Tastes of Sha Tin: diners are spoilt for choice with cosmopolitan fare available in New Territories town
From fashionable French to the preferred cuisine of Chinese poets, from playful Seoul food to international classics, there is something for all preferences
Recently opened, Fauchon is the first outlet in Hong Kong from the famous French gourmet food company, in conjunction with Cafe Deco Group. The restaurant has two distinct areas, one with two-tone wicker furniture, popular for afternoon tea, and a contemporary space featuring bold signature Fauchon colours.
The menu features classics that have been tweaked, yet remain French. One of these is the scallop vol-au-vent - a beautiful dish consisting of a crispy, buttery pastry case, plump scallops cooked perfectly and seasonal vegetables, tied together with a complex shellfish sauce.
Also excellent is sirloin steak with Fauchon fries and Béarnaise sauce, and duck leg confit served on Lyonnaise potatoes. Make sure to leave room for something sweet, such as a macaron, éclair or rich chocolate cake - all on tempting display.
Dragon Inn specialises in Huaiyang cuisine; known for exceptional knife skills and presentation, it is considered one the great traditions of Chinese culinary history. A must-try from the extensive menu is the smoked egg topped with fish roe cooked to perfection. The tea-smoked duck egg contains a quail egg, surrounded by a golden yolk with the creamy texture reminiscent of a slow cooked egg. The pork terrine with vinegar jelly is of note, as is the deep-fried Mandarin fish in sweet and sour sauce. The interior creates a sense of place and history, with some dishes connected to important Chinese poets and scholars - many wrote works about the cuisine or had a direct connection to the origins of a famous dish - such as the unctuous braised pork belly in red wine vinegar that melts in the mouth.
While the Cafe is known for its extensive buffet of tempting international cuisines, the à la carte menu offers a range of dishes that diners return for on a regular basis. One of these is Hainanese chicken rice, a national dish of Singapore, that is done to perfection here. The tender chicken is complemented by the rich fragrant rice with an outstanding and comforting broth. A substantial starter is warm salad of grilled vegetables with a balsamic reduction, and popular choices for mains are pasta and thin-crust, made-to-order pizzas, with grilled Norwegian salmon with a lemon, butter and caper sauce another good option. The large restaurant, with alfresco area, has a welcoming ambience, with floor-to-ceiling windows highlighting the green surrounds.
Contemporary Korean and fusion is on the menu at the playfully named School Food, part of a chain founded in Seoul in 2002. The restaurant attracts a younger clientele and those who want a different take on Korean cuisine. A highlight is the refreshing ice octo-myeon, bouncy, texture-driven noodles rest on a bed of slowly melting frozen stock, finished with a hint of spice, cucumber, radish and octopus. A fusion signature is mixed seafood braised rice in a hot pepper sauce that is a combination of Korean spice paste and cream. Also demonstrating a hint of fusion is the comforting pan grilled beef with butter and pickle bahp, featuring slow cooked beef with a hint of sweetness from the sauce, resting on a mound of rice covered by an egg.
Located on the top floor of the hotel, this rooftop bar is known for its signature cocktails that pay homage to famous racehorses, and international “tapas”, complemented by impressive views of the Tolo Harbour, racecourse and nearby mountains. Oysters are a good way to start, with variety available depending on the best of the season, or alternately Parma ham with pear. Grilled skewers are popular, such as the enoki beef with teriyaki sauce and pork belly with miso aioli. Other options include Thai fish cakes, Vietnamese seafood spring rolls, Spanish garlic shrimp with country bread, English bangers with truffle mustard, juicy beef and cheese mini burgers, and thin-crust pizza with toppings such as prosciutto with rocket. Wine drinkers may find that the assorted cheese board is a perfect match.
Jade Garden is Maxim’s Group’s first Cantonese restaurant brand, and this bustling Sha Tin branch is known for its dim sum, classic and fusion dishes. A top dinner pick is the appetiser trio, featuring deep-fried prawns with mango salad dressing, sautéed prawns with broth, and deep-fried prawns with sweet and sour sauce. Some of the more interesting or unusual chef recommendations include the sizzling honey-glazed barbecued pork, deep fried spare ribs in strawberry sauce, braised oxtail, with chestnuts and red dates in a whisky tomato sauce, and baked seafood and onion stuffed in a sea whelk shell. The menu is extensive so diners are sure to find something to satisfy a Cantonese cuisine craving.
Sushi (and handmade noodles) is the reason for many being attracted to Sushi Hiro, as it is all made to order, with those sitting at the counter having a bird’s-eye view of the chef’s culinary attention to detail and knife skills. Given the cost, the taste and the quality of the raw seafood is ahead of many of its competitors in the neighbourhood. The comprehensive menu features traditional favourites as well as more unexpected dishes, such as Wagyu omelette with hashed beef sauce. The set menus offer excellent value, and popular lunch choices are Nigiri Sushi Gozen and Sushi Hiro Kitchen Gozen - great for the indecisive with eight dishes, all competently prepared and delicious. There is a good range of sake and a Japanese beer on tap. The blonde wood interior and natural light give the space a bright, fresh contemporary ambience.