Restaurant review: Thai Yuen, Wan Chai – knowledgeable staff, prompt service
Fish and pomelo salad and marinated crab the standout selections, but avoid the pork hocks and the sautéed water spinach
Price: about HK$280 without drinks or the service charge
Ambience: strange. It seemed more like a bar than a restaurant, and the seafood counter made us wonder if it had previously been serving Japanese food. There were only two other tables of customers on the night of our visit.
Pros: the food arrived at a good pace, and the server was happy to explain the dishes.
Cons: in addition to the regular menu, there were several laminated menus listing specials and seasonal dishes, which made things confusing. Green curry lamb ribs (HK$158) had good meat, but the mild sauce tasted almost solely of coconut milk. Thai special pork hocks (HK$148) was very dull: the sauce was light in flavour, but heavy on the cornflour. Sautéed water spinach with belacan (HK$88) was tough and stringy.
Recommended dishes: raw marinated tomalley crab (HK$238) had bright flavours, although it should have been marinated longer, which would have improved the texture of the shellfish. The Thai style fish and pomelo salad (HK$218) was well priced. Instead of the fillets we expected, it was a whole fish that had been fried so it was moist and slightly crisp, before being topped with pomelo, cashews and peanuts in a slightly spicy dressing. Thai larb with 1,000-year-old egg (HK$98) was an unusual combination with potential. It was a one-way street: the taste of the larb didn’t improve from the egg, but the egg tasted better because of the flavours from the larb.
What else? Our suspicions that the restaurant had previously served Japanese food proved correct when we received the bill – the receipt still said the name of the previous incarnation, Bubbles Sushi.
Thai Yuen, 3/F The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3746 9999
Open: Monday to Saturday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm