Sunday, 23 February 2014

Shang Palace

Fine dining Cantonese style

To carry on my food discovery in Hong Kong, I dropped by Shang Palace inside the Shangri-La hotel in Kowloon, a 2 star Michelin restaurant specializing in traditional Cantonese cooking. The decor is very traditional Chinese style with plenty of space between each table which is great due to the fact I never enjoy hearing other table's conversations. We were warmly welcomed by the staff ( good hotel standard) on arrival and we were served a warm chrysanthemum tea while we browsed through the menu.
Shangri-La hotel
Shang Palace
chrysanthemum tea

We selected a good number of dishes from the seasonal menu, given it was winter, we opted for some clay pot dishes which are perfect on a freezing cold day. Stewed sliced beef with water chestnut was a real joy, bold and full on flavours delivered to the palate, peppery, earthy and floral, all the rich flavours locked inside a clay pot. The braised black pork belly in clay pot also had a similar robust profile, both the pork and tofu was nicely seasoned by the dry salty fish and it was a perfect dish to serve with rice.
Traditional stewed sliced beef with water chestnut, lily flower and cloud fungus in clay pot
Braised black pork belly with salty fish in clay pot

The signature dish: Braised spare rib with Chin Kiang vinegar was a spare rib dish on another level. Nothing like what you would normally get in a standard Chinese venue, the meat was so moist and tender, beautifully braised to get maximum taste from the lovely mellow flavours from the Chin Kiang vinegar. Braised pigeon with dry plum was also pleasant, the pigeon was well cooked and it had a lovely fruity and peppery taste from the dry plum and shallots.
Braised spare rib with Chin Kiang vinegar
Braised pigeon with dry plum

The only let down of the evening was the braised noddles with lobster and black truffle, all the luxurious ingredients but yet by far the weakest link on the night. The noodles were overly salty and lacked any connection to the lobster, the black truffle failed to add anything to the dish and in a way, it killed off the settled flavour of the sweet lobster meat. 
Braised noodles and lobster with black truffle
Coddled seasonal vegetables, Chinese yam
and cloud fungus 
in vegetable broth
petit four

Overall it was a very pleasant dinner at a pretty good value with great service. The level of the cooking, without doubt is a few notches above your usual Cantonese restaurants on the high street and you could tell there is a clear difference in the use of quality ingredients as well. However with 2 Michelin stars I really expected it to be something very special and Shang Palace just isn't quite there for me, it was really a 1 star experience at best. But leaving the whole star nonsense aside, I think it isn't a bad place to dine in at all given it wasn't too expensive and considering it is a fine dining affair inside a 5 star landmark hotel after all.

Food 4/5

Head chef: 
Mok Kit Keung

What I paid: 
£35 per head with tea

Average cost without drinks and services :
£25 - £80

64 Mody Rd, Hong Kong

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