I don’t know what it is about Chinese restaurants (I am thinking Imperial Bento at Thorney Toll) but first impressions clearly don’t count.
Saturday evening we dined at Royal China - you can just about see it from the Werrington Parkway - but apart from a neon “open” sign, there is little to suggest it wants your business. It certainly isn’t what you would call inviting.
And that is a bit of a shame as I guess there are thousands who have driven past and not given it a second thought (me included in recent history).
It is certainly a lot more presentable and brighter inside than my last visit (about five years ago when the food was way off the mark too) and the menu has certainly changed. Saturday evening now has an a la carte buffet - to all intents all you can eat for £15.90.
The portions aren’t huge - and the waitress told us so - but you can order as many as you like. So, along with prawn crackers we had spare ribs, chicken satay, chicken with chilli and garlic, two chili beefs and to follow crispy duck with pancakes. And we were’t disappointed - plenty of meat on the ribs and quite a spicy sauce; the chicken was all soft and succulent - but all lightly coated and deep fried with sauce or spices on top - and the beef nice and sticky.
The highlight was the duck - not at all dry and a great flavour, with or without the fruity plum sauce.
It was pleasing to see no extra charges for seafood dishes on the mains list - and the spicy garlic prawns, only four, and dusted in chili and garlic were pleasing on the eye, beautifully cooked and a delight.
No complaints with the sizzling chicken in a spicy huajiao sauce, or the ever dependable beef in black bean sauce, the stir fried veg was crisp and tasty, while the noodles were excellent.
No wow factor but decent Chinese fayre, well cooked and presented, and the service was spot on. It was certainly good enough to warrant another visit.
BRAD’S RATING: 7
RESTAURANT DETAILS: Royal China, Dukesmead (A15 Werrington Parkway), Peterborough 01733 322888
FROM THE MENU:
Sesame prawns on toast
Satay skewer chicken
Crispy aromatic duck (with pancakes and salad)
Chicken and sweetcorn soup
Sweet and sour chicken
Chicken cashew nuts
Kung po chicken
Roasted pork Cantonese style
Stir fried pork with beansprouts
Sizzling pork in hoi sin sauce
Chicken/beef/prawn/mixed veg curry
Claypot stewed beef
sizzling beef with ginger and spring onion
Roasted duck Cantonese style
Prawn in orange sauce
Sweet and sour prawn
Mussels with black bean sauce
Deep fried squid with chili and garlic
Red Rhai prawn/chicken curry
Sweet and sour mixed veg
Stir fried beansprouts
Sizzling bean curd with black bean sauce
Noodles with beansprouts