AMBIENCE A blend of traditional Chinese d?r and modern seating and tableware. Decorations not too lavish, but create a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.
WHO TO BRING Family or close friends who enjoy exquisite Chinese cuisine.
COST About HK$1,800 for a five-course dinner set menu for two, with a glass of wine each.
TURN-ONS The tasting menu showcases the restaurant's signature and home-style dishes. Each is well presented, and the friendly waiters are eager to explain the intricacies of the dishes. The renowned barbecued pork is the highlight. With the right balance of fat and meat, the honey-glazed pork is tender and delicious. Saut? fresh scallops stuffed with minced shrimps (pictured) feature a simple cooking style and fresh ingredients. The fried rice 'Yeung Chow' style was excellent, while the braised abalone with mushrooms in oyster sauce lacked flavour. The dessert of walnut soup was a hearty portion.
TURN-OFFS Pan-fried fillet of beef in spicy salt was too salty. While the meat was tender, it lacked flavour.
DRINKS Chinese teas and a wide selection of red and white wines, many by the glass. KC
Conrad Hong Kong
FARE Cantonese with other regional dishes.
AMBIENCE Modern with wooden floors, textured columns and a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour.
WHO TO BRING Close friends and friends from out of town to impress.
COST HK$1,248 for two including tea.
TURN-ONS One of the specialities is crispy frog legs with spicy salt that were lightly fried to retain the delicate flavour of the tender meat. We also liked the baked crab shell stuffed with onion and fresh crabmeat that was flavourful and filling. The half portion of the deboned crispy chicken was excellent, the crunchy skin having a shiny russet colour and the meat very lean. The seasonal choi sum in a broth was cooked perfectly. We also enjoyed the dessert of baked cream custard puffs. The filling was not too sweet and the pastry was delicate. We also liked the sweetened almond cream with egg white.
TURN-OFFS Only a minor fault with the steamed star grouper fillet (pictured) with ginger and spring onions in bamboo basket - the two slices were slightly overcooked.
DRINKS Extensive international wine list. BC
Lung King Heen
4/F, Four Seasons Hong Kong
8 Finance Street
CELEBRATE IN STYLE
FARE Traditional Cantonese with Shunde specialities.
AMBIENCE Contemporary d?r with Chinese flourishes such as wooden screens and paintings on the walls.
COST HK$1,936 for two including tea.
WHO TO BRING Business associates and family members for a celebratory meal.
TURN-ONS The double boiled consomm?with slices of sea whelk, yam, wolf berries, kim wah ham and lean pork was excellent. The consomm?was full of flavour extracted from the ingredients that resulted in second helpings. The saut? shredded prawns, crabmeat with onions, bean sprouts and egg (pictured) was delicate, while the seasonal pea shoot leaves were verdant, their taste made pungent by roasted garlic in a soup-based presentation. The traditionally prepared dessert of sweetened walnut cream had a nice grainy thick texture, though the almond soup was extremely watery. We also liked the steamed traditional brown sugar sponge cake with pine nuts that was fragrant and not too sweet.
TURN-OFFS We appreciated the culinary artistry in deboning a crispy chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and diced Chinese sausages. However, there wasn't much of the chicken meat left behind which would have made the dish more substantial and interesting in flavour.
DRINKS Emphasis on French wines, along with Chinese wines and spirits. BC
Fook Lam Moon
35-45 Johnston Street
FARE Traditional Cantonese.
AMBIENCE D?r looks tired, but the room offers high ceilings and harbour views.
WHO TO BRING Parents, grandparents, older work colleagues.
COST HK$1,200 for two.
TURN-ONS The sliced pork with taro in clay pot, with subtly sweet sauce coating, was not too fatty. The grouper fillets with lily bulbs and red and green peppers in black bean sauce was a classic dish done with finesse. The steamed milk dessert with ginger was light, silky and with a good amount of ginger infused through the custard-like mouthfuls.
TURN-OFFS The saut? scallops with asparagus and fungus were good, but the scallops could have been plumper and were a touch overdone. Our soups were served at the same time. More thought could have gone into the presentation of dishes. Service was reliable but impersonal.
DRINKS Good selection of wines and premium Chinese teas. LL
3/F, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel
1 Harbour Road
TIME TO CELEBRATE
FARE Traditional Cantonese.
AMBIENCE The d?r hasn't changed much in three decades with its kitsch look on the ground floor and somewhat bland brown and cream-coloured upper floors, though the VIP rooms on the fourth floor are said to be purple.
COST HK$1,392 for two including tea.
WHO TO BRING Family and friends for a celebratory gathering.
TURN-ONS The highlight was the soup made with dried 'sun and moon' scallops that have tails and dried medlar seeds, Chinese ham, pork, ginger and wolfberries. The consomm?was flavourful and nourishing, said to be good for eyesight. We also liked the deep-fried prawns wrapped in tofu skin and mini-crab roe that had varying degrees of crunchiness. The smoked layered pork with pine nuts was melt-in-the-mouth good. The signature roast goose (pictured) came with a shiny russet-coloured skin, the meat tender though quite oily. We were pleasantly surprised by the wonton noodles in soup - the bite-sized shrimp and pork dumplings were delicately wrapped. For vegetables, pea shoot leaves stir-fried with garlic was a standard dish.
TURN-OFFS The preserved trotter with soy sauce is labour intensive as the pork meat is reconstituted like a sausage, thinly sliced and topped with jellyfish, but the meat was dry.
DRINKS Selected wines and Chinese teas. BC
32-40 Wellington Street
AMBIENCE This long-established restaurant has updated its d?r on moving to the fifth floor.
WHO TO BRING Family and business associates.
COST HK$1,027 for two including tea.
TURN-ONS Generations of families still patronise this restaurant because the quality continues to be consistent. An example is the shredded boneless chicken with tender meat slightly flavoured with pepper. The honey glazed barbecue pork (pictured) does not disappoint either. An appetiser of marinated duck's tongues was full of flavour and the Shunde classic of crispy minced carp cakes and crispy bread topped with milk custard was a treat. The poached pea shoots in soup was seasoned with thin slices of Chinese ham. Sesame dumplings in ginger soup were a delicious finish.
TURN-OFFS While we liked the steamed crab claw with shark's fin on egg white, it was covered with a thick layer of chicken stock sauce that distracted from the natural flavours.
DRINKS Selection of whites, reds, Chinese wines and spirits, and tea. BC
Tsui Hang Village
5/F, Miramar Shopping Centre
132 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
FARE Home-style Cantonese cuisine.
AMBIENCE There's an air of sophistication and elegance with a great view of Victoria Harbour, but the wooden furnishings and relaxed vibe also make it an unpretentious, intimate setting.
WHO TO BRING Wife or girlfriend, family get-together or business dinner.
COST HK$2,000 for two including wine.
TURN-ONS Popular traditional Cantonese dishes all lived up to expectations and left us wanting more. The braised bird's nest soup with minced chicken was lightly spiced and a perfect appetiser. Although a simple dish, the steamed fresh grouper just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth, while the crispy loong kong chicken (pictured) turned out to be the main signature dish. Succulent and crunchy, it was the night's winner. Service was attentive and informative with each dish explained.
TURN-OFFS The wok-fried prawns with fungi and kale in marinated mushroom sauce were a letdown, while the rice noodles with shimeji mushrooms in fish sauce also did not impress. Bland and uninspiring, both dishes were a disappointment.
DRINKS An extensive and impressive international wine list that caters for all tastes. JC
One Harbour Road
7-8/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
1 Harbour Road