Old Bailey does justice

A new restaurant has opened its doors in a former bastion of the law. The verdict: drinks and mains are a delight, but desserts may be less than just

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 2:02pm

OLD BAILEY RESTAURANT

22 Old Bailey Street, Central

2877 8711

Old Bailey is the latest jewel in the JIA Group’s crown, and it is set to shine. Situated in the JC Contemporary building in Tai Kwun, Hong Kong’s anticipated revitalisation project, the restaurant serves up Jiangnan cuisine amid chic interiors by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron.

We start with a Longjing tea-smoked pigeon (HK$188). The presentation in a copper birdcage glass cover is dramatic, and it is delicious when you bite into the succulent meat, with its fragrant and crispy skin.

Next up is the wok-fried mud crab with Ningbo rice cakes (market price). The shellfish is thick, meaty and full of flavour, but the best part is the rice cakes that have absorbed the huadiao jiu wine and the chef’s special bean sauce as well as the crab.

We anchor our meal with hairy crab and scallion oil noodles (HK$138) and love the aromas of the dish. We used vinegar to reduce the richness of the fat, which makes the dish appetising instead of heavy, so we finish every bite.

We opt for eight-treasure rice (HK$88) to end on a sweet note, but the glutinous-rice dessert switches the usual lotus seeds and dates with what seems like candied fruit that includes mango, kiwi and peach. The bite of kiwi with the sweet rice is too tart. Sadly, the osmanthus syrup doesn’t abate the savage sourness in some bites.

We are bowled over by the drinks and the mains. Next time we’ll make smarter choices with the sweet.