Restaurant review: Loyal Dining, Wan Chai – delicious nostalgia trip if you like Western food cooked Hong Kong style
Some will find this fusion fare odd, others will lap it up. A menu full of familiar favourites made it hard to choose what to eat; chicken wings slow-cooked in sweet soy sauce stood out, as did the special thick toast for dessert
Loyal Dining in Wan Chai serves Hong Kong-style Western food – something you will find very odd, or very delicious, depending on your perspective.
For three of us – two from Hong Kong, one an ABC (American-born Chinese) – the menu had so many familiar favourites that we were tempted to order far more than we could eat.
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It’s an odd space, with a large bar on the ground floor level, and a karaoke area sharing the first floor with the restaurant. The servers were friendly and attentive, refilling our glasses with warm water, talking knowledgeably about the menu, and attempting to change our plates after almost every dish (we stopped them because it wasn’t always necessary).
We visited soon after the recent typhoon signal had been lowered to three, and there was only one other table of diners.
The deep-fried prawn toast (HK$68) was very good, and had a sufficient amount of prawns on crisp, oily (in a good way) fried bread. Crispy pigeon (HK$98) had moist meat and a deep, gamy flavour that we enhanced with a sprinkling of the seasoned salt.
Even better were the chicken wings in home-made sweet soy sauce (six for HK$88). The wings had been simmered for a long time in the sauce, making them very tender, with a savoury-sticky coating.
Laksa with seafood (HK$88) came with two types of noodles: rice vermicelli and yellow noodles. It was a good, hearty bowl with a broth that was less coconutty than usual, which made it lighter. There was a nice selection of ingredients in addition to the noodles: prawns, roe-on scallops, bean curd puffs and bean sprouts.
Baked crab shell (HK$128 each) was disappointing: there was too much onion and cheese, which overwhelmed the more subtle flavour of the crab.
Another speciality – deep-fried fish fingers in sweet corn sauce (HK$138) – had fish that was too hard, and a sauce that was too thick.
For dessert, we ordered the special thick toast (HK$38). One slice was spread with preserved bean curd and caster sugar, the other with peanut butter and condensed milk. Although the bread was a little too thick and the crust was dry, we loved the familiar flavours that took us back to childhood.
Odd? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely yes.
Loyal Dining, 5 Tonnochy Road, Wan Chai, 3125 3000. About HK$215 without drinks or the service charge
Other Wan Chai restaurants we’ve tried recently