China Fragrance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 12:00am

F2, Telford Plaza, Kowloon Bay

Tel: 2707 9822

Open: 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm

Cuisine: Regional Chinese cuisine, including Shanghai, Bashu, Suzhou, Yunnan and Beijing.

Ambience: A corridor with a big shelf of traditional Chinese tea pots leads to the long dining hall, where tables and chairs are closely set. The atmosphere is warm and relaxing, but noisy, with groups playing mahjong and chatting.

Price: $150 per person without alcohol.

Pros: The food is above average, but what surprised us most was the long menu, which has more than 200 dishes from different parts of China. Many of them are traditional local dishes and some, such as baked beggar's chicken ($220, order a day in advance) and steamed glutinous dumpling stuffed with mashed sesame ($28), are rarely found at other restaurants.

Cons: It was disappointing that the chef didn't carve the meat from the barbecued Peking duck ($220, far left) in front of us, but this was probably because the aisles are too narrow to allow a trolley through.

Recommended dishes: The jellyfish with vinegar ($42, right) has an elastic texture and was a good cold dish to start with. Slices of crispy skin and meat cut from the barbecued Peking duck were well presented on a plate in the shape of a duck (left). The slices - served in thin pancakes wrapped with cucumber and spring onion and a special sauce - had a subtle smoky flavour and didn't taste fatty. But it would have been easier to chew if the pieces had been cut thinner. You can take the rest of the duck home.

What else? Steamed Mandarin fish with shredded pork ($118) was delicious, but it's no longer on the menu because it was part of a special promotion. The eatery belongs to the Maxim's Group.