Restaurant review: Dim Sum Library in Admiralty – hit and miss
The crispy aubergine with salted fish and minced pork, the xiaolongbao and the ginger lobster bao were winners, but the other dishes were disappointing
Dim Sum Library is the latest offering by the Aqua Restaurant Group, which has an eclectic selection of establishments, including Hutong, Shiro, Ayuthaiya, Zafran, and of course, Aqua. The decor is art deco Shanghai, with a long bar near the entrance and the dining area at the back.
It was quiet on the night we visited, and the staff were able to move us from one table where we were getting dripped on by the air-con, to a nicer table nearby.
As you’d expect from the name of the restaurant, Dim Sum Library offers a good selection of dim sum. One quibble, though: depending on the dish, the dim sum items are offered in portions of three or four pieces. We asked if they could add one more to the three-piece dishes, saying we’d pay accordingly – which is something the better dim sum restaurants are usually willing to do. The waiter said no, and suggested we order duplicates of those dishes so that everyone in our group of four could have a piece.
Our favourite dish was served first. From the list of chef’s recommendations, we had the crispy aubergine with salted fish and minced pork (HK$108). The coating on the aubergine was thin and delicate, not crisp, and was cooked so it was very tender within. The well-seasoned topping was delicious with the mild flavour of the aubergine.
Dan dan xiaolongbao (HK$48 for three pieces) was another enjoyable dish, although the wrapper broke on one of the dumplings. The filling was fragrant and very mildly spicy. Ginger lobster bao with spring onions (HK$88 for three pieces) had a soft steamed bun but we couldn’t really tell that the filling was made of lobster. Leopard coral grouper fillet dumplings (HK$68 for three) were unwieldy – the fish laid across the top was too large, and we ended up taking it off to eat the dumpling and topping separately.
Iberico pork with spring onions cheung fun (HK$68) was disappointing. The rice paper rolls were oversteamed and too soft, and the small amount of pork was hard. Hokkaido king crab and sea urchin spring rolls (HK$88 for four pieces) were overwhelmed by far too much mayonnaise.
The worst dish of the night was the Yunnan black truffle crispy skin chicken (HK$195 for half, HK$390 for whole). The meat had been torn into small pieces then mixed with the truffle sauce, giving it a horribly slimy texture.
Wok-tossed wagyu beef with onion and soy sauce in stone pot (HK$308) had too little beef and too much Chinese leek, which hadn’t been cooked long enough and was tough. The stone pot seemed to be for presentation purposes only: we could put our hand on it and it felt barely warm. The same could be said about the Tai O prawn paste lettuce (HK$98) which should have been sizzling in its stone pot. Still, it was delicious with its strong flavour of prawn paste, dried shrimp and minced pork.
Dim Sum Library, Shop 124, 1/F Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 3643 0088. About HK$295 without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area: