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Chinese Restaurants in the City

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      21.12.2001 16:02
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      You think you like Chinese food, just wait til you've tried this place it is fantastic. Imperial City is located in part of the old Royal Exchange Building in Cornhill near Bank Tube Station in London. ~~~~~~ Decor ~~~~~~ From the modest street level entrance you will be suprised at what awaits downstairs. The restaurant is set in a vaulted brick cellar, the ceiling of which has been painted in the most tasteful of fashions. Even the ducting for the air conditioning is adorned along its length with golden dragons. There is a beautiful water feature and many bonsai-style trees. Even before you have had a chance to view the menu you know that this is going to be a treat. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Service with a Smile ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The waitresses and waiters are all immaculately turned out, dressed in traditional dress. They are all very pleasant, although tend to the efficient, especially at lunchtime when they do try to get people through the restaurant - having said this, one is never rushed and time can be taken at leisure. ~~~~~ Menu ~~~~~ This is what a restaurant review is all about - food. You will not be disappointed. There are three set menus ranging in price, £15.95, £19.95 and £24.95, a "seasonal set menu" which changes throughout the year at £30.00 and a huge a la carte menu. We had the seasonal set menu which today was "Imperial Snake", presumably celebrating the year of the snake. If you are hungry then I suggest you give up reading now and come back to this opinion another time...if you think you can cope then here goes.... **Starter** - Imperial Mixed Platter - spring rolls, deep fried prawns, wontons, spare ribs, chilli aubergine and beef slices. Immaculately presented and all tasted awesome. **Intermediate** - choice of Crispy Duck with pancakes or chilli lobster. As there were four of us we had both. The lobster was out
      of this world. **Main** - again a choice of one dish each from a list of five. We had chicken in soy, prawns with asparagus, deep fried fish with lemon sauce and sizzling beef, all servied with special fried rice, noodles and pak choi. You could not fault either the presentation or the taste. **Dessert** - Banana fritters with honey icecream, simply to die for! There was more than enough food and I really cannot find a complaint. ~~~~~~ Price ~~~~~~ This is not a cheap place to eat, although if you go for one of the set meals (other than the special) I think that it is increadibly good value for the City. For wine expect to pay about £11.50 for a bottle of house, or £28 for champagne. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Who goes there? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As you might exect, being right next to the Bank of England and in the heart of the City it is frequented by City-types. It is ideal for business lunches and the tables are far enough apart to give you some degree of privacy. In the evening client entertaining is still the name of the game. If you are feeling particularly extravegant or wish for a greater degree of privacy they do have a private dining room seating up to 16 people. ~~~~~~~~~~~ When to go ~~~~~~~~~~~ I would always book before going as it is extreamly popular (with the possible exception of Monday lunch). In common with most of the city it is only open Monday to Friday 11.30 - 9pm. You can book on 020 7626 3437. This restaurant is well worth a visit and is a rival to most Chinese restaurants in the area.

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