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.