dumplings (with pork and chives), eel, tofu with seafood in a light broth, pea shoots with ? very thin noodles in a savoury sauce, noodles in a spicy broth with egg.
The dumplings were definitely homemade: chewy skins, just the right size (about 2 bites) and nice filling. I haven’t had handmade noodles before, so really can’t comment on their authenticity, but they were good as well. The eel was fine, in a slighty sweet red sauce with dried chillies, small mushrooms and slices on baby corn. The dishes that I particularly liked were the pea shoots and the tofu with seafood. The pea shoots were cooked just the right amount so they were tender but retaining a crunch. The broth of the tofu/seafood dish was very light but with some heat from what I guess was white pepper. It was laden with tiny chunks of tofu, prawn, and I think squid and dried scallops.
We didn’t have any dessert. The bill came to 16 pounds a head for 6 of us. Overall, I think the meal was good but not excellent. Seeing as it is not too far from where I live, I would probably come back to try some different dishes, maybe the hotpot before the weather gets too warm.
I hope the others there will chip in because this report looks woefully inadequate to me!
1B Rotherhithe Old Road (near Surrey Quays)
London SE16 2PP
Thanks for getting the ball rolling! I felt the same way about the food, with most things being ok, and a few that I enjoyed quite a bit.
The flat noodles in the starter is probably made from sweet potato flour, and came with a vinegary sauce (everything seemed shaded in vinegar, but it was very appropriate for this dish), with strips of pork, and cilantro. This and the pig's ears were my favourite of the starters. The braised beef was slightly disappointing, as I was hoping for a touch of clovey flavour.
The final starter that wasn't mentioned above was seaweed, with garlic and other seasonings.
The topping on the pea shoots were enoki mushrooms, and also a dish that I liked. But my favourite among the mains was the tofu with seafood -- small firm cubes of tofu and good flavour from dried scallops, albeit with a touch too much white pepper.
I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour of the dumpling skins, an interesting sweetness, almost like something from rice wine.
Hotpot seems to be a staple for the restaurant, as the table was equipped with an induction heater. Would love to hear about the hotpot when anyone tries it.