Most Dubai residents know Royal China for its decadent Chinese cuisine and sumptuous ambiance, but few seem to have yet heard of the venue’s award-wining barman Raditya Dimas and his riveting cocktails. I made a stop at Royal China’s dim-lit and sleek bar one night to find out.
I’d eaten at Royal China a few times and always enjoyed its intimate and subdued surroundings, which seem to whisk you miles away from the business hub of DIFC. The bar feels the same: located in a small, snug space enriched by the restaurant’s imperial red furnishings. Dimas friendly greets everyone with a smile and politely takes their requests. Even before I took a sip of my drink, I noticed the ease at which he gracefully made his concoctions. I was given his award-wining Royal Lemon cocktail, the drink for which he won the Marie Brizard Competition in Abu Dhabi this year and which will take him to Bordeaux France this month to represent the UAE and Royal China in the final.
I love the taste of tangy, bitter yet slightly sweet lemon. So when it comes to cakes and ice cream, I’m in second heaven when I know the flavor is citrus. I felt the same as Dimas handed me his award-wining cocktail in a lovely round glass. The taste was nice and smooth, slightly sweet and accentuated on the lemon flavor without being overly bitter. After a few sips, I could taste the vodka, but otherwise, the other ingredients of peach liquer, lemon juice, agostora bitter and lemon juice, can easily mask the edge of the alcohol. I was impressed.
Dimas Royal Lemon cocktail:
1 Oz Vodka Citrus
1/2 Oz Marie Brizard Apple Liquer
1/2 Oz Peace Liquer or Schnapps
3 Oz Lemon Grass Juice
1/2 Lemon Juice
1/2 Sugar Syrup
Dash of Agostora Bitter
To accompany my drink, I was advised to try the stir-fry turnip cakes in XO sauce made with chili and spring onions. An immediate winner, these are little cakes are served deliciously warm and moist with a consistency similar to that of potatoes – utterly addictive!
Royal China is located in DIFC, Tel: +971 43545543.