Chinese and East Asian
101 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, Central London, SW1W 0SJ
Grand Imperial is a restaurant that lives up to its name - the interior is luxurious and refined, with marble pillars, pristine tableware and original artwork and calligraphy adorning the walls. It was designed using the ancient art of feng-shui, making it an incredibly calming, harmonious space - the perfect setting in which to enjoy exquisite Cantonese cuisine. My guest and I took a seat at the bar and began perusing the impressive drinks menu. After much deliberation, we finally settled on a refreshing glass of LingLing each, which is named after the restaurant's skilled dim-sum chef, Ling, and is made up of sake, lychee purée, almond syrup, lemon juice and egg white. After finishing this lovely concoction, we took time to admire the large private dining room - a beautifully decorated space often used for weddings, corporate events and other functions. Experienced chef Rand Cheung is passionate about authentic Cantonese cuisine. Just like the restaurant's decor, his dishes are well-balanced, ensuring no spice is too overpowering. He always adds a contemporary twist to his cooking, so even the most discerning Chinese cuisine connoisseurs will find something innovative and surprising on offer. Alongside the à la carte menu, there are also several prix-fixe menus, plus a must-try Oriental afternoon tea. We started by enjoying crispy fried prawns perched on pineapple slices covered in rich mustard wasabi sauce, and a serving of deep-fried squid flowers. To accompany these delectable starters, we began our first bottle of Damana 5, a full-bodied wine with notes of fine oak and black cherry. Next, we sampled roast Peking duck served with pancakes and hoisin. This is a favourite dish of mine - however, Grand Imperial's moreish version far surpassed any I had tried before. The tender duck's crispy skin had just the right amount of bite, and the Peking sauce was piquant and sweet in equal measure. We also shared three superb mains of moist black cod; succulent scallops and juicy prawns with perfectly al dente broccoli; and sautéed chicken with sweet basil chilli and spring onion. We finished by enjoying a glass of Champagne jelly each, which was silky smooth, subtly sweet and topped with plump diced strawberries - a fittingly luxurious way to end a meal at such a grand establishment.