13 December 2016
After that under-whelming voluminous lunch at Yuè I had a nice hike around Colonial Cemetery. If you’ve never visited it’s a treasure trove of history; even the former commander of the US Pacific Fleet is buried there, if you know where to look. It’s a wonderful urban garden, plenty of hills/steps to hike, a bit of lungs in the city that is not crowded with people.
Later that night I headed out into Kowloon, my usual side of this territory, for the first time this trip. A long walk in the over-heated MTF tunnel and I got to the InterContinental Hotel and Yan Toh Heen, a 2-Michelin restaurant. I was hoping for something nearly as good as last night’s excellent Lung King Heen dinner.
It was a bit more chaotic here, reminded me more of a Chinese restaurant than a Michelin place if you get my drift. But they offered me a table with a spectacular view of the water into Hong Kong, so I’m not complaining. But already at the start the service was showing signs of total confusing as it took over 10 minutes to bring me my menu — and I had to stop them running away to order a drink.
I chose not to do the tasting menu tonight as it resembled too much of what I had last night. I don’t need another wagyu dish frankly. I want to eat stuff that I cannot get elsewhere especially back home, so I focused on those dishes. I ordered and chilled.
Enjoyed the view outside so that was nice. Felt a little guilty having such a good table for 1 person, but what the heck. Though it took a bit to get the server’s attention as my water was empty for awhile, and took some time for the wine — albeit a nice pour. Then the first dish arrived, the baby pig trotters.
This was a bit bigger than I anticipated, but I went after it with gusto. Nice trotters, lovely texture, but I wish the flavour was a bit stronger. Lacked seasoning, even when I left it in the sauce for awhile. Seems like they may have done the “boil-then-braise” on this, which is a shame. I anticipated better flavours. Oh well, an okay start.
At this point the service collapsed even more, as it took me about 10 minutes to get anyone’s attention for not just more wine, but more water. I hate it when they take your bottle of water far away, but never come to pour it! Terrible, again shows how useless Michelin is as a guide here in Hong Kong — especially service. Then the main items started arriving.
First up was the honey-roasted eel. Really nice, good strong flavours. Perhaps a touch sweet, as I always find Chinese chefs OD the honey whenever they use it and the dish comes out way too sweet (like today’s very good roast pork at Yuè). The roasting burned enough of it off, but I really wish the savoury came out to challenge the sweet as the dominating factor here. But the eel was nice in itself.
Then the rice with air-dried meats. Not bad, nice flavours. But when they brought it out they ignored my wine and water situation again. I had to nearly get out of my table to get their attention. Come on! Then the last item was served, thank goodness…
The scrambled eggs with fish maw and dried scallops. Not bad, but they seemed to have used very little of anything but bean sprouts. From the photo it looks like there’s plenty of maw, but frankly I think that was all of it — behind this was ALL sprouts…
Oh well. It was very filling, and I was bursting by this point. But after another 15 minutes trying to wave someone down for the bill I gave up and physically walked to the cashier to ask for the bill. I think they were a bit embarrassed by that, but I was beyond caring at this point. I left not too thrilled, not looking forward to fighting the crowds into the overly-heated MTR tunnel again…
The food was not bad, though for the price they could have done far better. The service was beyond atrocious, the worst I’ve ever seen in a fine dining place in Hong Kong — and that’s saying a whole lot. Utterly dreadful stuff, Michelin should be embarrassed and so should the hotel and whoever is the FoH manager.
Off to Vietnam in the morning, thank goodness. Hong Kong just drives me apesh*t…
Yan Toh Heen
18 Salisbury Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong