I have always had fond memories of Imperial China, maybe because it's a slight detour to get to the restaurant unlike the usual fare at Chinatown. However Imperial China's fanciness has made it less attractive to the Chinese who simply want cheap, cheerful and traditional, they don't really care about the environment that they're in.
Today I decided to revisit Imperial China, realising I haven't actually been there for lunch before. The décor was definitely more attractive compared to any old Chinese restaurant and I still love the bridge leading to the front door. Me and my dad ordered scallop dumplings, Vietnamese spring rolls, Shanghai dumplings, Shanghai stir fried noodles and Shaomai.
The scallop dumplings were filled to the brim with ingredients, which was lovely to see as many other restaurants don't do that. The pastry did taste a bit dry though, for me, but it was well made and a nice, light snack. The Vietnamese spring rolls were very nice. They were crispy on the outside but still retained moisture on the inside so it wasn't too dry to eat. I do find that Vietnamese spring rolls either come too dry or too soggy but here they were just right. Shanghai dumplings are a favourite of mine and I have to congratulate Imperial China for this because they definitely made some very good dumplings for UK standards. The skin was thin but made just well enough to hold the soup inside - and it did have soup! However if you were to compare it with Asian standards it wasn't as fragrant or fresh but it was a delight for usual London fare - even my dad praised it! The Shanghai stir fried noodles were nice but I would have liked more mushrooms. Shanghai stir fry can be scarily oily but Imperial China made it so it wasn't too oily looking but still looked like a proper Shanghai stir fry. Finally the Shaomai, they were lovely. The crab caviar didn't really do anything besides decoration but it did look pretty. I like how the meat was tender because sometimes you find chewy bits in Shaomai.
Overall for the 5 dishes it cost us £23.50, which I think is a decent price, not the cheapest but not ridiculously expensive either. I would definitely recommended Imperial China to anybody that hasn't been. It may seem a bit intimidating walking into that alleyway but what you find at the end is definitely worth a look.