I once reviewed a Chinese restaurant in Blackpool and remember at the time thinking it would be almost impossible to beat. Well, how foolish was I because it has at least been matched!
The Royal Baths Chinese Restaurant has proven that it is possible to eat quality oriental food outside of China, but to find such a gem of an establishment in Harrogate of all places was, quite frankly, remarkable!
The establishment is located in Crescent Road in what was the original Royal Baths building of this spa town. The decor is stunning! Gothic columns, original stained glass, marble flooring, imported authentic Chinese furniture. Just go and have a look, its well worth it even if you don’t eat anything.
We were shown directly to our table by a very pleasant maitre d’ who actually portrayed that she cared. A great start. It’s not a huge restaurant, so I’m going to advise that if you want to eat here, do as we do, and book a table. There are a variety of menus available to suit lunchtime diners, pre-theatre patrons etc. These ‘special price’ menus are, in my opinion, a bargain for the quality of food offered. For example, the lunchtime menu starts at £10.00 with a pre-theatre menu at £15.00 including a glass of wine.
Drinks orders were taken and we were provided with complimentary prawn crackers in two different flavours – a nice touch. One point of note was the fact that everyone attending our table over the evening was cheerful, pleasant, helpful and indeed knowledgeable on the menu, which was a breath of fresh air. The a la carte menu is extensive so do allow yourself some time to make your choices. The good thing is that staff don’t bother continually asking if you’re ready to order. They obviously keep an eye on the table and know when to approach.
We opted to select from the a la carte. Starters were the mixed Hors D’ouevres which included sesame prawns, seaweed, mandarin spare ribs, spring rolls and chicken satay. Not a complaint was to be heard about a single morsel.
Next course up was the aromatic crispy duck served with pancakes and all the usual accompaniments. This was a half duck, pancakes, along with plenty of cucumber strips and spring onions along with the obligatory Hoi Sin sauce. No complaints either with the quality of the duck. Tender, soft, very tasty and a lovely crispy skin (my favourite bit). We needed extra pancakes as well as cucumber and spring onions; these were delivered approximately one minute after requesting them.
This time the mains were delivered on hot plates to the table where they were placed onto heater units to maintain temperature. Mains included chicken satay and a duck in a sweet sauce. The food was perfectly cooked, very tasty with just the right amount of dressing or sauce so as not to overpower the meat, and, nothing gloopy about this sauce either. In our case, we had requested a king prawn fried rice and sufficient was served for both of us.
Sweets were a champagne sorbet along with a toffee apple served with ice cream – both were delicious. Our bill for two with four courses, drinks and a bottle of the obligatory sparkling mineral water was £70.80 – a bargain in my eyes.
I highly recommended it to you, well worth a visit and thus far, a very good contender for my other best award Chinese restaurant – Michael Wan’s in Blackpool.
This is one of the very few reviews where I have given 5/5 on all ratings and it was well deserved too. Well done to all at The Royal Baths, you’ve done yourselves proud.
Oh, and they use proper white linen napkins!
For more information and to view menus, click here.