Restaurant review: Hong Kong Old Restaurant in Central is disappointing
Complaints at Shanghainese restaurant include a dish of shrimps that were off
Price: about HK$280 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the basement space is a bit too bright, and the tables were close together, although the noise level was fine.
Recommended dishes: smoked eggs (HK$52 for two) were a nice starter, with firm whites and soft yolks. The eggs came with crunchy candied walnuts.
Smoked pigeon (HK$130) had well-flavoured meat and crisp skin, although the meat was slightly dry. Tender pieces of mild-tasting eel made the fried shredded eel with yellow chives (HK$148) our favourite dish of the night, and the richness of that dish went very well with the lighter-textured Tientsin cabbage with ham.
Cold chicken in yellow wine sauce (HK$108) was a decent version of the dish.
Pros: the staff let us order a half portion of the fried fresh meat buns.
Cons: I visited Hong Kong Old Restaurant when it was at the Newton Hotel in North Point and liked the food there, but the meal at the new location was very disappointing. There was one dish that shouldn’t have made it out of the kitchen. Stir-fried fresh water shrimp (HK$198) were downright bad – I could smell them from the middle of the table. It’s hard to believe that the chef didn’t notice the smell when he was cooking the dish, or that the waiter didn’t notice when he served them. We should have sent them back immediately, but were curious to see the staff’s reaction – which basically, was nothing. At the end of the meal, another waiter asked if we wanted to box it up for take-away, and upon being told no, took it away without asking if anything was wrong with it. Only after we’d paid the bill did a manager ask if anything was wrong with the dish; she then offered us fruit to compensate (we declined). Braised pig’s leg with vegetables in soya bean sauce (HK$298) looked right – the sauce was brown and glossy, the meat was so tender it wobbled like jelly. But the flavour was bland; it tasted as if the meat and sauce had been cooked separately. The half order of fried fresh meat buns (HK$55 for five) were not juicy enough.
What else? There’s another branch of Hong Kong Old Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui (tel: 2722 1812).
Hong Kong Old Restaurant, Nan Fung Tower, 88 Connaught Road, Central, tel: 2508 1081
Open: 11am-4pm, 6pm-11pm