Xi Yan Hong Kong 囍宴 廚‧藝
English Address : 3/F, 83 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
Chinese Address : 灣仔灣仔道83號3樓
Map : Display Map
Phone No. : 2575 6966
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Categories : International | Private Kitchen | Special Occasion Dining
Spending : $301-$500
Overall Score : 3.8
31 vs 7 vs 8
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Steamed grouper in pickled gooseberry、Sichuan spicy chicken、Poached Australian pears in osmanthus wine
Opening Hours: 星期一至日: 12:00-15:00;星期一至日: 15:00:23:00
Number of Seats: 65
Payment Method: Visa、Master、Cash
May Bring Your Own Wine:
10% Service Charge:
1 to 5 of 5 reviews:
Better stick to the basics.
梵高將軍 (221 Review(s))
A relative of mine invited me to have dinner with a group of Japanese family friends at this pretty famous restaurant. Apparently, you'll need to book about 2-3 months in advance due to its popularity.
I've tried this once at the old location near Hopewell center and the food there tasted pretty nice. The menu I had more than a year ago basically consisted of all the signature dishes recommended by other food commentators. That was quite good so I was pretty looking forward to this dinner.
The restaurant occupied half a unit in a commercial building. The unit was elongated so it felt like sitting inside a large corridor. The place was clean and brightly lit. The decorations were a bit westernized plus a little bit of Chinese decorations here and there. The seats were quite comfortable like how a private dining club should be.
I've uploaded the photo of the Chinese menu on that day here and I'll attempt an English explanation of what those dishes actually contained (which was for ten persons in total):
1) Salmon sashimi mixed with jelly fish, peanut sauce, cucumber, carrot and sliced rice sheets:
- This was apparently a famous Lunar New Year dish for Filipino, Indonesian and Singaporean Chinese. Everyone was supposed to mix all the cold ingredients together with specially made chopsticks as a sign of prosperity (which we duly complied). Well, fun for tourists maybe but not for a boring guy like yours truly. Can't complaint about the individual components of the dish though. On the other hand, it just tasted like a gado gado salad with salmon.
2) Abalone marinated in sake on a puff pastry:
- Well, the abalone was marinated but I couldn't taste the sake but only some light soy sauce anyway; that may well be better cos I'm not too confident about that mix. The puff pastry was quite light but I don't really see the point of the combination.
3) This is tricky - a type of Chinese herb, namely Cordecep's Flower (if that helps):
- This cordecep's flower, contrary to cordecep (namely a worm who ate some plant seeds and then hibernate after which the seed burst through it's body and became ultra nutritious and pricey), had no worm element. Nevertheless, a cold orange plant that looked a bit like a worm mixed with some spring onions wasn't exactly appetizing.
4) Truffle slice with smoked Shanghai style egg:
- I never realized what the fuss over truffle was. Anyway, I didn't appreciate it. I'd rather just have the egg, which wasn't smokey enough.
5) Fried sliced eel in black vinegar with mustard seeds:
- Similar to a Shanghainese dish but more crispy. Interesting to those who haven't tried the Shanghai version.
6)Mustard sesame sauce with Japanese Greenhouse tomato:
- Most people seemed to like this dish. It's OK.
Well, those six appetizers already took up at least 40 minutes' time with seven more main dishes to go. Here they are:
1. Chicken baked with truffle:
- In fact, this is the only dish that I'll recommend but it' highly recommended. This is one of their house dishes and probably the charismatic chef did it himself as opposed to his assistants. The chicken was very aromatic and tender. Notwithstanding my indifference towards truffles and fusion ideas in general, I have to admit that this combination was both refreshing and nicely executed.
2. Tiger prawns stewed with guava in pumpkin broth:
- Both my wife and I couldn't remember how this dish looked or tasted like. Enough said.
3. Lobster fried with kimchi, cheese and Shanghai mochi (rice cake):
- Well, that's quite creative. The colour looked nice. I never thought kimchi and cheese would work but the combination wasn't too bad. I can't say I really liked it though. There wasn't much meat on the lobster and I couldn't taste anything but kimchi and cheese.
4. Plum with Guava:
- Does what it says on the tin: It's exactly a plate of sliced guava with plum for the purpose of clearing your taste buds in similar function as a sorbet. Both fruits were quite fresh.
5. Steamed garoupa with soy bean and olive sauce on a bed of special Chan's village rice noodle:
- Pardon my strange translation but the rice noodle, which is usually at least 3 times thicker and a lot more chewier than your normal rice noodle, has always been one of my favourites. This dish was a bit more orthodox and I liked it. The rice noodles soaked up the flavour of the fish nicely. The fish itself was fine. Not exceptional but acceptable.
6. A type of shellfish with conch and chicken soup:
- Usually this type of soup is supposed to be very good for your health. This tasted like traditional broiled soup and was fine.
7. Lily bud stir fried with celery and "gordon enryale seed" (I thank the internet community):
- This was a bit cold. Basically the gordon enryale seed was quite fun to eat as it was very chewy. It tasted like barley and it also used in some Chinese medicine formula. But as a dish itself... I'm not too sure.
8. Finally, the dessert - Bird's nest with lotus and almond sweet soup.
- Fancy till the very end - The bird's nest was served separately in a shot glass and you're meant to put the bird's nest into the soup. I'm not expert about bird's nest. Presumably it's to prevent the bird's nest from completely dissolving into nothingness and/or as an added gimmick for customers.
One of the best things about the dinner was that we didn't have to pay for it (hence I couldn't give you the price).
Conclusion: Other than the chicken, the rest of the food was so-so. But to be fair, the service was extremely good. All the staff were friendly and polite. Very attentive and efficient. The main chef and the owner, Mr. Jacky YU, was extremely friendly to all customers as well. To err on the safe side, better ask the restaurant to prepare your menu based primarily on their signature dishes.
Recommended Dish(es): 黑松露脆皮燒雞
Date of Visit: 2012-02-07
Table Wait Time: 0 Minutes
Overall Rating : Taste3 Environment4 Service5 Hygiene4 Value for Money2
Many surprises - pleasant and unpleasant
Passer-by (45 Review(s))
This lunch was supposed to be a "year-opening" lunch, arranged by a good friend. The booking was made by his secretary a while back but was given various answers in the process. Started off as yes, they could fit all of us in a big round table; they went on to inform us last evening that they didn't have a table large enough for the 15 of us. But finally they changed their minds and said the contrary. This was rather unsatisfactory as such last-minute change could have left us with nowhere to go.
Upon arrival we were seated in a big round table at the end of the dining hall, nicely spaced all round. A very fragrant jasmine tea soon arrived, I was all very impressed with the attention this restaurant paid to its quality - a very rare gesture in Hong Kong now.
The food arrived in perfect timing, there was no gap in between the dishes and the serving staff was very attentive. We didn't even have to raise our hand for assistance until the very end - when asking for the bill.
Some of the dishes that deserve mention include:
- Chinese Peanut soup - very nice and tasty indeed, just like home-made ones with hardly a drop of oil on the surface;
- Cold tofu in pickled sauce - simply prepared to perfection;
- Japanese tomatoes in mustard sauce - the sauce itself was rather appetizing but it sort of drowned off the freshness of the tomatoes;
- Sichuan spicy chicken - the only comment on this one was the disappointing tastelessness of the chicken (?frozen/chilled);
- Sweet and sour prawns - same again, the prawns didn't have the texture nor the taste of fresh ones;
- Ice cream as a seasonal dessert (???) - no further needed to be said here.
I have tasted better, and worse, food in private kitchens and this one has a mixture of giving its patrons some nice surprises but also falling short on some less-than-extraordinary dishes.
I would probably give this another chance.
Date of Visit: 2011-02-25
Table Wait Time: 0 Minutes
Overall Rating : Taste3 Environment4 Service4 Hygiene4 Value for Money3
Xi Yan Hong Kong 囍宴 廚‧藝
jason.bonvivant (180 Review(s))
Among the 4 unique franchise of Xi Yan, this Private Dining outlet acts as the flagship whereby new dishes are to be introduced / experimented first. This franchise was established by Jacky Yu, a designer turned celebrity chef who followed his heart for the love of food. you may see him on various TV food/ cooking related shows.
Anyhow, to be honest, I was expecting the venue to be small and cozy but instead it was fairly spacious capable of hosting a dozen or so tables. With that many tables, the environment and atmosphere is bound to be rather commercial in my opinion. Jacky dropped by to greet the guests that evening but I really doubt that Jacky himself cooked our meal or other diners'.
As a ceramic artist, Jacky Yu must have made all these one of a kind tea cups and chop sticks holder. It was nice, somehow made me want to try applying for ceramic classes as well.
Tonight's meal was a set one with some interesting dishes. It was a nice touch to provide guest with the printed menu in both Chinese and English.
(1) Cold tofu in pickled Sauce 秘製凍豆腐
The presentation was great! Very strong tofu taste and the flavor of the sauce was not too rich as well but it was rather cold in the center, must have been straight out from the fridge not too long ago.
(2) Conpoy shreds with choy-sum 瑤柱絲涼拌油菜花
Another well presented dish. The individual piece looked firm but it was just molded together loosely before serving. I wasn't sure if it was the normal choy-sum we usually get, must have been a variant of it I guess because it carried a very strong flavor similar to that of coriander in my opinion.
(3) Sichuan spicy chicken 金牌口水雞
Wow, that huge chili freaked me out! Good that it was more for decoration only and the whole dish was not as spicy as I expected. It was very good especially with the thousand year preserved eggs addition. The crispy texture of the peanuts went well with the softness / tenderness of the chicken as well as the rice paper sheets.
(4) Stewed thin beef slices with mustard 芥末燈影牛肉
Nice Chinese name for this dish. It was very crispy but the mustard flavor was quite strong! I coughed after the second bite as well. Not bad by any means but they should go light on the mustard in my opinion.
(5) Braised pork belly 雲上東坡醉千層
I was told that this is one of their award winning dishes and it looked interesting indeed. Strips of thinly sliced pork belly were use to wrapped around the preserved vegetables inside. This dish is traditional known to be very fatty due to the use of big fatty pork bellies but the varied technique being applied here was very nice indeed.
Another thumbs up would be the sauce and how it was not greasy and overly rich. The meat and sauce was best to go with some white rice!
(6) Stir fried shrimps with basil 金不換辣酒煮蝦
I love basil! I love shrimps! I kind of lost my manner with this dish by eating one after another until all shrimps were gone and I mixed some sauce with the white rice as well!
(7) Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce 香茅柑桔菊花魚
Looked nice but too starchy and dough-y, cannot really taste the fish or find the fish inside the thick layer of batter. The sauce was rather strong in terms of flavors and smell!
(8) Soaked guavas with dried sour plums 梅孑石榴
I certainly did not expect the dish to turn out to be like this based on Chinese name. It was literally soaked guavas and not something with the use of guavas as ingredients. IT was served chilled and acted more or less as a palette cleanser in my opinion. The sour plum juice carried hints of sweetness which was wonderful indeed.
(9) Chinese turtle soup 養生滋補山瑞湯
The English translation sounded so WRONG! Turtle soup? Anyhow, I don't have a better word for it, please help provide a better word if you can. The soup was heavy and intense on the Chinese herbs, typical with the use of similar ingredients. Not suggested for those who are pregnant.
(10) Stir fried kale with ginger juice and spring onion 薑汁香蔥芥蘭片
While it was an ordinary dish, there was hints of sweetness to the ginger juice which went very well with the very crispy kale.
(11) Dan Dan noodles 招牌擔擔拉麵
One word, spicy! After mixing it thoroughly, spiciness in every bite, but it was the addictive kind of spiciness which I enjoyed!
(12) Fresh lotus seed puree pudding with bird's nest 燕液蓮香露
A very interesting way to play with the dessert by pouring the concentrated bird's nest syrup into the puree. I think it was just a smart way to let guest know that you are getting a lot of bird's nest, no tricks involved. It was alright, nothing outstanding or surprising unfortunately. I guess it was a "fun" dessert in a sense?
* Stir fried shrimps with basil 金不換辣酒煮蝦 - moderate spiciness and huge shrimps!
* Braised pork belly 雲上東坡醉千層 - an interesting variation and interpretation of a traditional dish
* Sichuan spicy chicken 金牌口水雞 - love to combination of flavors and textures
* Not as cozy and homely as I hoped for a private kitchen venue
* Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce 香茅柑桔菊花魚 - too starchy and batter was too thick. Flavor of sauce was too strong.
* Stewed thin beef slices with mustard芥末燈影牛肉 - too much mustard, too strong.
Avg Spending: I was invited by my friend to this meal in celebration for her recent Ph.D graduation and the meal was free. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate her once again and thank you for the meal!
Original Blog with more Pictures: http://jason-bonvivant.blogspot.com/2010/01/xi-yan-private-dining.html
Overall Rating : Taste3 Environment4 Service4 Hygiene4 Value for Money4
New Year's Eve
Busymouth (101 Review(s))
We wanted to go somewhere for Asian food as we were sick of all the Christmas foods, turkey, pudding, ham, mince pies.
It has been years since I came to Xi Yan and I had never been after it moved to this current address. My husband and daughter had only been to their restaurant in GOD which closed earlier this year.
So it was a treat when we saw how nice the place was and how quiet and tranquil the atmosphere for a busy and noisy New Year's Eve. We settled down to the 10 course dinner.
Conpoy streds with choy sum. A plain cold salad dish to start off
Dried oyster in tangerine honey. Loved the sauce, love oysters
Cloud ear with wasabi. Sadly neither my daughter and I like wasabi, so left most of it
Osmanthus smoked egg topped with truflle slices. Thought an interesting dish but better if the egg could have some salt in the yolk like in Chekiang Club
Sichuan spicy chicken. I am sure it was this restaurant that popularised saliva chicken and they prepare it in a very special way. The chicken is shredded and boneless and served cold with fun pei, parsley, thousand year old egg and a chilli soy sauce. A signature dish of the place
Clams in spicy basil sauce. The dish tasted of Thai origin and the clams were very pretty with orange edges and with a good texture.
Chrysanthemum Mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce. Again the sauce is a genius with some passion fruit pulp in it as well. My husband loves sweet sauces, so he had half of my daughter's as she was getting full by this stage.
Red date and dried longan sorbet with bird's nest. I am not sure why we got a sorbet at this stage but it was the best dish of the night. The sorbet so cool and refreshing and when you eat it with the bird's nest in the bottom, it is the best combination.
hot and sour seafood and vegetarian shark's fins soup. Now that there is vegetarian fins, we can save the shark's. Never liked the real thing anyway. Sharp and appetising, very important at this stage when we are all full
Stir fry spinach with fresh yam root. Liked the spinach, not so much the wai san which tasted like grainy potato
Dessert is another signature dish, their glutinous dumpling in ginger and sweet potato soup. Their dumplings have sugared melon inside and some yellow past which I cannot make out but this is one of our favourite desserts at Xi Yan Desserts
It's nice to go back to somewhere familiar rather than having to find somewhere new every time. Half way through, we had to tell the waitress we wanted to hurry as our daughter had to go to a party and we had to catch Avatar.
A lovely quiet way to start an exciting NY's eve. We appreciate Jacky's attention to details and the way everything is so beautifully presented.
Recommended Dish(es): Saliva chicken, Sweet dumpling in ginger soup, Red date and bird's nest sorbet
Date of Visit: 2009-12-31
Occasion: New Year's Eve
Spending per Head: HKD500 (Dinner)
Overall Rating : Taste3 Environment4 Service5 Hygiene4 Value for Money3
chaxiubao (17 Review(s))
When Xi Yan started about 4 years ago, many wondered if Hong Kong is ready to sustain a speakeasy (a.k.a. private kitchen) of the caliber that Xi Yan aspired to be. Four years and countless speakeasies that came and went later, Xi Yan's pull proved to be ever soaring. Testimony one: it is the only speakeasy in Hong Kong to have its chef co-hosting a TV food show. Testimony two: it still has the longest waiting list in town even after the expansion -- they are constantly booking out over two months in advance, the longest in Hong Kong (it was 6 months before the expansion)!
Unlike so many so-called "private" kitchens that shout for attention, Xi Yan prevails solely by word of mouth. Unassuming outlook is an inadequate description, unnoticeable is more accurate: there is no signage for the whereabouts of it on the streets, not even on the very building it resided. Yet with the information, the address given by your friend, you’ll find it on the third floor of a run-down commercial building in Wanchai, quite, secluded and exclusive. Enter, sit down and enjoy and you’ll understand why this dining room that seats fifty at a stretch is blustered with gourmands of Hong Kong every evening.
The interior is pleasing to the eyes. Small and dandy with designer-chic decor in redish tone. Walls are cramped with modern Chinese paintings with a whirligig touch. You enter with the resonance that you’re having dinner in a stylish dining room of a trendy Asian friend of yours.
As with most speakeasies, there’s only pre-fixe menu available. On the night we tried, there were 5 starters, one soup, 6 main courses and one dessert. It ran the gamut from Sichuanese to Cantonese to, well, French with dishes infused with inspirations or ingredients from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and etc. It sort of reminded me those discovery/tasting menus in the Michelin-starred restaurants where every dish come in diminutive portion so that the clientele can sample more of the chef's virtuosity in one setting. Much to our gang of diners' delight, all the dishes were executed with care and precision.
We instigated the dinner with a succession of starters, a stream of five, that were unlike any I have ever had in a Chinese dining table, opening our palates for what followed...
1. Greenhouse tomatoes with sesame jus. Tomatoes fresh from Japan was adorned with housemade sesame jus. Neither of them overwhelmed another. Fresh, sweet and smooth.
2. Nutmeg "a la Classic." More an amuse bouche than an appetizer. It is a kind of nuts akin of olive in size, lightly marinated in grandma’s way. It's skin reminded me of fig's, but firmer; its flesh reminded me of prune's but oozed a more aromatic flavor. Very pleased for the re-discovery of a fading classic.
3. Homemade cold bean curd. Bean curd (a.k.a. tofu) bathed in a homemade soy sauce mix anointed with yolk of salted eggs and dried shrimps. It scored perfect 10 for look and taste. 100 per cent refreshing, 100 per cent ambrosia.
4. Deep-fried pork belly with red tofu sauce. After three cold starters, this hot entree stirred a contrast to the our palates. The fried belly, in perfect portion of fat and lean -- the fat and the skin part was crispy and crackling while the lean and flesh part was tender and moist.
5. Seared oyster with tangerine honey jus. Dried oysters battered with tangerine honey were gently seared. A smidgen of gold crust were sprinkled on top. Dazzling and glistening.
Next up were the main courses, which were equally good.
1. Sichuan chili chicken. A staple in the menu. The menu changes every other night but this spicy chicken is a stalwart. Two versions are available: the super hot one and the milder one. A more modernized and eclectic cover of an otherwise Sichuan blase, in my opinion. Some minced preserved eggs and peanuts were added as well. Normally I would join the queue for fusion-bashing but this time I liked it very much.
2. Glutinous rice steamed with beef shank. The beef was marinated the night before so every drops of the condiment was embedded. The glutinous rice, steamed together with the beef, absorbed the essence of the beef to the fullest. Another Sichuanese fare brillantly taken.
3. Deep-fried grouper on a bed of shredded pomelo flesh. The grouper was lightly coated with shrimp roe puree and marinated with lemongrass before the deep-fried. A Vietnamese inspired fare, may I suggest? The presentation shown Jacky was totally in his element: the fish so skillfully fried that it was still in a lively posture when brought to table. And the timing was perfect too. Crunchy on the skin yet moist on the flesh.
4. Just like an interlude in a great musical, a homemade guava sorbet was presented as palate cleanser. Very non-Chinese; very haute cuisine of French, I must add.
5. After the ice-cold sorbet was the steaming hot chicken consommwith ginseng. Posting an stark contrast to the palate with cold and hot. A perfect take of a Korean classic.
6. Homemade fish and lotus root pudding. Elegant in presentation. However, prepare for the only snag of the night: our gang of diners conferred and agreed this was the one of less compelling dishes of the meal. The pudding was too soft and the flavor wasn't distinctive to draw admiration.
7. Stir-fried pea shoots. Lightly fried organic greens dotted with a tad of preserved turnip chops. Simple but refreshing.
The finale, was the homemade dessert of sweetened cashew nut cream soup. Flavorful and smooth.
In all, the dinner was a show of Jacky's modernized interpretations of traditional cuisine, presented afresh for a new generation. After the meal, I understood why the full name of Xi Yan is called Xi Yan Culinary Art. Instead of naming itself a private kitchen, the use of the name culinary art shows exactly what, after all, Jacky, cares about. And like the name suggest, a dinner there was indeed a Xi Yan, meaning "a banquet of joy" in English.
The service was impeccable throughout the dinner with no corkage charged
Spending per Head: HKD360
Overall Rating : Taste5 Environment4 Service4 Hygiene5 Value for Money5
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