Friday, April 29, 2016

Lei Garden IFC (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Lei Garden at IFC used to be the place I threw all my welcome lunch parties for visiting colleagues from overseas but that was a while ago when I was still working in the area. Things have changed a lot between now and then. I am no longer working in the same field and man, the Michelin god has really been smiling on Lei Garden (Did they ever!?) in the past few years. In fact, almost every one of their locations (I mean almost) has garnered a star solidifying their status as one of the top Chinese restaurants in the city.

This is the same old dining room since Day One. Nothing has changed.

Fragrant rice with minced conpoy wrapped in lotus leaf (飄香荷葉飯) ($158) - The last item we ordered turns out to be the first to arrive.

This is full of flavors as usual. I wish there were more meat or mushrooms in there on top of the dried scallops but it's still reasonably good stuff.

Cantonese style layered sponge cake (馬拉千層糕) ($38) - This is very spongy and pretty airy. I was expecting slightly bigger portion though.

Deep fried mashed taro with diced pork (蜂巢芋盒) ($42) - The deep fried mashed taro was very fluffy and light on the outside with savory diced pork and mushroom stuffed inside. I won't mind having another dish of these again.

Dumplings in chili oil (紅油抄手) ($43) - It's a bit of a mistake on my part to order this dish at a Cantonese restaurant when it's supposed to be a Shanghainese specialty. This one is just not working for me. Not chilly enough and the dumplings not as tasty as expected.

Steamed dumpling with mushroom (雲南野菌餃) ($42) - Contrary to the previous dumpling dish, these steamed dumplings were pretty darn good. I thought the wrapper was a little thick but I love the flavors and textures coming from the assorted mushrooms. Pretty fragrant too. Not bad.

Steamed rice-flour roll with spring onion and sesame (香葱芝麻滑腸粉) ($43) - I had this last time when I was at Xi Yue (八月芳). Reminded me a lot of my childhood days when mom used to carry a brown paper bag full of these home after visiting the market. They used to have two versions of these back then, this savory one served with hoisin and sesame sauce and another sweet one made with sugarcane.

Anyways, I was really looking forward to having this again and it took them 25 minutes (I was counting!) to get it ready. So I supposed it was made to order. This was fairly tasty, especially after mixing soy sauce, hoisin, sesame and chili sauce into it. Along with the deep fried mashed taro, those were the two best dishes of the afternoon.

As I've said many times here, I don't really follow the Michelin Guide when it comes to Chinese food. I am personally not a big fan of Michelin starred "restaurant chains" because if Lei Garden is getting all the love, then perhaps others like Dragon King (龍皇), Xin Dau Ji (新斗記) or even the high-end Maxim's (in fact, I think Peking Garden in Central did receive a star in 2016.) should also get some serious consideration too. But I guess as always, the Guide for Hong Kong and Macau should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 3008, 3/F, IFC, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 2295-0238

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