Imperial China

Restaurants, Chinese Chinatown
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
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Imperial China
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An elaborately decorated three-floor restaurant serving dim sum, plus karaoke rooms.

A small wooden bridge spanning an ornamental fish pond, warm wood panelling, kind lighting and a second floor offering a view of the dining room below set this Cantonese stalwart apart from all others in Chinatown. Yet in every other respect, it’s indistinguishable. Service is efficiently brusque to maximise customer turnover. We’ve often had to wait for a table, whether we had booked in advance or not – as if an empty seat, even for a minute, is seen as a threat to profits. No surprise then, that dishes are delivered quickly. During a weekend dim sum lunch, about a dozen baskets arrived simultaneously, minutes after ordering. There were no standouts among the parade of dishes we tried, but we had no complaints either. The food is reliable, authentic and of decent quality. Portions can be rather miserly, however, especially given the high prices compared to rivals in the neighbourhood. Then again, Imperial China appears to get away with it. The relatively handsome and comfortable decor, accessible location and clean toilets seem to keep the venue consistently popular among both Chinese and Western diners.

 

Posted:

Venue name: Imperial China
Contact:
Address: White Bear Yard
London
WC2H 7BA
Cross street: 25A Lisle Street
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11.30pm Mon-Sat; 11.30am-10.30pm Sun. Dim sum served noon-5pm daily
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus
Price: Main courses £8.50-£32.50. Dim sum £3.20-£4.50. Set meal £19.50-£45.50 per person (minimum 2). Minimum £10
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Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|9
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LeeLee
tastemaker

I'll admit, Imperial China is definitely more pricey than the other restaurants in Chinatown for dim sum. However, it is very much worth it! The dishes are made well, come in decent portion sizes and the service is quick (as most dim sum places are). The first time I visited was with my brother and family friends, who treated us to a meal. Since we came on a Sunday afternoon (prime time for dim sum!), we were seated upstairs and for some time, we were the only customers in that room, which was nice because it wasn't noisy and conversation was easy to hold. 


We mostly ordered standard dim sum items such as: Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, Steamed Custard Buns, Prawn Cheong Fun, Century Egg and Pork Congee, Yam Croquettes, and Steamed Pork and Chive Dumplings. My favourite was definitely the Steamed Custard Buns because they came out really fresh - steaming hot and the custard filling oozed out perfectly when bitten into. It was the first time my friend's father had this dish and he instantly loved it! 


The second time I visited Imperial China was for Chinese New Year with my family in 2016. Here, we ordered their standard dishes for dinner, which included: Shredded Duck Pancakes, a plate of stir-fried vegetables, steamed rice, BBQ Pork and Roast Pork, etc. Although I was most looking forward to the duck pancakes, it was a disappointment for me and my family. Because the duck was pre-shredded, it turned out much drier than normal duck, which is quite succulent. Even when put into the pancakes with spring onions and plum sauce, the meat was tough to chew and to enjoy. 


Even though we came on the Eve of Chinese New Year for dinner, the service was quite quick. Our food came out at a reasonable time after we placed our orders and they were attentive in changing our plates, as is customary throughout a meal at a Chinese restaurant. We were also seated in a nice room upstairs, with other large tables and groups, and the noise level was bearable. 

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

We were looking for some dumplings that allow us to share and try different things and after investigation we have decided to try this restaurant.

From the outside it seems small but when you adventure inside is actually quite big and cosy.

We tried several different dumplings and they were quite good and quality.

It’s not expensive and I think that in terms of quality and price this is spot on.

I will definitely go back.

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

If you are overwhelmed and blinded by the lights and choice of China Town, head to the tranquil bridge that leads you to Imperial China on Lisle Street for consistently delicious and authentic Chinese cuisine.


Don't expect anything edgey, strikingly different or dishes that you haven't seen on other menus, but the quality of service and food here is so high, you cannot go wrong. Start your feast with some dim sum, beautiful and delicate and cooked to perfection. The Har Gow are particularly good. The chicken and cashew nuts is fresh and fragrant, the sticky chilli beef is crispy and tangy and the fried noodles are charred and full of smokiness that just eating them on their own would suffice.


Reasonably priced with friendly, helpful staff, cross the carp filled water feature into an authentic taste of China; you won't regret it. 


Don't expect yt 

Sonny C
Tastemaker

Went to this restaurant spontaneously on Chinese New Year. Lovely entrance with a bridge over a carp filled pond. Pleasantly surprised to be accommodated on such a busy night without a reservation but this is a large restaurant. Staff were pleasant & the food was nice but not exceptional. Would certainly go back because lovely setting & ambience

Daisy

I was taken here by a friend from Japan who said it was some of the best dimsum he'd had in London. I wasn't disappointed. The place was charming and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. The food was excellent, I was hugely impressed, bolstered by how good it was, started trying more exciting things that I wouldn't necessarily want to try elsewhere. It was all fantastic and wasn't at all expensive. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

Bernard

Consistently excellent for Dim Sum. Gets very busy but then that's a good sign. We are regular visitors so we have experienced the restaurant on many visits and have never been disappointed. The atmosphere is clean and pleasant and somewhere that I could seriously recomment. The negative reviews are seemingly based on one-off experiences and a great surprise to read. We have always had very good service and excellent food.

Toby Smith

Attention to service is severely lacking in this over-hyped Chinese restaurant. After thirty minutes of being sat at a table, with a party of ten, we were asked to vacate the table and move to a different table at the back, so they could accommodate a party of eleven. We graciously moved. The service was then inattentive and food distinctly average. It is an incredibly basic Chinese restaurant, that does not make Cantonese food well; think overcooked beef and MSG heavy sauces. Having eaten in China town and lived in China, there are a lot of better places in London... Best avoided, unless you want to be disappointed.

Glenys Andrews

We had heard good reports from a Chinese freind who visits regularly. We were not disappointed. The food was excellent and we thought it was very good value for money. We had booked in advance by e-mail for ourselves and two guests and the duty manager made us most welcome. The service was attentive, helpful (we ordered red wine by mistake and it was 'no problem' to change to white (we ended up having both!) and efficient in spite of the fact that the place was crowded. We'll definitely be back!

jim sutton

The rudest service I ever encountered. After requesting to pay the tips (12.5% Discretionary!) in cash and not debit card, the waitresses proceeded to pressure intimidate and humiliate my wife and I in the middle of the room while talking loudly in Chinese between themselves, giving us evil stares. Don't go if you are not rich, not Chinese (racist comments as I am white and my wife asian), and like human decency and respect. Also the prices seem to go up £0.20 a dish every 2 months. I was a regular... never again