New restaurants in Hong Kong: Shè in Central – hit-and-miss contemporary Chinese with a harbour view
- The crispy Bombay duck fish with salt and pepper was delicious, but the Iberico char siu and pan-fried jumbo prawns left a lot to be desired
- The restaurant is in an odd location – inside Lane Crawford’s store in the IFC Mall – but offers great views of Victoria Harbour
It seems natural that most people in Hong Kong would associate the Gaia restaurant group with Italian food. The group started almost 30 years ago with Va Bene, which occupied a prime corner spot in Lan Kwai Fong before an enormous rent hike sent them searching for a new location.
Va Bene moved to another space in Lan Kwai Fong, then to Sheung Wan in 2016, where the restaurant died a quick death.
The group still has Italian restaurants – Gaia, Isola and Joia – but has branched out, opening Greyhound Cafe in Bangkok and launching several Chinese establishments; among the newest is Shè, which serves contemporary Chinese fare.
Shè is in a rather strange location – inside the Lane Crawford shop in Central’s IFC Mall, and offers a good view of Victoria Harbour.
Silken eggplant tofu (HK$78) wasn’t tofu made of eggplant, but instead was silken tofu laid over pieces of skinned eggplant. With a light, slightly tart dressing, the dish was a refreshing start to the meal.
Drunken chicken mid-wings (HK$148) was expensive for three wings (mid-joint and tip), and they were difficult to eat. But the sauce was well-balanced.
We thoroughly enjoyed the crisp Bombay duck fish with salt and pepper (HK$88). The fish was soft and delicate, with a thin coating.
From the barbecue section, we had honey-glazed Iberico char siu (HK$198). We liked the flavour, but the meat wasn’t as tender and succulent as other Iberico char siu we’ve tasted.
Steamed pork patty with abalone (HK$228) had a texture that was too bouncy – it was more like Chinese pork balls.
They really need to change the name of pan-fried jumbo prawns (HK$238). We were so confused by the dish of prawns, egg and tomato that we asked three different staff members if it was correct.
We were assured each time that they had served us the correct dish. It was more like Singapore chilli crab, but made with prawns that seemed at least a few sizes down from “jumbo”.
Our meal was redeemed with our last two dishes. Stir-fried string beans with spotted shrimp was excellent. The string beans were crisp and sweet, the dried shrimp were small and had a delicate crunch.
Fish maw braised noodles in abalone reduction was delicious, and well-priced at HK$298. The egg noodles and the large, thick piece of tender fish maw were coated in a rich, sticky, intensely flavoured sauce.
Shè, Shop 3025-3026 and 3031-3066, Level 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 2110 0153. About HK$700 per person without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in Central ...