Sunday, September 02, 2007

Imperial Kingdom - Yum Cha

Since this was our last week of work at our current building, we were going to have a big lunch out. Well every week we have a big lunch out on Friday, but this time we were going to splurg and spend double digits for our meals. I told everyone about my lunch at Shira Nui the previous week and how good it was. So we tried to get a table there again, but alas, they were all booked out.

So instead we decided to go to Imperial Kingdom for yum cha since we hadn't gone there for a while. From left we have Hien, Trung and Keiran (giving me the evil eye) enjoying their food.

Again, there's Keiran, the mysterious Emmanuel who threatens to sue me if I put his face on my blog and Wei.

Here's me and Jessie. Look how big Jessie's face is compared to my super slim face hehehe.

We usually just grab a variety of dishes and everyone picks what they like. As usual, there is an abundance of prawn dishes, which Keiran doesn't like at all. Therefore we make sure we get stuff like BBQ pork rolls, spring rolls and sticky rice chicken parcels for him and Emmanuel. Emmanuel vowed to never go to yum cha again after Wei had previously "tricked" him into eating chicken feet. However, I convinced him that there are lots of other things to eat.

For those of us that like phong jao (chicken feet), we got right into it along with all my other favourites like steamed XO sauce eels, har gow (prawn dumplings), har cheung (prawn rice rolls), gee bow har (rice paper prawn rolls), dai zhi dofu (scallops on tofu) etc etc.

I'm not sure what has happened to Imperial Kingdom but it used to be so popular. Nowadays, even on a Friday, its only half filled. I used to love Imperial Kingdom but haven't really been a fan for the last two years. The standard of dishes seems to have really dropped and its not the cheapest yum cha place. I'm not sure exactly what has gone wrong with the place as the maitre'd and all the old staff are still there. A couple of the problems I can pick are that they don't have any new exciting yum cha dishes and their standard ones are of the best quality either. For example, the har cheung skin is not great, the zhi bow har skin is way too oily, the phong jao flavour is not fantastic etc. Also, service here isn't in keeping with modern places. The old staff are still very rude and seem like they don't care. The trolley lady walks past and we ask what she has but she can't even be bothered to open all the steamers and tell us. That's always been their style as I've been going to Imperial Kingdom for a good 15 years. It just seems like that service isn't good enough anymore, not unless your food is fantastic. I find that I know prefer New Royal Garden more, which are words I never thought I would say. New Royal Garden used to be awful, but ever since they changed management about 7 years ago, their very competitve prices combined with the lift in food standards have made them a better option than Imperial Kingdom.

Anyway, being our last meal at Imperial Kingdom as a work group was nostalgic. I can remember a meal there when I was still in first year uni and was doing my vacation work with my current company. I had just broken my front tooth ice skating and at the Friday lunch there, I could only eat soft things like congee and har cheung. Ah, how time flies. It's been 7 years since that meal.

Overall Rating: 11/20, Food is ok but service is a bit lacking.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Imperial Kingdom Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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