Thursday, 28 October 2010

Upscale Neighbourhood Joint

Crab claw in steamed egg white was a winner
There's a fancy restaurant near where I live called Tim's Kitchen (桃花源小廚) in Sheung Wan.

It's started by the chef who used to cook for the executives of Hang Seng bank and then he left to start his own restaurant in Hong Kong and now has one in Macau that recently earned a Michelin star.

My cousin told me that if you wanted a table in the two-storey restaurant you had to book well in advance as even a two-week period wasn't early enough. So in order to secure a table for sure I booked over a month ahead.

Also there were some dishes we had to order in advance so we reserved the crab claws for each person and salt-baked chicken. And then when we arrived at the restaurant we also chose the soup of the day (pork with figs and melon), tofu, stir-fried bitter melon with bitter cucumber, and fried rice with beef.

The crab claws were quite impressive. They were really meaty and were either served in a shallow bowl of steamed egg white, or with winter melon. The former was much better than the latter in terms of taste -- the winter melon was a small block and didn't do much to complement the taste of the crab meat, whereas the one with egg white had a wonderful smooth texture that went well with crab.

Stir-fried bitter melon with bitter cucumber and Chinese ham
An excellent delicate dish was the tofu. It was marinated in the lao shui sauce that includes ginger, salt, soy sauce, star anise, fennel seeds, Chinese cooking wine and dried orange peel. The tofu was very smooth and soft but had that wonderful flavour from the marinade, perhaps from slow cooking for a long time.

The soup was also delicious and well executed -- not a drop of oil in sight despite the use of fatty pork. The broth was probably put through a cheese cloth to ensure its clarity and the taste was a good combination that wasn't too sweet but savoury too.

We were intrigued by the vegetable dish -- having two types of bitter melons together. The wait staff explained the two eaten together would have different textures, the cucumber was harder, while the melon was softer. However when it was served with thin long slices of Chinese ham, the slices of the melons and cucumbers were so large they had to be eaten separately instead of together. I had thought they would be sliced finer so that you had to eat them in one bite.

Salt-baked chicken complete with gizzard and liver
The salt-baked chicken was a huge dish. You cannot order half a chicken which is strange but also makes it difficult for smaller parties. Nevertheless, the entire chicken is presented complete with its head, gizzard and liver. It was pretty good, having a strong chicken flavour, but even though there were five of us we couldn't finish the entire thing, and also limited us from trying another dish.

Finally the fried rice was pretty good, nicely flavoured with small chunks of beef. We were all pretty full by then and could only manage a small bowl each.

However, the desserts were disappointing. By the time we ordered dessert they had run out of walnut soup and so we ordered what was called puff pastry with sago but was actually filled with lotus paste and not sago. The pastry part was not interesting at all difficult to eat. The black sesame jelly was fine, but nothing interesting.

The hype of this restaurant raised my expectations so much that I was kind of disappointed to see the uneven results or perhaps we didn't know what to order.

Nevertheless it was good to try something in the neighbourhood and maybe next time ask for better recommendations on dishes.

For five, the bill came to just over HK$1,800.

Tim's Kitchen
G/F, Jervois Street
Sheung Wan
2543 5919

1 comment:

  1. need a pretty deep pocket to afford such a meal here. $1800 is 10 days wages of a fillipino maid.