點心好吃。酒店餐廳來說價錢合理。 環境優雅不造作。服務專業，有禮，有笑容。值得推介。 Good Food, Great View & Great Service. Elegant, Smart yet casual. Great choice for relaxed fine dining. Highly recommended.
Last stop for this summer:
My in-laws were in Hong Kong for a few days. As we all know, treating in-laws to meals is never an easy task, especially when they are from Japan, a country where almost everyone is a stern gourmet.
We were thinking about "Yan Toh Heen 【欣圖軒】" initially. But since it was raining, we decided to find something near Hotel Nikko, where they were staying. I recently saw quite a number of reviews by veteran reviewers of Hotel ICON. So we decided to give "Above & Beyond" a try. I'm happy to report that this is a place I could recommend anyone for a fine lunch and possibly dinner.
We arrived at 11:30 am. Because we didn't have a prior booking, we were only allocated 45 minutes Σ（ﾟдﾟlll）! I tried to wrangle for 15 minutes more but the reception lady maintained her smile and politness but firm. We obliged.
After walking past a lovely lounge/bar area adorned with chess sets, books on design,
oriental history and Chinese terra cotta armies,
we arrived at the dining area.
We were immediately taken aback by the natural lighting and lovely view in front of us.
Even seats which were facing away from the window could see the view because of a well placed mirror reflecting the view behind the diner. As far as I'm aware, the only other restaurants at TST which had this attention to detail are AQUA and Felix (the bar, not the cat).
They had a set lunch menu, about 6-8 pages of a la carte dishes (about 10 dishes per page, mostly Cantonese cuisines) and a small selection, that is, about 60 types of Dim Sum (the standard stuff plus Roast meat, Xiao Lung Bao and congee, mostly traditional Cantonese style dim sum).
The friendly waitress introduced the set menu to us. The set menu consisted of three dim sum and three main courses with soup, Chinese tea and dessert. It's about HK$296 per person ( minimum order - two persons). A complimentary steamed fish is included if you order 4 or more sets.
Because we were't too hungry, we did not order what we felt to be pretty a substantive set meal so we ordered a la carte instead.
We ordered "Shrimp paste and bamboo shoos wrapped in fried bean curd" (Or simply, "Bean Curd" roll), "Abalone Chicken congee with fish maw", "Shrimp dumplings", "Xiao Lung Bao" (again), three bowls of "Char Siu Shrimp Fried Rice", two bowls of "Spicy and Sour soup" and one "Sweet and Sour Pork".
First came the Bean Curd Rolls , followed shortly afterwards by the Xiao Lung Bao and Prawn Dumplings
The Bean Curd Rolls were very good! When we all had our first bite, we were immediately impressed by the quality of the bean curds, and the fillings inside.
It was crispy but not overcooked and had a very refreshing soy bean taste, which is not easy. It's easy to be either too oily or too burnt. This was neither.
Those were wrapped with very fresh and sweet shrimp paste! The combination was very nice. This is one of the best "fu pei kuen" I've ever tried in Hong Kong hotel restaurants, much better than Spring Moon 【嘉麟樓】in Peninsula, Yan Toh Heen【欣圖軒】, Summer Palace 【夏宮】and Golden Leaf 【金葉庭】...etc. Recommended.
Xiao Lung Bao: A stock choice for my Japanese relatives, indeed, most Japanese friends. It looked decent. The meat was fairly marinated and was tender. However, there wasn't too much juice inside. Not as good as the Xiao Lung Bao specialists like "Ting Tai Fung" 【鼎泰峰】or "Crystal Jade" 【翡翠拉麵小籠飽】but decent. However, I'll recommend sticking to the Cantonese dim sum here.
Unfortunately, the congee was a bit bland and didn't have much taste. I didn't even take a photograph of it. Don't worry about skipping it. The congee at "Canton Tea House" 【廣東茶居】at Harbour City or "Praise House Congee & Noodle Cuisine" 【譽居】at I-Square are much better. Those are congee specialists so it's not comparable.
The shrimp dumplings were nice but not the best. I find the dough slightly thick for my liking. However, the most important part of the shrimp dumpling, namely, the shrimp, was fresh, crisp and had shrimp taste. Good. Still, much better than Summer Palace and approaching those I've tried at Yan Toh Heen or Golden Leaf.
The fried rice was very good. The taste was on the light side. The flavour came from the aromatic rice, fresh spring onions and from the marinated meat fragrance from the char siu only. It's not too oily. The rice were separate from each other. One way to distinguish between good fried rice and not so good fried rice is the consistency of each rice. They shouldn't be soggy but should be slightly dry and wholly separate from each other. This is recommended.
We were talking about the fried rice even as we were heading towards the air-port!
Talking about fried rice, I've read from a book on the general cultural differences between Chinese and Japanese is that Chinese is compared to fried rice - big group on the outside but everyone is in fact separate and striving for individuality. Each piece of rice has it's unique flavour and the strength comes from each person individual (as opposed to a group). On the other hand, Japanese is compared to onigiri (rice balls) - strength in numbers and tightly knit. Bland individually, but the flavour comes from the combination of all ingridients. Not sure whether the generalization is correct myself but nevertheless quite an interesting way to approach the differences.
Sweet and Sour Pork:
I was wondering at first whether the wrong dish came as I didn't see any pineapple on the dish and the meatballs didn't look crispy.
You won't see any pineapples outside because it's wrapped inside! ！(◎_◎;) A very interesting concept indeed.
Unfortuantely, the interesting concept wasn't matched by the taste. The pork taste was slightly stale and the pineapple wasn't sweet enough. The other part was quite crispy. It was just ok. I wouldn't recommend this.
Spicy and Sour soup:
"Suen Laat Tong" which had a lot of ingredients inside the broth. The spiciness was a bit toned down. Less spicy than most suen laat tong you get in small Shanghainese eateries. HK$88 is not cheap but it had very fresh ingredients inside. Very fresh shrimps, Bamboo shoots, Shredded Pork, Black Fungi, Chinese mushrooms, Sliced Egg, possibly some fish maw. Also worth a try.
The service was extremely efficient. Our food arrived very soon after we've ordered. We did manage to finish our quick lunch within 45 minutes. However, no one urged us to leave but we kept our promises.
The bill came down to the lucky 777 plus 10 percent, which I regard as quite reasonable for the quality of the food, the very good service, the environment and the view.
As we left, I asked whether non-hotel residents could use the lounge area for drinks. I was told that it's open to the public after 8:00 p.m. Great news! I'll definitely try it sometime.
Most of the dim sums were very good. The fried rice was very good too.
Very polite and efficient service. Everyone served with a smile.
Fine dining without the stuffiness and the burnt hole in your wallet! Just make sure you book in advance.
This was a great last stop in Hong Kong for the in-laws. They even decided to stay here next time !
I heard that most, if not all, of the staff here are students of hotel management run by PolyU. If that's the case, that's excellent new for Hong Kong's service industry! Hong Kong is previously known for sometimes rough services (possibly a heritage from colonial times ). This is definitely a great step forward for Hong Kong.