Riding a wave of cultural resurgence, Victoria is currently experiencing somewhat of a culinary renaissance. The area is no longer a mere transport thoroughfare, now featuring a hotbed of culinary talent including A. Wong. The Roadhouse Café and The Goring. But sometimes it’s the established hangouts that deserve another gander, with Cantonese restaurant Grand Imperial yielding an exterior as grand as its name. And just a hop and a skip from Victoria Station, it’d be rude not to pop by for a pitstop on the way home to sample the Gold Prix Fixe menu. Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine is the signature style here, and we were about to discover the fantastic range of dim sum, barbecue and seafood specialities from Grand Imperial London.
To start, the impressive steamed dim sum selection included scallop, prawn, vegetarian with water chestnut and mushroom. The dim sum rivalled Chinese landmark restaurant Yauatcha’s approach to fresh dim sum, with immaculate bundles of delicate morsels.
With a chilli tang, the Szechuan hot & sour soup with lobster was deliciously moreish. My only reservation was saving enough space for the onset of imperial feasting, so I approached with restraint. The hunks of light, fresh lobster were beautifully delicate and perfectly cooked.
Deep fried soft shell crab with butter oat was the standout creation for us, and an absolute must-try dish when dining at Grand Imperial. The rich, dry crunch of the butter oat was not a combination I had tried with elegant crab before, but definitely one I would immediately order if I saw on the menu again.
Pan-fried scallop with minced prawn in black truffle sauce was a very clever and unique execution, with the scallop sliver crowning the prawn. The minced prawn added an injection of authentic Chinese flavour to the tender, golden scallop.
The caramelised glaze of the baked black cod with miso was a fantastic dish for all fish lovers, and one of our favourites from the evening. The feather-light wasabi sauce provided a contrast of heat to the honeyed caramel outer of the flaky fish.
Just as we thought we had reached our limit, the next dish tempted us to plough on. Pan-fried lamb cutlet with black pepper sauce was partnered with moreish red rice – an elegant Chinese take on a traditional British stalwart dish. The fried red cargo and jasmine rice with diced vegetables was light, and full of the tasty flavour of egg fried rice without any heaviness.
The Grand Imperial dessert plate included a light combination of a delicious passion fruit mousse, and a jelly. The passion fruit was delightfully tangy and sweet to finish off the meal.
Ancient artwork and calligraphy in the interior contribute to the authentic Chinese authenticity that’s more than backed up by the food here, making this an old Victorian gem that’s worth rediscovering, amongst the shiny new development regenerating the area.
Grand Imperial London
101 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0SJ