I am still catching up with my blog writing and being ill this week has not helped. Although being indoors this week I have not managed to have the mental strength to tap on to a keyboard to write until yesterday having to take breaks and rest from the strained of the computer screen. It is not a great end to 2010 or a good start to 2011.
The week before Christmas I was glad to take it off to catch up with all the Christmas shopping in December. Although it was still so maniac that I cannot really remember or actually want to remember how Christmas 2010 went. It was the week after the heavy snow fall in London and we felt it was safe to travel out in the car that we went to visit the newly opened Imperial China in the town of Watford in Hertfordshire. It opened it doors to the public towards the end of 2010 and I have been meaning to visit the restaurant.
For those who are familiar with London Chinatown, there is already Imperial China restaurant (https://chechemui.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/imperial-china/). So yes, they have now opened a second branch in Watford on Elton Way. It is almost a rural area but not quite since on Elton Way you will find a petrol station, McDonalds and hotels. It is also very nearby to Costco wholesale, but still I find this area is more convenient if you had your own transport to travel to and from.
The area is beautiful and even more due to the snow which still had not managed to melt when we visited. Driving past the area of Hertfordshire with all its fields and woodlands it was like Christmas on a postcard. I could happily stopped down to take photos of fluffy snow still on the trees. The restaurant itself was beautifully covered in snow which was pretty in a way that I do not know how to describe. I will just let this photo speak for itself.
If you have dined at Imperial China in Chinatown you will know that the decor of the place is beautiful inside and outside. Although, it has that modern contemporary feel it still has that Oriental touch to it. The Watford branch also has this touch it, with my favourite has to be outside which has an Oriental garden.
There are various dim sum that you can choose to order from the more common to some that are less often seen. The dim sum menu are in both English and Chinese version for your preference. You can also ask for a colourful picture dim sum menu, if you are one of those who likes to look at pictures to help order your favourite dim sum. There are two set of prices for the dim sum which vary between weekday (Monday-Friday) and the weekend (Saturday & Sunday), where the prices are more expensive on the weekend.
Since it was only a few of us I could not go over-board and order too many dim sum. Instead we ordered a few dim sum from the steamed, baked and deep-fried section.
Egg custard tart (蛋撻) is usually what I do like to order on my dim sum list and not as a dessert (since it is not, it is a dim sum just like any other steamed or deep-fried dish on a dim sum menu). Although it is sweet it does not mean it is a dessert and the same if a dish was a savoury that it could not be a dessert!
Baked shredded turnip pastry (千絲蘿蔔酥) – If you have read my previous blog entry you might remember that I have introduced this dim sum that a few London Chinese restaurants serve but still not very common. It is a dish with a crispy outside and soft salty inside that is for the turnip lovers. The shape and colour are similar to those that are served at their London Chinatown branch.
Curry chicken pie (咖喱雞批) – this was fairly spicy for my taste buds but it was still tasty. I love chinese-style pie because of its pastry, since it has this crumb texture but soft with a hint of sweetness that is usually due to the glaze. It goes well with a sauce filling. Having one of these will remind me of the pie shop in Hong Kong that I used to go past when I get off one of the MTR station.
Cuttlefish ball with sweetcorn (金粟墨魚球) – The sweetcorn made the different to having a normal cuttlefish ball which brought a nice sweetness to it. It is always nice to have vegetable in your dim sum then to just meat and seafood.
Steamed squids with garlic (蒜蓉蒸鮮魷) – If you love garlic you will like this dish but of course you also have to like squid. This dish had the aroma of garlic and the taste was infused with more garlic.
Although, if there are more unusual dim sum on offer then I am likely to try it for the first time. But I do still go for the more common and tradition dim sum like the Prawn dumpling (蝦餃) and the Prawn & pork dumpling (燒賣).
Although it was cold for a chilled dessert like the Mango pudding (凍芒果布甸), we still ordered one. Now this is really what I call a Chinese dessert that can also be found on a dim sum menu. It a great portion for one person and in a shape of a small cute gold-fish. You could say that it was too cute to eat!
For a weekday afternoon there were people around having dim sum, which should mean that service should be up to standard. But I felt there could still be a room for improvement. Overall the standard of the food was not bad for my first visit. Although if I got another opportunity I would like to try more including their noodles or rice dishes.
The restaurant has been beautifully decorated with VIP rooms that have karaoke, and make it an attractive place for events. But in terms of location without convenient public transport I am not too sure I would consider holding an event here unless I rented a coach or had enough cars to know guests are able to get there or be able to get home.
Imperial China Restaurant (Watford branch)