Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong


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Dim Sum lunch at Cuisine Cuisine

I love dim sum. Back in London my parents and I would go to New World in Chinatown for a spot of dim sum trolley service or head to Princess Garden in Mayfair for our fix. Of course, in HK, there is no shortage of dim sum places and as such, I have been valiantly trying to visit a few different restaurants, especially a couple of the more posh joints like Lung King Heen, just to see how their dishes measure up against the likes of the more down-to-earth joints.

So hot on the heels of my WHISK dinner, I found myself going back to The Mira to try out their One -Michelin star Cantonese restaurant, Cuisine Cuisine (by invitation). Cuisine Cuisine has another branch in IFC, which I’ve yet to try, and is also a One-Michelin star. In fact the Mira branch had Two-Michelin stars back in 2011, but unfortunately it did not retain it the following year.

Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira

Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira

Cuisine Cuisine is a rather resplendent forest-emerald green inside with these dramatic suspended glass orbs hanging from the ceiling and pretty views of Kowloon Park. The modern decor with traditional hints is very much a reflection of their menu which serves traditional fare with contemporary twists. The day I went, I was sampling their re-introduced All You Can Eat Dim Sum, which at $248 (+10%) per person, is terrific value, if your stomach is as big as your eyes. This is only available Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays between 11.30am till 2.30pm, so if you can escape from work then make the most of it!

We started with the crispy taro puffs with diced chicken and foie gras which were light and airy with hints of foie gras (not strong enough for me!) Stir-fried turnip cakes in X.O. Chili sauce was excellent; their X.O. sauce enhanced the fried turnip beautifully and made it difficult to tear my chopsticks away from each morsel. Their steamed wild mushroom and black truffle dumpling with a pop of colour from the melon inside, was fragrant and quite delicious, a well-executed vegetarian dim sum dish.

Crispy taro puffs with diced chicken and foie gras

Crispy taro puffs with diced chicken and foie gras

Stir-fried turnip cakes in X.O. Chili sauce

Stir-fried turnip cakes in X.O. Chili sauce

Steamed wild mushroom and black truffle dumpling

Steamed wild mushroom and black truffle dumpling

The xiao long baos and steamed dried scallop with shrimp and vegetable dumplings were good but standard fare, but I was happy to note that the skins in the xiao long baos were not overly thick- I lost some precious soup from over-zealous picking up!

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

Steamed dried scallop with shrimp and vegetable dumpling

Steamed dried scallop with shrimp and vegetable dumpling

The mini steamed sponge cakes with black sugar were wonderfully warm and bouncy and not too sweet. The pop-in-your-mouth portions are a little dangerous, but as its an All You Can Eat, you can always order more! I loved the cheung fan or steamed rice flour rolls with BBQ pork which was quite succulent and had the occasional, but not too much crispy fat- a happy contrast to the plain but smooth rice rolls flavoured with soya sauce. Crispy glutinous rice dumplings with diced pork were also scrumptious and thankfully not too heavy or oily as these can have a tendency to be. No dim sum lunch is complete without char siu bao (steamed barbecue pork bun), and theirs was fluffy and soft, yielding easily to my fingers prying the bun open to reveal glistening BBQ pork.

Steamed sponge cakes with black sugar

Steamed sponge cakes with black sugar

Crispy glutinous rice dumplings with diced pork

Crispy glutinous rice dumplings with diced pork

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Steamed rice flour rolls with BBQ pork

Steamed rice flour rolls with BBQ pork

Char siu bao

Char siu bao

Greedy guts we may be but it is surprising how your brain thinks you can eat so much more dim sum than you can in actuality. We ended up with just about room to spare for three sweet dim sum dishes. Their delightful egg tarts, piping hot when they emerged from the kitchen and filled with sugary custard goodness. Their yellow centres wobbled happily at me and were devoured with gusto. The coconut and osmanthus pudding was not a headlining dessert, but being chilled and light in flavours, was a clean-tasting bite to refresh the palate. The mango cream and sago pudding was by far the best, cooling and sweet yet tangy.

Mango cream and sago pudding

Mango cream and sago pudding

Coconut and osmanthus pudding

Coconut and osmanthus pudding

Egg tarts

Egg tarts

Dining at Cuisine Cuisine can be an elegant affair, though there is also quite a nice, laid-back atmosphere, with service running like clockwork and high quality dishes rolling out and helping patrons to roll out of the restaurant themselves, stuffed to the rafters with food. Don’t stroll in wearing flip flops but otherwise you can have a relatively casual meal whilst enjoying the polished surroundings.

Chopstixfix rating: 3.5/5

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Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira, 3/F, The Mira Hong Kong,118 Nathan Road,Tsimshatsui /cuisinecuisine@themirahotel.com /+852 2315 5222

This was a tasting by invitation by The Mira Hotel- many thanks for the kind invite. Interior photo courtesy of The Mira. 

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A Spot of Lunch at Lung King Heen

Four Seasons- Lung King Heen

Four Seasons- Lung King Heen

There are some restaurants in our beloved, hectic city that I have been saving for a special occasion or just waiting for a good time to go with my other half and visitors, and Lung King Heen at The Four Seasons is way up there on that *special occasion* list. But there it languished for a couple of years, until I despaired that such an occasion would ever materialise until, to my surprise, The Four Seasons extended a very kind invitation to me to try their set lunch one weekday. They were equally surprised that I hadn’t as yet been to their Three-Michelin starred restaurant, (I wasn’t deliberately avoiding, honest!), so it was with great delight that I found myself gazing round their spacious dining-area with polished floors, plush seats and magnificent views of Victoria Harbour.

Now, to be crowned the world’s first Chinese restaurant to be awarded the Three-Michelin stars is no mean feat, so naturally, one wonders if it deserves such an accolade. Although I was invited, I do believe that day to day, invites make little difference, as this is a tightly run ship with stellar service and truly standout dishes at what are frankly, quite reasonable prices for the quality that one gets.

Lung King Heen

Lung King Heen

After nestling into one of their side booths I had a look at their Executive Set Lunch menu which, at $485 +10% per person for seven, albeit small courses, is GREAT value, especially once I started tucking in. The a la carte menu has an array of fabulous dishes and of course they have a fine selection of dim sum, being Cantonese and all, so if a tummy full of dim sum tickles your fancy then you should definitely do that at leisure. I was trying their set lunch which starts with the Chef’s dim sum selection followed by the Soup of the Day, Barbecue combination (highlight for any pork belly obsessive), two mains (more on those later), then dessert and petit fours.

Our attentive wait staff soon arrived and two neat, steamed dim sum parcels appeared before me- the mushroom dumpling with celery and the shrimp dumpling with bamboo shoots. They were both morsels of joy and deliciousness and not nearly enough to satiate my dim sum lust that they ignited. Their dim sum skins were delicate yet firm enough to hold their contents, and as they yielded to bite, I savoured the plump shrimp and tender bamboo shoots and the silky and flavoursome mushrooms, with the celery adding a fresh taste. I was also treated to their wonderful Crispy Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Hairy Gourd, which made that happy crispy sound as I bit into it.

Steamed Dim Sum- mushroom and celery dumpling and shrimp and bamboo dumpling

Steamed Dim Sum- mushroom and celery dumpling and shrimp and bamboo dumpling

Crispy Spring Roll with Shrimp and Hairy Gourd

Crispy Spring Roll with Shrimp and Hairy Gourd

The Soup of the Day of dried vegetable, snake- head fish and pork, may not sound or look that impressive, but it was a wonderful, soothing broth to warm the cockles of the heart. As a Chinese soup fan, I fully appreciate the fine art that can go into a simple, humble soup, and I really wanted to produce a thermos and take some home!

Soup of the Day

Soup of the Day

Lung King Heen’s Barbecue combination may be small but they made an impact. And also made me want to weep that there was not more. (Am definitely having a plateful of crispy pork belly next time). My salivary glands were going into overtime and I had to tell myself not to wolf down my two precious pieces of pork belly and the equally magnificent two pieces of roast goose. The roast goose skin glistened delicately with the delicious goose fat; it was pretty much barbecued meat porn. But let’s not forget the marinated jellyfish with its yummy, crunchy texture, which was good but paled in comparison to its meaty neighbours.

Barbecue combination- crispy pork belly, roast goose and marinated jellyfish

Barbecue combination- crispy pork belly, roast goose and marinated jellyfish

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The next dish is a little controversial, as I soon found out after tweeting a picture of this dish enthusiastically, in that the so-called “Chilean Seabass”, is actually the Patagonian Toothfish, cleverly marketed to make it appear more appealing, in name, to us mere mortals and not only that, it seems to be a fish that is teetering on the edge of sustainable, depending on whether you want to wade in on the ‘legal fishing’ debate. I was educated very swiftly by Wafflerica – thanks! Anyway, this awkwardness aside, this dish (Steamed Chilean Seabass with with Fermented Black Bean Sauce) was outstanding, the fish was amazingly fresh, meaty and succulent and I loved the fermented black bean sauce, which is always such a dynamic contrast in flavours to that ‘clean’ fish taste.

Steamed Chilean Seabass with with Fermented Black Bean Sauce

Steamed Chilean Seabass with with Fermented Black Bean Sauce

Next up was the welcome sight of the Braised E-Fu noodles with crab-meat in lobster sauce. Crab meat AND lobster sauce? Winning combination. I ate it so fast, such was my pure enjoyment of this dish, that I was not really registering any deeper analytics of the dish except YUM!

Braised E-Fu noodles with crab-meat in lobster sauce

Braised E-Fu noodles with crab-meat in lobster sauce

And so we were coming to end of this excellent lunch, and I had to make room for one of my favourite Chinese desserts of all time- the Chilled Mango and Sago Cream with Pomelo. Deconstructing this, there is basically a glorious mango pudding, firm and inviting, drowned in a fresh mango-sago-pomelo cream. Fruity fun.

Chilled Mango and Sago Cream with Pomelo

Chilled Mango and Sago Cream with Pomelo

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To end, there was a lovely Chrysanthemum jelly with barley and a sesame biscuit to cap off an impressive lunch. Three-stars absolutely well deserved.

Chrysanthemum jelly with barley and a sesame biscuit

Chrysanthemum jelly with barley and a sesame biscuit

As the Terminator said- I’ll be back.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5


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Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central. Tel: +852 3196 8880, 3196 8886 http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong

This meal was by invitation- many thanks to Four Seasons Hong Kong. (Interior photos also from Four Seasons. )