Taking the brisket
Kau Kee Beef Brisket
21 Gough Street, NoHo, Central
Fare Beef brisket in Chinese herbal consomme or Hong Kong-style Indian curry.
Ambience Very casual enchanting style with a semi-open kitchen, and a private mezzanine only open during peak hours.
Cost About HK$50 per person if you go for a full set including meat, vegetables and a drink.
Who to bring Beef brisket aficionados, beef consomme maniacs, curry fans, parents or grandparents who took you there decades ago, friends who want to bump into local artistes and stars, collective memory lovers, and authentic cuisine preservationists.
Turn-ons The brisket membrane (HK$56/bowl) was chewy in the membrane part, while the fat of the half-lean brisket (HK$43/bowl, or HK$26 with noodles) is soft as sponge. Both are widely said to be the best in town, but personally speaking the consomme (HK$6/bowl) and curry brisket and tendon e-fu noodles (HK$26) should take the crown. Looking very oily but not tasting greasy, the beef soup has an appealing Chinese herbal smell, and a strong and complex taste in the first sip followed by a soothingly light aftertaste. The curry is fairly thick and brisket and tendon are very well-braised and tender, while the e-fu noodles stand out thanks to their aroma and chewiness. The servers never forget regulars' picky favourites and special requests.
Turn-offs The brisket membrane is very limited and only reserved for very loyal fans or well-known artistes. Sometimes the meat of bigger chunks is too chewy. Dishes are not as hot as expected. Good service will only be found when you are familiar with the servers. No rice vermicelli is served during lunch hours. Cash only.
Drinks Coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks. Yuzu honey and yuzu kumquat are the most expensive at HK$14.