Royal Palace Chinese Restaurant
1/F and 2/F Ibis Hotel, 28 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan
Tel: 3428 2828
Open: 8am-10pm (last order)
Price: about HK$125 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the decor is a mishmash of elaborate woven carpets, bright chandeliers and large pillars covered with tiny tiles representing European people in historical costumes. We visited for a weekday lunch, and the large restaurant was packed until around 2pm, when the office workers rushed off.
Pros: serves good, classic Cantonese dishes at a reasonable price.
Cons: some of the dishes we wanted to try were sold out by the time we ordered (about 1.15pm). The har gau (HK$30) had wrappers that were too soft and broke apart when we tried to pick them up.
Recommended dishes: the fried bean curd (HK$30) was nicely done - the small squares had a delicate crust and soft, smooth interior. The steamed chicken (HK$100 for half) had a nice layer of jelly under the skin. The meat was a little bland, however, so it needed the ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. The lettuce with shrimp paste (HK$48) came to the table sizzling in a small clay pot. There was plentiful pungent shrimp paste, which coated the crisp lettuce.
The oyster pancake (HK$68) was much better than expected, using a lot more egg than starch, and the oysters were small and plump. The sweet and sour pork (HK$78) - a version with pineapple and white vinegar - was done reasonably well.
What else? There's a special lift that takes you to the restaurant; the other lifts are for guests staying in the hotel, and they don't stop at the first and second floors. Although the restaurant is in the hotel, it's run independently, and you can't book a table by calling the hotel number.