Seventh Heaven Beijing & Shanghai Restaurant
2/F, 15 Knutsford Terrace, Kimberley Plaza, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2316 2288
Open: 4pm-2am (Friday and Saturday until 3.30am)
Cuisine: Jingchuanhu (Beijing, Shanghainese with some Sichuan thrown in)
Price: about HK$250 without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: Seventh Heaven is on the top floor of a hacienda-style building and shares a corridor and restrooms with a bar called The Birdcage. The music from the bar and downstairs Spanish restaurant and steakhouse can be heard in the open, 100-seat dining space, which made for a rather eclectic soundtrack to our meal - flamenco guitar, American pop-rock, traditional Chinese orchestral music and even parts of the Swan Lake ballet score. The restaurant was not very busy on a rainy Tuesday night. The overall feel of the low-lit, somewhat old-fashioned Chinese decor is relaxing - except for the music.
Pros: service was friendly and attentive. Our waiter recommended several dishes for our small group, highlighting the house-made steamed rice-flour buns in the northern dim sum selection.
Cons: the menu, which purports to cover three regional cuisines, is hardly extensive. We skipped the 'greatest hit' dishes of each region for simpler, home-style dishes. The heat and spice levels were generally toned down, presumably for Cantonese and expat palates.
Recommended dishes: cold Sichuan-style shredded chicken and fun pei with peanut sauce and chilli oil (HK$72) was refreshing. Pan-fried Shanghainese pork dumplings (HK$40 for four) came piping hot. Each bite yielded well-seasoned mouthfuls of minced pork, and the fresh rice-flour skin had just the right amount of doughiness to soak up the meat juices. The fried prawns with red chilli (HK$168) had a decent, garlic-flavoured kick to it, although they were slightly overcooked and chewy. Following our waiter's recommendation, we ordered the steamed Beijing-style coiled rolls to mop up the prawn sauce, and the combination of the fragrant, pillowy bun and the slightly sweet and spicy sauce was the most enjoyable part of the dish.
What else? The bar next door keeps a rather talkative myna bird that could be heard answering imaginary phone calls. My guests and I found it rather amusing - for the first half an hour.