Xia Fei Society
4/F Century Square, 1-13 D'Aguilar Street, Central
Tel: 2522 7611
Open: 11am-3.30pm, 5pm-11pm
Price: about HK$300 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: quiet and elegant. There's an open kitchen at one end of the room where chefs make dumplings and dim sum. Servers were helpful, although I wish they had told us we were ordering too much.
Pros: we liked most of what we ordered.
Cons: an appetiser of stewed pork spare ribs with osmanthus and sweet and sour sauce (HK$68) had meat that was too firm - the same fault of the pork belly meat with dried bamboo shoots in brown sauce (HK$88). We left most of those dishes uneaten. Xia Fei pan-fried minced beef in soup bun (HK$36 for three) had a tender pastry resilient enough to hold the soupy filling, but the meat itself didn't have good flavour. By contrast, the filling of the shredded turnip pastry (HK$336 for three) was fine, but the pastry itself was too hard.
Recommended dishes: deep-fried sliced eel in wine and ginger sweet sauce (HK$88) was fresh with a delicate texture and seasonings. Braised fish head casserole (HK$198) was an enormous portion. The waiter ladled out portions of the fen pei (mung bean sheets) and lightly textured soup, which was a little spicy and sweet, and put the large, meaty fish head on a platter for us to pick at. Even better than that was the sauteed fatty crab with glutinous rice (HK$328). The crab was meaty and sweet and had plenty of roe; the rice was deliciously rich and oily. Deep-fried chicken in scallion oil (HK$118 for half) had moist meat that was infused with the dark soy sauce and crisply fried scallions. Sauteed shepherd's purse with bamboo shoots (HK$118) seemed a little bland at first, but the subtlety of the flavours started to come through as we continued to eat it.
What else? Xia Fei Society is a sister restaurant to the popular Joy & Joy Chinese restaurant in Melbourne Plaza (tel: 28105366).