The dinning room
Shop 1201, 12/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2648 2299
Cuisine: modern Shanghainese
Price: about HK$175 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: fresh and modern. Large windows let the sunshine stream into the room, which is decorated in pale wood and has interesting decorative touches such as bicycles and wooden crates.
Pros: prices are reasonable and presentations are attractive.
Cons: most of the food isn't as flavourful as it could be. The cold dish of marinated jellyfish with cucumber (HK$58) and wok-fried rice cakes with shepherd's purse vegetables (HK$58) had hardly any flavour at all. Crab roe xiao long bao (HK$58 for five) had thick wrappers and a too-solid filling. Noodles with soy sauce and scallion oil (HK$30) needed more soy sauce. Braised straw-tied pork belly (HK$68) was far too lean, so the meat was hard, but the thick chunks of mushrooms in the dish were silken and delicious. Hot and sour soup (HK$38) had a layer of chilli oil floating on top, but not much flavour.
Recommended dishes: although the signature pan-fried san cheen bao (pan-fried crispy pork soup buns, HK$38) felt heavy when we picked them up, the wrappers were tender and the filling was moist. Hairy crab cream with silken bean curd (HK$128) was a good version for the price: the bean curd was delicate and smooth, and the crab roe - perked up by a few drops of brown vinegar served on the side - was rich. Deep fried pork chop with dan dan noodles (HK$48) had tender meat, but the noodles - a creamy, peanut-like version - could have used a bit more heat. On the dessert platter (four selections for HK$58), the puddings - jasmine matcha and almond milk - were distinctively flavoured, smooth and delicate, and much better than the too-firm green bean cake and oily crispy rice cake dumpling with sesame and pomelo.
What else? The Dining Room is part of the Xiao Nan Guo group.