New restaurant in Hong Kong: Chifa Dumpling House, Central – Peruvian Chinese fusion fare
We didn’t like every dish, but among the winners were char siu open buns with crunchy, tangy carrot slaw, and suckling pig; the Chifa spicy was the pick of the dumplings, and the service was top quality. No wonder it’s drawing the crowds
If the crowds are anything to go by, Chifa Dumpling House, one of the Pirata group’s newest restaurants, is a hit.
The space at 26 Peel Street has housed a number of restaurants that were far less busy: Chez Patrick, Chicha and most recently, Cochin. Chifa allows a limited number of online reservations, and I was able to get a table for 6.30pm just one day in advance. By the time we left shortly after 8pm, all seats were occupied, and people were by the door waiting for tables.
It should be obvious what Chifa Dumpling House specialises in, but we were more impressed by some of the other dishes.
From Central, Lima, to Central, Hong Kong, one of world’s top 10 chefs on his new Peruvian restaurant Ichu Peru
We couldn’t taste any five spice in the light, delicate batter of the fried chicken with aioli verde (HK$95) but the meat was hot and moist, and we were tempted to order another portion (we resisted).
Because there were four of us, we asked the waitress if she could add one more bun to the serving of three in the char siu open buns (HK$100) and she was happy to comply (the extra one was HK$35). It was one of our favourite dishes – soft bun, tender and moist pork neck, and crunchy, tangy carrot slaw.
The main course of suckling pig with pork jus and black vinegar reduction (HK$180) was another winner, with its juicy meat and delicately crisp skin.
It went very well with veggie chaufa rice (HK$70), which had a lot of crunch from all the different vegetables. Chifa ceviche (HK$140) with octopus, sea bass, avocado and tiger’s milk was disappointingly mild and needed more lime and chilli.
Of the dumplings, our favourite was the Chifa spicy (HK$80); even though it wasn’t spicy, the prawn and chive filling had plenty of flavour and texture.
Truffle potstickers (HK$95) were good for their restraint: the truffle cream was not overwhelming, and the shrimp and cuttlefish filling had a good bouncy texture. Pollo verde with chicken stew, rocoto chilli sauce and watercress (HK$75) were pretty, with pale green wrappers, and although the white meat was dry, the fish roe on top added a nice crunch. We disliked the lomo saltado dumpling with Angus beef and potato (HK$75) because of its heavy, mushy filling.
A word about the service. Our waitress never lost her cool even though the restaurant was busy, and she was patient and very kind to a German child sitting near us; she sat down next to him and tried to show him the correct way to use chopsticks.
Chifa, 26 Peel Street, SoHo, tel: 2311 1815. About HK$230 without drinks. There’s no service charge (so tip accordingly).
While you’re in the area: