Monday 26 April 2010

Hot Pot @ Royal Palace (Chinese), London

Continuing my 'out of Zone 1' mini-tour, today's post finds me in Rotherhithe. This isn't a part of town where you expect there to be a ball-breakingly authentic Chinese restaurant so it's a pleasant surprise to find Royal Palace plying its trade here. From the outside, it looks pretty bog standard but its clientele are by and large, mainland Chinese who come here for a taste of home. 

Sadly the Northern Chinese specialities and other authentic dishes from across China are hidden away on a Chinese language menu. However, we were here for huo guo or hot pot and whilst the tick-sheet is in Chinese only, they do kindly provide an English translation on a separate sheet of A4.

I can't take credit for unearthing this gem as it's Kake's local and it was her suggestion that we try the hot pot here. We were a party of eight including the Randomness types and Bellaphon so this meant there was going to be loads of food.

I'm not going to do a blow by blow account as the photos below tell the story of a most excellent feast. Besides, it isn't easy to keep track when you order 44 dishes. Suffice to say, there was a mix of meat, fish, seafood, meatballs, fishballs, mushrooms, bean curd, vegetables, and of course noodles. For Spam-spotters, (yes I mean you, Wild Boar), we ordered some to placate Bellaphon.

As well as hot pot, this is one of the few places I know of that sell corn with salted egg yolk. This dish was a tad disappointing as it lacked the crispy moreish coating found in the version at Acton's Sichuan Restaurant.

The hot pot costs £20/head (min 2 persons) and like Little Lamb, this deal allows each diner to select 5 items. We struggled to finish the food and whilst it's good value, you can rack up a fair sized drinks bill as hot pot is eaten at a leisurely pace.

I'm not quite sure why but the waitress said we could pick an extra four dishes for free (like we needed more!) and as we paid cash, we also received a 10% discount on the food (but not the drinks). Service was good and my only grumble was that it was sometimes difficult to cook with a single hot pot for a party of eight. That said having two separate hot pots may have resulted in a less convivial atmosphere.

Verdict: I heartily recommend Royal Palace for hot pot. I'd also like to return to check out some of their regional Chinese specialities.

Other Stuff: With the London Overground opening up, there's no excuse not to come here. Surrey Quays station is very close by and Canada Water, which is also on the Jubilee Line isn't too far away either.

Royal Palace on Urbanspoon


  1. Ah-ha, i see you're working your way round Zone 2 in an anti clockwise direction. A cunning plan Mr Noodles - is it to evade those nasty blog police ;-)

    It sounds as though you (and your understanding of Chinese characters) are a requirement to finding the best food from the Middle Kingdom.

    That feast looks epic, and pretty good too. Hot pot is something I have never tried and need to remedy as soon as possible. I always looked longingly at Bar Shu, but am now realising there are many others to try out.

  2. Gworm - you've got to try Chinese hot pot or one of its close relatives from Japan or Vietnam. The only thing is though, you have to be in the mood for it as it's a fairly long session at the pot.

    I can only pick out a few characters in Chinese and without the translation, I would've been screwed! I can speak Cantonese and bad Mandarin so that does help when ordering in Chinese restaurants.

    BTW, my out of Zone 1 movements are pretty random and I am concerned that you're trying to detect a pattern. Are you sure, you're not actually 'The Grub Mole'?

  3. Hurrah, I'd been looking forward to this post :) A nice reminder of a lovely evening.

  4. Ahhh, I missed the bit about the translation, i thought you were an expert Cantonese/mandarin reader as well as speaker - speaking the language must be very useful though.

    And as for patterns - why they're every where - Hawksmoor's churches, Balzagette's sewers and Mr Noodle's movements...

    Actually, that just sounded a bit wrong...

  5. Kake - thanks again for the tip. I'd have never discovered this place without your local knowledge.

    Gworm - speaking the lingo does help with my fave phrase being "so tell me about your specials". My next post takes me to Hammersmith, in case you're wondering!

  6. This is what we need right now.. cold and wet.
    Thanks to the mainland Chinese there are quite a few good hot pot restaurants here in Melb now!

  7. 3HT - hot pot is the new rock 'n' roll. Well perhaps not but good to see that Melb has its fair share of hot pot eateries.

    I'd also love to see a Cantonese 'daa bin lou' hot pot joint in London as I think it has a better variety of seafood. Does anywhere do the Cantonese 'daa bin lou' in Melb?

  8. The true credit should either go to or — I can't remember which place I saw the mention of it first. I'd walked past several times before that but assumed from the outside that it was a bog-standard fried-rice place!

    Do let us know if you find a Cantonese hotpot place anywhere in London... I love seafood.

  9. Kake - I need to do some investigating but I'm sure there's a few Chinatown places that'll do Canto-style hot pot off menu. And yes, I'll be sure to let you know.

  10. Ah, was really gutted I couldn't make it to this (thanks for the invite Kake!). Glad it was good though - that is a veritable mountain of food!

  11. This is my local - I think I may have been the one bigging it up on, I'd really recommend trying the other stuff on the (mainland) menu, and even dipping into the Cantonese. I've eaten all over London - and Hong Kong, and China, and I really, really rate this place.

    What I like most is that the dishes are different every time, it tastes like homecooking.

    Also Rotherhithe/Surrey Quays has I think the second largest Chinese community in London, so I hope many more open up...