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Imperial City (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Imperial City in City of London, London

Royal Exchange, Cornhill, City of London, London, EC3V 3LL
Cuisine: Pan Asian Average Price: £40.00
Tel: 02076263437 | Email to Imperial City | Transport: Mansion House | Write review

Imperial City Review

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Best for: impressive business lunches in The City, Chinese in Bank

Great: steamed seabass with black bean sauce

Noodle City in Harrow is my Chinese restaurant of choice. A huge plate of steaming duck noodles sets me back just £4. And with a freshly pressed orange juice, it’s the perfect meal if I’m feeling uber hungry and in need of some stodge. On a hungry day I can eat it all in one sitting. If it’s not a hungry day, I take the remainders home in a doggy bag. Good times.

The restaurant’s decor is a little simple though: long wooden tables and benches; overhead pan piped Celine Dion alternating with Dr Dre on the music system; and a constant draught means I rarely need or want to take my coat off. Bad times. It’s not exactly somewhere to while away an evening.

So going to the rather grander prefixed 'Imperial'... City for Fluid was a bit of a contrast. Walking down the black spiral staircase, flanked by luxe gold and black wallpaper and embroidered wall hangings, I felt like Eliza Doolittle ditching her daisies and entering a ballroom: “Oh my! 'Ow fancy!”

Just off the Royal Exchange in The City of London, Imperial City is in a vaulted cellar and as well as the impressive stone arches and brickwork, the fittings are suitably smart: black velveteen effect banquette seating lines the walls, scattered with sumptuous cushions. Tables are separated by partitions (each painted differently) to give privacy (Eliza can practice 'it hardly ever rains in Hertford, Hereford...' without Mr. Stockbroker guffawing at her cockney timbre), and greater intimacy to a large space.

In the middle of the restaurant are a few larger booths on raised platforms but with the same banquette seating, giving the impression of sitting in the first class dining cart of the Oriental Express. At one end of the restaurant is a more informal bar, while at the other end is a waterfall-esque feature lit up with interchanging blue and green lights.

Even the air ventilation system is spruced up: the giant overhead pipe is decorated with a Chinese dragon giving diners comfortable temperatures without the eyesore. Eliza would be in her element. The decor is very tastefully done and the same goes for the food.

Its menu is a suitably heavy affair with a few set menus, specials and the usual huge selection of main dishes, sides and dim sum that one would expect from any Chinese restaurant worth its hoisin sauce. We went for the set menu, which included crispy duck pancakes, costing £34 a head.

The mixed starters were good, though not dissimilar from most Chinese restaurants. And again while our crispy duck was expertly prepared in front of our eyes, it was the main courses that indicate Imperial City is a classier outfit. The steamed seabass with black bean sauce was delicious and fresh, while the sirloin steak with cracked black pepper and lemon juice, recommended by the manager, was beautifully cooked and sizzling when brought to our table. The only letdown was that the stir-fried vegetables had a heavier ratio of cabbage to baby corn, mushrooms and pepper.

Slices of fresh fruit and jasmine tea afterwards cleansed the palate and I enjoyed my evening at Imperial. The staff were polite, friendly and attentive but equally not overzealous or annoying. It's not the kind of restaurant I'd recommend to friends looking for a new and exciting 'find' in London, but if anyone is after somewhere that is suitably impressive for a business lunch, this is it.

The jewellery display, with Tatler magazine covers as backdrop, hint at the kind of up-market pinstripes that visit Imperial City. So if your boss, parent or other half is paying, sit back and enjoy Imperial City. Otherwise, if you've only got a fiver in your pocket, make like Eliza and check out the less fancy Noodle City in 'Arrow. more

Nathalie Bonney

Customer Reviews for Imperial City

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Imperial City.

“Lovely interior, shame about the service. Waiters were not as attentive as you'd expect and the food was nothing special. Personally a trip to China town would have been appetising.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Purvi, London (8 years 3 months 15 days ago)

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Additional Information

Imperial City Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: Pan Asian
  • Average Price: £40.00

Imperial City Food Menu

The impressive and authentic menuat Imperial City is inspired by Ken Hom, a world renowned authority on South-East Asian cuisine, who acts as a consultant chef. Clever flavouring and only the freshest ingredients are used to create dishes which are distinctive and satisfying for example Imperial style osso buco with Shanghai noodles and beef with lemon grass and cracked black pepper. A specially selected wine and drink list to complement the unique food flavours is available in both the bar and restaurant.

Updated 27/03/2012

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Venue ID: 4595

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"Had a wonderful time and the staff were most helpful and speedy when I ordered last minute food. Will be back very soon!" Which venue is this?


"we had a voucher for a 3 course meal for two ,the food was really nice but ended up paying an extra seventy pounds on top which was sad ,they never offered us the 3 course menu for the voucher" Which venue is this?

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