I spent some time in Hong Kong and Macau in the middle of this year and while it was a little while ago now, I wanted to post a brief report as searching this board was helpful when picking venues.
You will probably notice there are quite a few "safe" choices here, this is due to my travelling partner and some dietary preferences and trying to make sure she had a good time as well! There were some great informal meals but will not focus on those for this post.
Lung King Heen - Central:
Overall our lunch at the Cantonese 3 Michelin star restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel was excellent, the setting was lovely with lots of natural light and a view of the harbour, the service started badly but recovered well and the food was outstanding.
Will start with the service where there were a few tiny issues. The first dish to arrive was not something we ordered, the second dish was something we ordered but it was described by the waiter quite differently to the menu so there was more confusion over whether it was ours. Not even close to enough to spoil the mood, but it was surprising for a 3* venue! After these hiccups everything went smoothly.
Favourite dishes were the Steamed Lobster and scallop dumpling which was rich and delicious, Crispy Taro Dumplings were surprisingly great with the contrast of gooey inside and crisp exterior and the Baked Barbecued Pork Buns with Pine Nuts were a (maybe the) highlight of the trip.
Steamed Vegetable Dumplings with Bamboo Pith and the Lung King Heen Roast Chicken were both very good but not standouts.
Braised fresh bamboo piths with fresh crab meat sounded interesting on the menu, and it was interesting, but probably missed the mark a little bit for my taste. The crab was very good, the bamboo pith added texture and the vegetables were cooked well, but I just didn't understand how it all fit together really.
We finished with Baked Cream Custard Puffs that had light crumbly pastry and a delicate cream filling, they were a nice end to the meal.
Cost was HK$1100 all up for two people. I know that some other posters are not fans of this venue, but I came in with some doubt and left extremely pleased.
Man Wah - Central:
We had a very enjoyable meal at the Cantonese restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. This restaurant seemed to be highly recommended here and on various forums/blogs and it was indeed very good. We arrived slightly early and were invited to wait at the bar outside. The bar has a great view of the harbour from the 25th floor and I was happy to find they were serving Krug by the glass (one of the few times I was tempted away from tea on the trip). After our drinks we were escorted to the restaurant and everything was impressively smooth and professional. The dining room itself is wonderfully opulent.
Again there were numerous highlight dishes including the excellent Tiger prawn, bamboo shoot dumplings with translucent and delicate wrapping and great flavour and texture. I also really liked the Conpoy and summer spinach dumplings, the summer spinach was full of flavour and the conpoy was only a background note adding complexity rather than being the focus.
Shanghainese soup dumpling, minced pork and hairy crab mousse - Liked the presentation of this with its own basket and tray. I liked the richness of the soup component, though I couldn't really taste the crab over the pork with the rest. Barbecued pork belly was delicious with perfectly crispy skin and the Crispy Ka Mei chicken carved tableside and with bones removed was one of the better crispy chicken dishes on the trip.
Chicken spring rolls were fine, but not especially memorable and the Deep fried crab claw with minced shrimp was one of the weaker dishes, it was acceptable but I'd order something else next time.
The Toffee apples for dessert were great bites which had that crunchy-chewy contrasting outer layer from the glaze and batter, with some freshness from the apple inside. Double boiled pear, chun bei, tangerine tea was the final dish - The pear was great, offering little resistance when cut but not being mushy. The tangerine tea was an interesting combination that I think worked very well.
Excluding the pre-lunch drinks it was HK$1350.
Overall I was impressed and would be very happy to go back. The elevated rating of 1* Michelin is well deserved based on this single visit.
yè shanghai - Tsim Sha Tsui:
It was full when we arrived towards the end of lunch but they found us a table after 10 minutes at the bar. Service was efficient and impersonal.
The food for the most part was good, with a few blips;
Favourite dishes were the Sautéed minced chicken with pine nuts and sesame pastry pockets, a signature dish where I loved the chicken with garlic and onion and flaky pasty as well as the shredded chicken with chilli oil which had a great balance of spice and savoury elements.
The Pork dumplings and black truffle were good as well but I'm sceptical about how much the miniscule touch of truffle adds to the dish. Also in the middle were the Shanghainese Spring rolls which were simple but executed well.
The weakest dish was the Camphor smoked duck. The duck was dry and tough and was really not up to standard.
Cost was $500 HKD for quite a bit of food for two people.
I note that ye shanghai was elevated to 2* in the latest Michelin guide. It was very good but I didn't really think it was at that level when I visited.
Under Bridge Spicy Crab - Wan Chai:
Singapore Chilli Crab is one of my favourite foods, so I was looking forward to trying this as a totally different take on a spicy crab dish. No English was spoken by our waiter but it was no problem as he was very patient with us.
we ordered two dishes to start. The lemon chicken was terrible, overpowered by harsh lemon flavour. The deep fried fish and corn wasn't what we were expecting based on the menu description, but was actually reasonably tasty, though a few spoonfuls were enough as it got a bit heavy.
The crab dish was definitely the star, good quality, fresh crab under a pile of garlic, chilli and scallions - the topping was tasty on it's own and combined with the crab it was excellent (and surprisingly the topping wasn't too overpowering). There are 5 spice levels that can be ordered, we ordered the medium spicy level (3) and it was a good balance at that point for my taste.
Cost was about HK$500 excluding drinks.
I would go back either just for the crab or after having done more research on better side dishes to order.
Ming Court - Mongkok:
We had an excellent meal at this 2 Michelin star restaurant in the Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok. The experience was a mix of great good and friendly but professional service.
Star dishes were the Roasted crispy pork with five spices, probably the equal best version of this dish on the trip along with Tin Lung Heen. Sliced spotted garoupa two ways was great, the deep-fried sweet and sour side showed great flavour balance and the mushroom side had bolder, earthier flavours. The Crispy Chicken and lotus root "chips” were also excellent and I thought ahead of Lung King Heen and Tin Lung Heen, and just a touch behind Man Wah.
Shredded Chicken in spicy sauce was very good, there was a nice level of spice giving the dish a kick but not overpowering the other flavours and I liked the textural elements of the vegetables. The Shark fin crystal extravagance dessert had spectacular presentation but was perhaps a bit gimmicky; I'm dubious that the shark fin added anything to raise the level of the dish in flavour or texture.
Deep Fried Crab Shell with crab meat was acceptable but also the weakest dish of the evening. It was lacking a bit in both flavour and complexity.
Cost was HK$935 excluding drinks.
Hopefully I will get to return here in the not too distant future.
Caprice - Central:
This meal was exceptional from start to finish. The setting, service and food were all world class.
Without doubt the service was some of the best I've ever encountered. Professional but charming as well, nothing was too much trouble and everything ran seamlessly. While choosing dessert my partner was struggling to decide between two options and asked the waiter for an opinion, she ended up choosing one but when the dessert came the waiter brought her both with the second compliments of the house as he wanted to make sure she got to try both! Personal menus including wine selections were presented at the end of the meal which I know is not totally uncommon, but it did contrast with Robuchon a Galera in Macau who simply handed us a copy of the menu from the day with all the dishes including the ones we didn't select on it.
I'll just write about my dishes here, but of the little I got to taste of the others they were of similarly high quality.
Shellfish Consommé with Ginger Aroma, Lobster Carpaccio and Crispy Palamos Prawn - The consommé was simply presented, but the lobster on the side draws attention with vivid red and green herbs contrasting against the Carpaccio. The intensity of the consommé was wonderful, being played off against the freshness of the Carpaccio and prawn.
French rib-eye beef with gratin dauphinois and wild mushroom pastry in merlot sauce - Excellent quality beef, loved the presentation of a little line of mushrooms along the side of the plate. The mushroom pastry was outrageously good, a rich and creamy sauce with earthy mushrooms and crisp pastry. Not innovative but simply great.
Wild Strawberries with Lavender Blossom, Crispy Almonds and Malaga Sorbet - Beautifully presented - there are only a few different elements visible but the shape and angles are very well thought out, then cracking open the cylinder your eyes are drawn to reveals another set of layers. The flavours matched the presentation, I love wild strawberries and these tiny bites were delicious, along with the other flavours that were complimentary to the main strawberry theme.
I don't quite remember the bill break down, but I think it was in the region of HK$1000 for three courses and plenty of small extras. I ordered some reasonably costly wines which added to the bill but I could easily have been more restrained if cost was an issue.
Tin Lung Heen & Chocolate Library - Tsim Sha Tsui:
The final night of our time in Hong Kong was at the newly opened Ritz Carlton. Tin Lung Heen was not full on the night we were there but I understand it is now exceptionally busy, especially for lunch. The view from Tin Lung Heen is very impressive, although it is out to the North-West of the building and not towards the city, the view from the Chocolate Library is to the East and there is more to look at.
The service was very mixed. It was obvious that they were trying hard but a number of requests were lost somewhere between the table and the recipient, so we had to ask for various items multiple times, a request to view the wine list was made twice and it failed to appear at all. A request at the start of the meal to have dessert at the Chocolate Library (we had emailed some months prior and were told that tables were on a "first come, first served" basis and to just ask on the night) seemed to cause some panic among the staff to work out how to handle it, this was sorted out in the end and we were personally guided and handed over but it just seemed like the level of service they are aiming for wasn't quite in place yet. Perhaps a more recent visitor can comment on if this has improved.
The food on the other hand was top-notch. A sweet turnip appetiser was a perfect first bite. The Deep fried scallops with mango dip combines two of my favourite things, so I was very partial to it to begin with but the scallops were cooked just right and the mango dip gave the dish a lift with some sweetness providing a foil for the (light) deep fried coating. Pan fried lotus root stuffed with fresh crab meat was brilliant and the Crispy roasted pork belly pushed very hard for top spot of this dish among some extremely good competition.
Live crab with salt and chilli, wok fried in soy sauce was another wonderful dish. The quality of the crab shone and the other flavours played perfect support roles. This was an expensive dish but it was worth it.
Chilled shredded chicken with green onion and chilli oil was a good dish, the green onion gave the dish some texture, it just didn't have as much of a kick from the chilli as expected so was a little bit one-dimensional. Deep fried crispy chicken was good as well but wasn't quite up to the standard of Ming Court and Man Wah so suffered in direct comparison.
We then had dessert at the Chocolate Library, we were the only patrons there so we had our pick of tables.
Chocolate soufflé with raspberry coulis and chocolate petit fours was the better of the two dishes. This was a classic combination of flavours that was executed well and certainly passed the “deliciousness test”.
Chocolate fondue with marshmallow, brownie, brioche and chocolate pasta was straight forward except for the chocolate pasta which wasn't that good anyway. The other items were fine and it's hard to dislike something dipped in decent quality chocolate.
Overall the lacklustre service was made up for by outstanding food. The bill was HK$1000 at Tin Lung Heen with a large portion of that being the Live crab dish. The bill at the Chocolate Library was HK$330 including coffee and a hot chocolate.
So there you go! I might get around to writing up a few Singapore and Macau places from the trip as well before too long.