|Taste ||Environment ||Service ||Hygiene |
Value for Money
|Alcoholic Drinks||Phone Reservation||Parking|
Very disappointed Oct 20, 2011
I was recommended to this restaurant by a celebrity chef in Taipei during a recent visit. We were told that the chef here came from the very expensive leading Hangzhou restaurant in Kowloon, Tian Heung Lau. So my expectation was high.
For appetizers, the smoked fish was acceptable, not remarkable. Drunken pigeon had neither pigeon taste nor wine taste. The marinated duck had very little flesh and did not please.
The Dong Po pork was fatty, although not very tough. It cannot compare to the one we had in Taipei, though.
The smoked yellow croaker fish they recommended was horrible. It was stiff as a board, and obviously had been frozen for a long time. No wonder they needed to put a cherry on each eye, so you would not see the sunken eyes of fish long dead.
We ordered noodles tossed with hairy crab roes. The crab roes were acceptable, but not amazing. The noodle was totally unremarkable, and certainly not comparable to those served at Tian Heung Lau in Kowloon. To be fair, per serving here was under $300, but the Tian Heung Lau version, when I last had it over 5 years ago, was already $650.
So, to sum up, this is a restaurant that offers food at modest prices using lesser ingredients to economize. Not what I am looking for, I am afraid.
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Oct 20, 2011
Spending per head: Approximately HKD600(Lunch)
Value for Money3
a true Hangzhou feast Mar 16, 2011
The manager suggested a series of 8 starters, as is traditional. The main dishes were pre-ordered.
Evergreen with dried bamboo shoots (筍乾萬年青) - not sure exactly which veggie this is, but there is a distinct fragrance which is milder than that of Indian aster (馬蘭頭). This may in fact contain rape flowers (油菜花) as some references indicate. There was some shredded dried bamboo shoots to mix things up a little.
House special marinated duck (招牌醬鴨) - this was OK.
Drunken pigeon (花雕醉鴿) - this was very good. I specifically picked one of the pieces which was still a little rare... very tender.
Hangzhou-style vegetarian goose (杭州素鵝) - kinda different from all the vegetarian goose/chicken I've had before. Unlike some versions where the tofu skin has been made into one block with bite, nor were the many layers deep-fried into a crunchy state. Instead this was wet and soft, and slightly spongy.
Marinated cucumber and jellyfish head (青瓜海蜇頭) - this was OK.
Marinated black fungus (拌木耳) - this was OK.
Honey-marinated lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice (糯米蓮藕) - this has always been one of my favorites since childhood. Yum...
Blanched pig's kidney (搶腰花) - not bad at all.
Then the main dishes started arriving...
River shrimps stir-fried with Longjing tea leaves (龍井蝦仁) - I have never had a version of this dish that lived up to my expectations, and I've stopped ordering this at Tien Heung Lau. Maybe I just don't "get" this dish, but I had always been expecting delicate fragrance from the tea leaves on my palate, from the descriptions written by countless others. This has always eluded me, and I end up thinking that the tea leaves are there simply for show. Are the leaves meant to cancel out any unwanted flavors from the shrimps, instead of providing a more prominent fragrance? Is my palate so poor that I cannot detect the fragrance that many others seem to have encountered?
Deep-fried tofu bells (乾炸響鈴) - this was absolutely amazing, and I think I had 3 or maybe 4 of these... The thin layers of tofu skin were deep-fried in high heat, and became so crispy that it just crumbled in one's mouth. This reminds me of some of the croissants one finds in pâtisseries -such as Blé Sucré in Paris - where lots of butter was used, as these would also crumble under pressure.
Deep-fried stinky tofu (炸臭豆腐) - the other half of the crispy golden duo (黃金雙脆). Normally I'd stay as far away from stinky tofu as possible, and it's one of the very few things I don't like to eat. But I've learned two things over the years... the deep-fried version smells a lot less than the steamed version; and like durian, the smell ain't so bad when you are eating it yourself. I took one tonight, and found the flavors to be a lot milder than the smell. Honestly a lot of cheese that I take in regularly are more pungent than this...
Braised Dong Po pork belly (東坡肉) - this is one dish where the son outshone the father. I have always found this dish to be a complete failure at Tien Heung Lau, and have always been amazed how that restaurant could screw up one of the most popular dishes in Shanghainese food. Tonight I really enjoyed my pork belly, sandwiching it between layers of steamed bun. The flavors from the marinade were able to penetrate into the whole piece of pork, and more importantly the lean meat was still succulent instead of being completely dry and tough.
Smoked yellow croaker (煙燻黃魚) - what's with the cherries on the eyes? This was one of the most anticipated dishes of the evening, as we all love the one at Tien Heung Lau. I was not disappointed, as there was plenty of smoky flavors and fragrance. I found the flesh to be a bit more flavorful than Tien Heung Lau's version. I happily had seconds and thirds, including cleaning up the tail...
Smoked frog's legs (煙燻田雞腿) - the smoky fragrance was nice, but I much prefer the deep-fried frog's legs at Tien Heung Lau.
Fish balls with watershield (蒓菜魚圓) - they are famous for their fish balls and I can see why. These were very light and fluffy, unlike many of the Cantonese fish balls which have a lot more bite. The watershield (蒓菜) is grown in areas like West Lake (西湖) in Hangzhou (杭州), although it's also found in Japanese cuisine. They've got this slippery mucus on the outside which makes it interesting.
Steamed Reeve's shad (清蒸鰣魚) - a request from one of the diners, as it's impossible to find in Singapore. This was a pretty big one, and it's been a while since I've had the whole fish instead of just half... The manager did too good of a job of separating the scales from the skin, so the scales were pretty clean and only had some of the vinegar/wine sauce for me to suck on. This was pretty good... We had to warn the uninitiated to watch for the incredible amount of bones hidden in the flesh. It's always a lot of work to taste this fish, but I love it.
Double-boiled old duck soup (火燑老鴨煲) - what a lovely soup! Old ducks are always used in soup for their flavors, and complemented the strong flavors of the ham very well. Made with some preserved bamboo shoots (扁尖筍) which were a little hard and chewy.
Beggar's chicken (富貴童雞) - finally! A beggar's chicken where the meat is moist and tender! While the fragrance here may not have been as impressive as the one at Tien Heung Lau, the chicken meat was definitely a lot better, with more flavors, too. Very happy with this.
I think we were all full by this point, but some of the group were clearly unsatiated, and there was an itch that needed scratching. So an order was put in for hairy crab roe noodles (蟹粉撈麵), which is a favorite at Tien Heung Lau. While we received generous portions of crab roe, the brownish color tells me that the quality isn't as good as what we'd get at Tien Heung Lau (where the roe is bright orange). The round noodles were also a bit overcooked with soy sauce, and were not the best complement to the roe.
The complimentary dessert was a bowl of glutinous rice balls in fermented rice with osmanthus (桂花酒釀湯圓). They used a lot of osmanthus sauce so it was very fragrant, and it wasn't overly sweet.
original blogpost with pictures and wine notes: http://www.diarygrowingboy.com/2011/03/hk-chowmeet-2011-part-1-hangzhou-style.html
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Mar 11, 2011
Spending per head: Approximately HKD500
Value for Money4
Satisfying Dec 24, 2010
No need to wait for a table because we have made a reservation in advance.
This is one of the most satifying meals I have had so far in 2010.
The cold dish Indian Aster with dried bamboo shoots 筍乾萬年青 (馬蘭頭) was quite refreshing, not oily at all.
Pan-fried stinky tofu with edamame 毛豆臭豆腐 was excellent! The stinkiest tofu I've had in HK for ages. Steamed stinky duo 紹興蒸雙臭 also seemed quite tempting but we didn't ordered it at the end, maybe next time! I also want to try the deep-fried stinky tofu.
Fish balls & water-shield soup 莼菜魚圓湯: it's very unique and delicious. I've never seen/tasted anything like this dish. The house-made fishballs were very delicate, fluffy and light. They tasted like fish whipped with egg white and soft tofu. The young leaves and stems of water-shield have a coating of gelatinous slime, very interesting.
Fried rice cakes with crab roes 蟹粉炒年糕: not bad but I wish there were more crab roes.
Pan-fried dumplings: 鍋貼: not bad. They were jumbo size with slightly crispy wrapping, not greasy at all.
The neighbouring table has ordered the lotus roots with glutinous rice 糯米蓮藕. It looked quite delicious.
By the way, the service was excellent. This restaurant is way better than most of those so-called Michelin 1-star restaurants.
Recommended Dish(es): 臭豆腐,莼菜魚圓湯
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Dec 23, 2010
Spending per head: Approximately HKD300(Dinner)
Value for Money5
Good Hang Zhou Cuisine with Pleasant Surprise Nov 12, 2009
I have heard about this restaurant for a while and have not had a chance to pay a visit until today. It came with pleasant surprise - I met one of the waiters - he used to work for a famous Shanghainese/Su-Hang restaurant - the one was closed already. It was like meeting old friend again. He gave friendly smile while seeing old customer - what a smaill world.
The steammed dumplings 'Xiao Lung Bao' was fresh - the only downside was the flour skin - it was a bit thick while it's delicious. The steammed fish was gorgeous - very fresh and good texture - not over cooked. Felt great while tasting it. The stir-fried rice cake with vegi and sliced porks was good - very chewy. The soup came with sliced fish, mushroom, ham and ... was very yummy. The noodle we ordered was also good although it came with strong taste. We will come back.
Date of Visit: Nov 12, 2009
Value for Money3
Hong Zhou Restaurant 杭州酒家 Jul 11, 2009
When I first looked at the hanging neon-light fixture of this restaurant at the street level, the first thing that came to me mind was how traditional and perhaps how the much the interior needed much decoration / upgrades. How wrong I was !! The place was very contemporary with a rather upscale decor. Various Chinese paintings and calligraphy works were placed on the walls together with many photographs taken together with the chefs famous individuals such as Donald Tsang, Chip Tao, Choi Lan (蔡瀾) and etc. Does all these photographs provide some degree of quality assurance? Maybe or Maybe not!
One of the first thing I realized when I look at the menu was that there was NO ENGLISH that goes with the dishes. Therefore, the translation of the dishes are done on a best effort basis. Honestly, I have no idea what are the specialities of Hong Zhou cuisine so I had to consult my friends and the large amount of pictures in the menu. My friend pre-ordered Special Baked Chicken 富貴雞 / 乞兒鷄 so one less item to decide! Here what we ordered: For Starters - (1) Tofu and Preserved Egg 豆腐皮蛋 (2) Signature Duck 招牌醬鴨 (3) Diced Wild Vegetables 馬蘭頭 (4) Xiao long bao (Shanghai Dumplings) 小籠包 (5) Pan Fried Bun 生煎包; Main - (6) Special Baked Chicken 富貴雞 / 乞兒鷄 (7) pan-fried fresh shrimps 醬煎河蝦 (8) Stir fried eel slices 炒鱔糊; Dessert - (9) Fried Sweet Sticky Rice 煎八寶飯 and (10) Osmanthus flavored mini dumplings sweet soup 桂花酒釀丸子. Another long list !
(1) Tofu and Preserved Egg 豆腐皮蛋
This is a dish I often order at Shanghainese restaurant. I like both items and how they are presented usually; however, the way it was served here surprised me. Usually one of the key presentation point of this dish is to show how good the chef's cutting skills are by cutting the tofu very thin without much breakage. The tofu here was in blocks and the preserved eggs were thickly sliced as well. Not as presentable as I expected and by serving in a bowl, it was hard to evenly share / distribute the big tofu cubes, huge preserved eggs slices and sauces that sank to the bottom of the bowl. Taste wise, it was fair but the sauce was abit too spicy.
(2) Signature Duck 招牌醬鴨
The texture of the duck was more like preserved items: hard and chewy. Taste wise it was very good indeed, not too sweet and the meat remained very moist. It actually tasted more like smoked duck to me. Maybe it was being smoked as part of the whole process. Thumbs up to me.
(3) Diced Wild Vegetables 馬蘭頭
The usual 馬蘭頭 should be more ... crispy (爽)? Not sure how to describe it but the dish here was overly chewy to a point I cannot completely chew it. It was more like AGED vegetables whereby you have to chew for like minutes before you can swallow. Extremely high in fiber! Thumbs down ! (did I mention there was not much taste to it?)
(4) Xiao long bao (Shanghai Dumplings) 小籠包
Another disappointment! Just take a look at the picture and I think you know what I mean. The dumpling sheet / skin was so thick that you can use your fork to slowly pick it up without even having a scratch or break the dumpling. Even if you did break it, no worries, there weren't much soup in there anyways. Thumbs down !
(5) Pan Fried Bun 生煎包
This dish was much better than the Xiao Long Bao. The bun was of the right side, bread layer not too thick and the meat inside was pretty tender and juicy. Not much soup can be found in there but the meat was juicy enough to make up for that. Not the best pan fried bun I had before but good enough to have a thumbs up from me!
(6) Special Baked Chicken 富貴雞 / 乞兒鷄
The star of the show is this special baked chicken. Difference places call it differently but they are done in similar ways. The chicken was braised and then wrapped by lotus leaf before being packed tight with a mud / soil cast or mold and smoked until fully cooked. To serve, one has to crack the mold open, usually with a hammer. I cannot really comment on how this dish compared with other places because this was the first time I tried it. What I can say is that it was good. The whole chicken was tender even the breast and the smoked taste was very well balanced ! Worth trying if you never did.
(7) pan-fried fresh shrimps 醬煎河蝦
Wonderful sauce in terms of taste but it was a bit too thick. I love shrimps and I am lazy at the same time, so since the shrimps comes with shells, the problem with peeling the shells came into play. Usually I am okay with peeling the skins without hands but the size of shrimps were rather small, my friends were debating whether to eat the whole thing with the shells or not. Tough decision indeed and I tried both with and without. I prefer to eat without even if it was more troublesome. (note: the shells were pretty hard !)
(8) Stir fried eel slices 炒鱔糊
Nothing special about this dish but I would like the sauce to be thicker. The eel slices were tender and soft but my idea of good eel was to be a bit chewy I think. There were other variations of eel's dishes, maybe worth trying. A fair dish in general.
(9) Fried Sweet Sticky Rice 煎八寶飯
Another dessert I often order at Shanghainese restaurant. It usual has the options of either steamed or pan-fried and I prefer the pan-fried option. Taste wise it was alright but the sugar / icing being used were not that matching. Maybe I am too used to the pinkish sugar powder being used at Ye Shanghai for this dessert. Other than the taste, the texture was not as good as I expected. In my opinion, the whole pancake was too thick and not pressed thin enough to create the hard and chewy texture it requires.
(10) Osmanthus flavored mini dumplings sweet soup 桂花酒釀丸子
A pleasant dessert indeed. The osmanthus 桂花 flavor was strong and the mini dumplings were of the right size (and of right chewiness) to make it a pleasant experience. Actually, I think less mini dumplings would be better.
* Decor & Environment
* Signature Duck 招牌醬鴨 (good taste and texture)
* Special Baked Chicken 富貴雞 / 乞兒鷄 (a new experience to me, wish they could have crack the thing in front me us, I think Peking House does that in front of the table)
* Service was good (not very pushy to make you order expensive dishes)
* Xiao long bao 小籠包 (the skin was tooooo thick)
* Diced Wild Vegetables 馬蘭頭 (overly chewy to my liking)
* Fried Sweet Sticky Rice 煎八寶飯 (texture too soft in general, if pressed longer would be better)
* Alot of items require pre-ordering
Original Blog: http://jason-bonvivant.blogspot.com/2009/07/hong-zhou-restaurant.html
My Blog: http://jason-bonvivant.blogspot.com/
Date of Visit: Jul 09, 2009
Value for Money4
yummy! Feb 07, 2009
friend's birthday dinner was held there, it was my first time. the food overall was very good. the honey ham w/ crispy tofu skin was gorgeous. the tung po meat was soft and tasty, albeit fatty. the appetisers were great. overall a great dinner experience.
oh and easy street parking in the area, or park at tai yau centre.
Recommended Dish(es): honey ham, tung po meat
Value for Money4
What a nice surprise! Oct 09, 2007
Although not much a gourmet diner, I do take my dining excursions quite seriously.
This Hangzhou restaurant does take a little bit of exploring to find. The location is not easy -- it is situated on the 1st floor of a commercial building on Johnston Road, and it also has a staircase entrance on Wanchai Road.
Regarding food, if you are into authentic Hangzhou food, you won't be disappointed. I talked to the waiters, and I do believe that they have their ingredients flown in fresh from the point of origin. Honestly, not a lot of restaurants care to do that.
You MUST try the smoked yellow croaker fish which gives you another dimension of smell and taste. However, for pete's sake, do leave some for me, please? This type of fish is so difficult to find, and I don't want you to eat it to extinction.
The beggar's chicken is so good. But I think it will probably takes at least a party of six to have a decent go. Mind you, you need to call in advance to get your share. If you can't do that, hopefully someone else would have ordered, and when they crack open the mud-casing, you will be so sorry that you haven't ordered in advance. Yes, the aroma is that good.
Mind you, their starters and desserts aren't too spectacular, and I would say quite mediocre. But in these days of high overheads and serious competition, having just a couple of signature dishes really deserves one's respect.
Spending per head: Approximately HKD200