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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

First impressions of The Pond at Elements – Chinese gastropub

Of the Chinese dishes we tried, the barbecued Peking duck was the highlight at this rooftop restaurant above Kowloon Station

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 6:01pm

It’s a bit odd to hear a place described as a Chinese gastropub, but The Pond, run by Maxim’s Group, fits the bill – a place to have food and drinks with friends after work. In Civic Square on the rooftop dining area of Elements mall in West Kowloon, the restaurant occupies two floors, with the bar area downstairs and the dining area upstairs, where it can get noisy with big groups having a boisterous evening.

We couldn’t figure out why it’s called The Pond, other than the fact that there’s a fountain outside, although we did spy a pair of carp painted on the ceiling.

We started with the Sichuan translucent beef slices (HK$98), which were presented on a plate that was lit from below to show how thin the beef is. The beef was addictive, and despite the Sichuan descriptor, it wasn’t spicy.

Our next dish was steamed shrimp, pork and duck dumplings (HK$65) which came in three colours – white, green and red, and were served with vinegar. The pork dumpling was straightforward, the prawn one included corn kernels to make the texture more interesting, but the duck version had a slightly gamey taste.

Dumplings and noodles in lobster soup (HK$128) were served in a bowl big enough for two to share. The dish came with a lobster tail split lengthwise for easier eating, and wasn’t cooked all the way through, giving it a texture similar to sashimi. The dumplings and noodles had melted together in the soup, which had just a hint of lobster bisque taste.

We were excited about the barbecued Peking duck (HK$198 half, HK$398 whole). Maxim’s isfamous for its Peking duck at its Peking Garden restaurants, and we figured this would be just as good. You can watch them preparing the birds downstairs through the large kitchen window. Served with thin warm pancakes, the half portion of duck was served already deboned and sliced, with the usual condiments of sweet plum sauce, sugar, radish, cucumber and spring onions – and something that we haven’t encountered before with this dish – raw lettuce leaves. With tender, juicy meat and crisp skin, this dish was thoroughly enjoyable.

We decided to order a fruity dessert of passion fruit and mango aloe jelly (HK$28). It was light and refreshing after our heavy meal, with the passion fruit adding a bright flavour to the translucent jelly.

The Pond, shop R002-R003, roof level, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, tel: 2258 2278

While you’re in the area:

First impressions of Umami in Hong Kong’s Regal Kowloon: sashimi, sushi and teppanyaki

First impressions of Alzina, Tsim Sha Tsui - Spanish comfort food at its finest

Restaurant review: Chuan Yue Ren Jian in Tsim Sha Tsui – spicy Sichuan