G/F, 68 Peel Street, Central. Tel: 2869 6927 Open: 6.30pm-11.30pm The original version of this northern Chinese restaurant, on Graham Street in Central, proved so popular the owners opened a second branch nearby on Peel Street. Even from the outside it's obvious thought and intelligence went into the decor. Both places have rough-hewn doors that open to interiors filled with stylish, retro-Chinese country furnishings elevated by small touches such as silver and wooden chopsticks, beautiful clay teapots and the scent of essential oils. The Peel Street branch is larger and less cosy, but the service at both is excellent. From the cloth-bound, hand-written menu we ordered shrimp and crab flakes hot and spicy style ($98), crispy mutton Beijing style ($128), hot and spicy frogs legs with chilli ($138), fried beans with salted-egg sauce ($78) and vegetarian dumplings Sichuan style ($78). The dishes came one at a time at a leisurely pace. The first to arrive was the cold dish of shrimp and crab flakes, which was mouth-wateringly spicy. The large mound of shrimps and roe-filled crab shells were sprinkled with finely minced bird's-eye chillies, but the spiciness was balanced by the cilantro sprigs, sliced onions and slightly sharp dressing. We enjoyed the crispy mutton. The meat - most likely from the ribs - had been cooked first so the fat rendered out, then boned and pressed flat before frying. The final result was crisp, oily and meaty. The fried beans with salted-egg sauce looked more like a flat omelette filled to overflowing with sliced long beans. The scrambled eggs, studded with tasty bits of salted-egg yolk, were rich and delicious and the beans al dente. Less successful were the vegetarian dumplings, which had wrappings that were too thick and covered in an unremarkable sauce. At the Graham Street restaurant, we'd previously eaten and enjoyed a dish of fried frog covered in a heap of Sichuan chillies, so we thought our order of frog would be the same. Unfortunately, we were mistaken. The tough, overcooked frog was served in a spicy sauce of chillies and onions. A meal for three, with fragrant lychee tea and two soft drinks, cost $700.