Restaurant review: Moon Palace in Sheung Wan – not your typical modern Chinese restaurant
Delicious seafood, tea-smoked duck, dumplings and attentive service make this place a surprise treat
There’s no way you would mistake Moon Palace for a modern Chinese restaurant. It’s too brightly lit, it’s tucked away in an isolated area of Shun Tak Centre (we had to call for directions), the cloth napkins are shiny and slithery, rather than absorbent. One of my guests commented that it felt like we had gone across the border and back in time about 20 years.
Which made the meal a pleasant surprise.
Our waitress hovered over us as a friend and I discussed what to order, which was annoying at first, but then she started making recommendations, which turned out to be good ones. She recommended the mapo tofu with abalone (HK$88), which was delicious, with just the right balance of spice and Sichuan peppercorns, the strong flavours tempered by the smooth blandness of the bean curd and small cubes of fresh abalone.
She also encouraged us to order the fresh fish from the tank (market price; ours was HK$418) with hot chilli broth (there were other broths on offer). The fish had been fried first, then placed in a large pan that held a broth that was light and unoily, flavoured with Chinese celery, fresh coriander, onion, red peppers and chillies.
Chengdu tea-smoked duck (HK$188) was excellent, with moist meat that wasn’t too smoky, and a dipping salt seasoned with ground chilli and Sichuan peppercorns.
Xiao long bao (HK$48 for four) had thin wrappers, a mild, porky filling, and lots of soup inside. The pan-fried pork dumplings (HK$52 for four) needed more soup, but the yeast wrapper was light and delicate.
Preserved egg with pork floss and bean curd (HK$78) was terrible. The bean curd was coarse, rather than silky, the egg was slightly rubbery with a too-firm yolk, and the dish tasted as if it had been seasoned with oyster sauce, which is too thick and heavy. The seasonal squash sprouts with garlic (HK$88) were overcooked and had too much garlic.
Moon Palace, Shop 3017, 3/F Shun Tak Centre, 168-200 Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan, tel: 2111 4558. About HK$260 without drinks or the service charge.