For most married couples their wedding day is an unforgettable moment in their lives, with the banquet one of the highlights. But singles can also experience their own 'wedding banquet' at Xi Yan in Wan Chai. Xi Yan (meaning 'wedding banquet' in Putonghua) has been considered one of the best private kitchens in Hong Kong since it opened in 2000 and diners have to book far in advance to get a table at the restaurant in the Hang Wai Commercial Building at 233 Queen's Road East.
Chef and owner Jacky Yu Kin-chi recently opened a new outlet, Xi Yan Sweets, next to Three Pacific Place in Wan Chai. The new restaurant can seat up to 44.
'We expanded because the private kitchen is very popular and people have to wait about six weeks to try our cuisine,' says Yu. 'Xi Yan Sweets keeps the reddish tone of the first outlet because red means luck and peace in Chinese.'
Despite its name, Xi Yan Sweets serves savoury dishes as well as desserts. As at Xi Yan, the dishes at the new outlet are eclectic and infused with ingredients from across Asia, including China, Japan and Thailand. But unlike the original, where all guests eat the same set meal, diners at Xi Yan Sweets can choose from a menu. Some of the dishes at Xi Yan Sweets will be familiar to those who have dined at the private kitchen, including the Sichuan spicy chicken with mung-bean sheets and minced preserved eggs ($68). The glutinous dumplings stuffed with salted egg yolk, sugar-preserved winter melon, peanuts and sesame in ginger soup (below right; $28) are equally good.
The lychee ice cream with osmanthus flower wine (below left; $36) is a perfect palate cleanser.
Xi Yan Sweets is at shop 1, 8 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2833 6299.