Restaurant review: Hainan Season, Causeway Bay – cool hotpots for a summer’s day
Young coconut produces light, sweet soup bases instead of the usual oily and heavy broths. Tender, smooth handmade fishballs and cuttlefish balls and well-stuffed shrimp dumplings complete the dishes
It seems a bit odd to eat hotpot in the middle of a heatwave, but Hainan Season serves something different: rather than offering heavy, oily soup bases such as tom yum or mala, which taste better when it’s cold outside, all of their broths are based on young coconut. Also known as coconut water, the broth, which had pieces of coconut meat floating in it, is clear and light, with a very mild sweet taste. We had the signature young coconut soup (HK$68) in which we simmered half a chicken (HK$138) to add flavour and enrich the broth. The hotpot is served with soy sauce dipping sauce that you can flavour with calamansi, chopped galangal, garlic and red bird’s-eye chillies.
Signature shrimp dumplings (HK$98) were well stuffed and had thin skins. Handmade cuttlefish balls (HK$88) were delicious – the texture was a lot lighter and less bouncy than commercial versions. We also enjoyed the handmade fish cake and fish balls (HK$78) – both of them were tender and smooth.
Deep-fried bean curd sheets (HK$58) and deep-fried fish skin (HK$58) needed only a quick dip in the broth to soften them slightly while still retaining their crunch. Mild bamboo fungus (HK$58) and angled luffa (HK$58) really soaked up the flavour of the broth. We finished the meal with rice vermicelli (HK$58) and drank the broth, which by now had plenty of flavour from all the other ingredients.
The restaurant is nicely and tastefully decorated, but the lighting fixtures along the pathway in our area of the large space were so low that we had to duck under them.
Hainan Season, 14/F, Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 3523 1368. About HK$200 without drinks or the service charge.