61 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 2861 0666
Open: 11am-11pm (last order at 10pm)
Cuisine: modern Chinese and international
Price: about HK$160 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: we were seated right by the service station of the long, narrow restaurant, which had four-top tables along one side of the corridor. The restaurant is noisy.
Pros: MSG is not used in the food. The menu has a lot of healthy-sounding Chinese dishes, and Western ones such as Caesar salad and linguine with Iberico ham. It specialises in dried abalone, although, as you'd expect at these prices, the abalone is quite small. There's a list of sets, which come with starters and desserts.
Cons: some of the food was bland. The organic bean curd and spinach in fish soup (HK$40 per serving large enough to feed two) needed salt and white pepper, and even then it was dull. Although the steamed abalone and rice in lotus leaf (HK$100) had a good flavour, it would have been much better if made with at least a small amount of glutinous rice to make it more cohesive.
Recommended dishes: double-boiled abalone in Hokkaido milk (HK$55) and double-boiled abalone with shark's bone soup (HK$55) were light in texture but rich in flavour. Seasonal vegetables in abalone sauce (HK$55) turned out to be very young, tender pea sprouts in an intense, glossy brown sauce. We ordered the grilled prawn with wild mushrooms but were served Thai-style prawns with green peppercorns (HK$140) and didn't mind the mistake. Five large, fresh, head-on prawns were split down the back so the peppery, slightly spicy sauce could penetrate the sweet meat.
What else? It offers some inexpensive set lunches, including instant noodles with whole abalone for HK$38.