W Hotel, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon
Tel: 3717 2848
Open: 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm
Price: about HK$350 without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: the low-lit front dining room (right) features partitioned alcoves of smaller tables while the larger banquet-style room at the back, which seats about 80 at round tables, has 1980s retro elements, including tinted mirror panels on the ceiling and teal plush carpeting.
Pros: a comprehensive Cantonese menu, complete with double-boiled soups, shark fin and abalone dishes, is balanced by a frequently updated list of chef's recommendations, including individually portioned modern interpretations of Guangdong specialties such as the braised winter melon timbale stuffed with mixed mushrooms (HK$50 per person) and deep-fried prawns stuffed with taro paste (HK$48).
Cons: the service was frustratingly lacklustre: the two staff members assigned to our table managed to recommend just one dish, and fared worse with wine suggestions. After waiting more than 10 minutes to be told that our choice of an Australian red from the extensive list was unavailable, we were not given any help with alternatives.
Recommended dishes: the signature dish of wood-smoked half chicken (HK$230, right) was worth the recommendation; the meat was tasty and tender under the delicate translucent skin. The cold appetiser of kelp and Chinese celery tossed in sesame oil (HK$60) was enjoyable, though the advertised crab roe topping turned out to be tobiko (flying fish roe). Our favourite for the evening was a simple, home-style vegetable dish with bean curd, bamboo pith and mushrooms braised in a shrimp-roe sauce (HK$108, above right). My guests commented that they could taste the individual texture and flavours of each fungus variety, which included morel and lobster mushrooms.
What else? The restaurant is popular for its dim sum selection, which as a lunch set costs HK$282 per person.