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Reports on Hong Kong dining

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#781 prasantrin

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:59 PM

At West Villa you have to order from a sheet. At least it was like that when I was last there (I went to the one at Tai Koo). No carts or anything like that. But I'd be surprised if they stopped doing dim sum at lunch.

#782 hzrt8w

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:49 PM

Lunch today at West Villa in Central. To our surprise, no dim sum, but they did do Cha Siu, which was great,

Sorry I didn't know they serve different items at different locations. Thought they would do dim sum at Central also. I too went to only the one at Tai Koo.

then to Cheung Chau and seafood for early dinner.

I think eating at Cheung Chau... better to pick your live seafood from the tanks. We dined at one of those restaurants one time and took the "packaged meal" for two persons. They gave us the small size ingredients for all dishes (e.g. manis shrimp, razor clams, fish, abalone, etc..). Economical... but we just got what we paid for (or didn't paid for...)! :)

Lantau the day after during the day, and then at night? Any suggestions?

If you are going to be coming back from Tung Chung... I would suggest to go to that:

Golden Shanghai Restaurant (金滬庭京川滬菜館) -

They are inside the Citigate Plaza. From the street level, need to go up the escalator to the 1/F or 2/F, then walk the pedestrian overpass (all inside the mall) to the other side. They serve Sichuan and Shanghai styles dishes, which I think are very good.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#783 KennethT

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 09:13 AM

So, an update on West Villa. The restaurant in Tai Koo is definitely different than the one in Central. Both under the West Villa Group umbrella, but distinct and separate restaurants. Over the last week, the concierge at our hotel became quite friendly with us as they were constantly impressed by our restaurant selections (thanks everyone!). When I was talking to them about West Villa in Tai Koo - they recommended that they make a reservation for us for lunch (even though we were going straight there) as they said it was mostly locals, and tourists without a reservation are usually turned away. So, we hop on the MTR and head to Tai Koo - easy enough, and we are inside the mall - but the problem is, WHERE IS WEST VILLA!?!?! I have never seen such a large mall with no directory! And asking several shopkeepers didn't help because no one had heard of it! We wandered around the mall for a half hour before I got fed up and called our concierge for help. So, if anyone wants the specific info, it's on the 2nd floor, shop #208. It's upstairs and around the corner from the indoor ice-skating rink.

Surely enough, when we got there (now a little after 1PM), we saw quite a few people being turned away, even though there were a couple empty tables by that time. But even though we were a half hour late for our reservation, they took us with no problems. They also seated a few other tables with reservations, and a couple of groups that were obviously regulars.

With all that said, wow, am I glad we went there! By the time we got there, they were out of a few things (the baked cha siu buns for instance), but our waitress made a couple of excellent suggestions - one being the small fried fish fillets, and the other being the fried rib pieces. Both excellent. As stated above, the cha siu bao here were the best we had all week. Not to say others weren't close 2nds, but this one was definitely tops. Their har gau were amazing also. And, we thought their glutinous rice balls with black sesame filling were the best we had anywhere. Too many others to mention....

I will restate that while the West Villa in Central doesnt' serve dim sum - they're Cantonese, with a specialty of seafood, it was a fantastic meal and I would place it near the top of our list for another revisit. While expensive, they did a lobster dish that I've been thinking about for days. Just the texture of it would have made it worthwhile. But they also did a fantastic cha siu and steamed fish. We also had a vegetable dish of nettles in a clay pot that was great - I think they put some fermented shrimp or something in there. And they had excellent service to boot.

Also wanted to comment on the Cheung Chau details. W.K - you are completely right. We went to one of the guys with the tanks, and we ordered by pointing out what we wanted - but even still, we were very disappointed with it. I ordered the mantis shrimp because we hadn't had an opportunity to try it yet, but they were so small - they had very little flavor, and were definitely overcooked. (Maybe it's not mantis shrimp season? Is there a mantis shrimp season?) We also ordered a pretty big crab, (not Singapore chili crab size, but still not tiny) but there was such little crab meat for the effort required, it hardly seemed worth it. And our steamed fish was ok, but definitely not even close to what we had at Yum Kee or West Villa (Central). Here it was slightly overcooked, and had a rather unpleasant "dirty" flavor, for lack of a better word. I don't know what that fish had been eating, but it wasn't tasty. We left unsatisfied, and by the time we got back to the hotel, we were hot, sweaty and hungry - but it was already almost 9PM. So, we decided to go the Thai restaurant in the hotel (Island Shangri-La) located on the pool deck. Well - what a serendipitous moment that was! This was the best Thai food we have had outside of Thailand - heads and tails better than anywhere in NYC - even the supposed "best places" like Sripriphai. Then again, we have'nt been to any other Thai places outside of Thailand and NYC, and a lackluster example in Reims a long time ago, so that's not really saying that much. But it had a very pleasant atmosphere sitting outside in the shadow of the great HK architecture, in a nice tropical garden with a cooling breeze that definitely resurrected what was surely a disappointing evening. Of course, it goes without saying that the Thai restaurant had hotel prices, but we felt it was worth it for the quality. We didn't order that much - a Som Tum (freshly made - still crunchy), spring roll - not greasy at all, and chicken green curry - thick with coconut cream and great flavor. And of course, a mango with sticky rice.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions. This thread made our trip one of the best I can remember, and that's saying a lot!

#784 hzrt8w

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 01:56 AM

- but the problem is, WHERE IS WEST VILLA!?!?!

Ah... sorry... didn't think of that. Should have said "Ice Rink, Ice Rink"... :)

Indeed that's a big mall. I did see this West Villa was filled mostly by locals. When I was there I saw about 2 to 3 tables of non-Chinese patrons. But they were all accompanied by some Chinese. Business entertainment it seemed.

Cheung Chau - there are 3 to 4 restaurants working the same format near the main pier. I don't know which is better than the other. Comparing Sai Kung and Cheung Chau, I do think the seafood in Sai Kung is better. My last trip, my "live seafood" feast was at Po Toi O. My friend's treat. It was very good. He said that eating at Po Toi O is about the same as at Sai Kung, but price being much lower. Something like 40% lower. It is hard to get to Po Toi O without a car. Taxi is okay, for sure... but that makes it a really expensive meal...
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#785 eternal

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 11:49 AM

We have one night in Hong Kong. Arriving at 5:20pm with only carry-ons (hopefully) and have to leave the next day on a 2pm flight. I was thinking of staying in Kowloon because I remember there being a lot of places to eat there but this topic makes me want to stay further south so I can go to West Villa. It's going to be a short stay so I don't want to be traveling all over the city on this friday night. Would love recommendations. So far West Villa and Wing Lai Yuen seem the most interesting to me. Love Sichuan food and after two weeks in tibet, we're really going to be craving some flavor and spice!

Should we just book a place near West Villa and then search for sichuan the next morning for lunch before heading to the airport?

#786 threestars

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 11:29 PM

I will visit Hong Kong this coming October and this thread seems like a good guide to read. Thanks for the suggestions! :)

#787 eternal

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:57 AM

On my trip to Hong Kong, we stopped at Tim's Kitchen and I have to say it was totally boring and perhaps bland. It was like a european kitchen preparing Cantonese food. Everything was cooked right but it was totally boring. I wouldn't go back. It has two michelin stars but I think this is because it is rated by Euros and it probably gets one for just having a nice, euro style dining room with euro-style service.

#788 threestars

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 02:29 AM

Well thanks for that tip. I'm still looking for some places to dine in the area. I will also visit Macau for a few days so I'm also looking for good places to dine there. :)

#789 Bu Pun Su

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 04:51 AM

A Chinese restaurant receiving the highest award is unheard of before until Michelin gave Lung King Heen (LKH) 3-star a few years ago. Sure, a restaurant can receive any top honors by zagat, local newspapers or event restaurant magazine, but for any chefs nothing seems to beat the joy upon hearing the red-guide top rating. Is it truly a 3-star in the sense that LKH deserves to stands tall together many European institutions?

Food (and wine) - 90/100

Chinese restaurants are generally better for sharing though recently many places also serve the dishes on individual plates. We visited LKH for lunch as we want to try its dim sum too, especially if you’re in HK – “dian xin” is a must-have. Some of my favorite dim sum dishes would be = baked abalone with diced chicken: fresh and big chunk of abalone with brown sauce serve on warm puffs; baked bbq pork: the bun mixed well of soft and crispy part with tasty pork inside. This was even better than the regular “cha shao bao”

Many people crave for the steamed lobster and scallop dumplings, it’s quite good and luxurious but not wow. The “xiao long bao” was above average, while the baked seafood tartlets are alright and not cloying. For the normal items, we had bbq suckling pick (crispy and sweet) … I like it better with thin layers of fat actually instead of a thin bun. If you’re serious about suckling pig, my favorite will be at Kimberly Chinese restaurant – my wife and I ordered the whole pig only for the two of us  A mixture of roast & baked chicken with sesame was a nice traditional Cantonese food – possibly the best I’ve tasted (Tim’s kitchen come close 2nd). The pan-fried scallops and sea food fried rice were nice to have, but not extraordinary.

Again for the desserts, we went safe – chilled mango & sago cream + chilled tofu custard. They’re, again, above average but you can get similar dishes in many other Chinese restaurants. We didn’t try LKH’s famous peking duck since we got the idea that it’s better to eat peking duck at Peking restaurants, Sha Tin 18 or Spring Deer. Like many other Chinese places, the items in the LKH’s menus are abundant but mostly are familiar and the same with many other Chinese restaurants. While in general, they’re good and above average, I was not convinced that it deserves a 3-star. Will the shark’s fin or abalone justify the highest accolade? I’m not sure since I’ve tasted the usual double-boiled shark’s fin & abalone with special brown sauce anywhere (e.g. Hua Ting Singapore, Sun Tung Lok) – chances are that they would not taste much different here. A positive aspect was that during my lunch, chef Chan Yantak was not in the kitchen, but the dishes served were generally good.

In conclusion, I gave my food here 90/100 (2*). I like this place better than Tang’s court, Lei garden or Xiyan, but still it lacks 3-star wow effects (consistent dishes that are delicious and perfectly prepared as well as unique).

Service (and ambiance) - 91/100

I couldn’t remember something special about the service here. It’s a standard and professional service like in many other high-end Chinese restaurants: polite, they will re-fill your tea (they missed 1-2 times), friendly but not much in terms of personality/character and product knowledge (they memorize the dishes ingredients, but did not seem to be excited when explaining them). Again, you will receive different kind of hospitality when you dined at the neighbor Caprice, especially if Jeremy Evrard often coming to your table. Again, nothing wrong in the service, but it’s pretty inferior compared to other 3-star restaurants I’ve visited.

He décor here was quite pleasant with silver-leaf ceilings, dark hard woods and some floral arrangements. As expected in many HK fine dining places, you will see HK impressive harbour views. Chinese restaurant table setting and chairs are usually not as convenient as the western restaurants. I enjoyed the views better when sitting at Caprice’s sofa-like chairs or Spoon/Pierre. By and large, LKH is a nice restaurant serving authentic contemporary Cantonese cuisine. If you don’t order any Chinese luxurious ingredients, the pricing is very reasonable compared to other 3-star places. Will I return? Of course. Is a 3-star place? Not for my standard

Pictures: LKH dishes

#790 Bu Pun Su

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:13 AM

When Lung King Heen (LKH got its 3-star Michelin, many people not only in HK but also across the globe began to discuss and question the restaurant’s credibility as well as Chef’s capability whether they deserve the red book’s highest accolade. While the debate was still going on, many were surprised when Sun Tung Lok (STL), out of nowhere, became the 2nd restaurant serving Chinese cuisine to receive the world’s most prestigious award for a restaurant. Does STL deserve its merit?

Food (and wine) – 92/100

Since I visited alone to STL this time (early 2011), I supposed the most efficient way to dine here would be trying its degustation menu. There were several different tasting menus, varied from about HKD 1000 to more than HKD 5000. Generally, Chinese restaurants would serve more than 100 items daily on the menu. It will be impossible to expect any dish we pick to be of 3-star level unfortunately. It’s been a while that I have not savored Chinese delicacies, and since STL is very famous for abalone, bird’s nest etc. plus it’s in HK, I believe this should be the right place to do so.

Among the standard/classic preparations of Chinese luxury ingredients, here is what I had =
- Braised shark's fin in superior soup (let’s put aside the ‘shark’s finning’ controversy for a moment) - The tasty 'soup' consisted of chicken broth and Yunnan ham. I liked my 'stock' not too intense. The shark's fin was kept whole and served in generous portion with nice texture. It's never about being delicious here
- Crown brand Yoshihama dried abalone served with shark's skin - The abalone was fresh and firm, the sauce around it was quite good. The tasteless shark's skin has a jelly-like texture (contrast to the abalone). Actually, outside the abalone, the rests were unnecessary
- Double boiled bird's nest with almond and coconut crème (dessert) - Really delicious. The almond cream was of high quality, the coconut added fragrant smell, the bird's nest was soft in texture ... The soup had a nice hint of sweetness, my favorite dish!

Some other dishes that were quite good are: braised prime rib (tender and the meat fell of the bone easily, but the sauce was too sweet) and sauteed live prawns (it would be nicer if the prawn was ‘firmer’ and the spicy sauce was not spicy enough). The cold dish appetizer and baked spaghetti were pretty much forgettable. The tea selection was not as wide as the one at LKH. I had tie guan yin and didn’t usually drink wine eating at Chinese restaurants. Based on this visit alone, I like STL slightly better than LKH. I gave 92/100 (low 2 ¼*) for the food rating – no comments for its dim sum. I might do LKH some injustice since I did not order shark’s fin, abalone or live sea food when eating there (meaning I may have not tried LKH’s best items)

Service (and ambiance) – 93/100

I experienced a slightly better service at STL compared to LKH. The staffs were courteous, professional and attentive though rather impersonal. The wet towel was replaced regularly; my tea cup was always filled. At least one waiter was always nearby my seating booth. Sometimes, I felt that I was being watched 

The dining room was nicely decorated with big tables and comfortable chairs. It’s also very spacious (may not be very common in Chinese restaurants). However, it lacked any beautiful views of HK’s harbor. When I came, it’s rather quiet. After 1 hour plus, the restaurant was about 80% full. I noticed that 10% or fewer of the guests were tourists (there were a few Caucasians and African Americans, but they’re accompanied by locals), mostly the patronage was locals. As a whole, I think Chef Joe Chan was doing a decent job. STL’s shark’s fin soup and abalone will always follow its 30 plus years of experience and preparation – safe choice, one will either like it or hate it. I think the chef also needs to be bolder to try more contemporary Cantonese cuisine with some twists. It’s shown a few in it’s a la carte menu. Overall, I was satisfied with my meal here, but it’s not a 3-star meal in my notes – 92 pts, still worth 2 ¼*.

Pictures of the dishes: STL dishes

#791 threestars

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 12:12 AM

Had a couple of restaurants that I visited but didn't remember the name. Food is good but some of their services are slow. Some are all good. Specially the one that I dined in Kowloon Bay. :) Will post pic when I sorted out my camera.