Food review: King's Choice
2/F Kuo Wah Building, 340-342 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 3974 5331
Open: Monday-Friday 11am-3pm, nightly 6pm-11pm
Price: about HK$300 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the entrance to the restaurant can be off-putting - it didn't look like much and we almost left. But the interior was spacious - and empty. We were the only diners in the main room; but a couple came in when we were halfway through our meal and sat in the smaller dining area.
Pros: the service. Our waiter was very helpful and tried to work within the difficult parameters he was given.
Cons: when I called to book the table, I asked if there was anything that had to be pre-ordered and was told it wasn't necessary, perhaps this was because I called so late (around 5pm). In fact, I should have pre-ordered everything. We couldn't have much of the menu as most of the seafood needed to be ordered in advance; all they could offer us were frozen prawns. The vegetarian snails (HK$58) looked like the real thing, had the right texture but were bland. We had the same complaint about the rice vermicelli with scallops and osmanthus (HK$168).
Recommended dishes: the home-made tofu with mushrooms (HK$138) sounds dull, but it was delicious and comforting with really excellent, silken-textured bean curd. The beef with Cointreau (HK$168) had very tender meat that was stir-fried with bell peppers and snow peas, but we couldn't taste the Cointreau. The special pork forearm (HK$168) was marinated, baked and deep-fried, making the meat (which looked as if it had been cured) tender and the skin crunchy. A dish of sze gwa (Chinese okra) with tomatoes was simple and the two main ingredients worked well with each other - the distinctive texture and somewhat bland taste of the okra was enhanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes.
What else? King's Choice is actually a si fong choi (private kitchen) and reservations are required. You should pre-order dishes at that time. The building entrance is in a small alley between Hennessy Road and Wan Chai Road.