Sunday, July 17, 2016

Elite Dining 優粵閣 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

After spending a week in Seoul last week, many of us naturally wanted some Chinese food straight away and since it's my turn to call the shots, I ended up picking Elite Dining (優粵閣), which I have long been interested in a first visit.

This is a place that was previously occupied by Guo Fu Lou (國福樓), a fine dining Chinese restaurant sitting on the 31st floor of iSQUARE with a view to the harbour. After changing names a couple of times in the past few years, it's now under the hands of Elite Concepts who also owns Nanhai No.1 directly downstairs. 

Judging from the food menu, Elite Dining is a fine dining restaurant specializing in exquisite Cantonese cuisine. At lunch, they have an extensive list of dim sums that ranges from the most popular ones (such as har gau, siu mau etc.) to the more creative items (cod fish cake in Portuguese sauce etc.). As expected from an upscale eatery (with a bit of harbourview), prices are slightly on the high side.

Steamed “har gau” (筍尖蝦餃) ($48) - Starting things off with this was the right call. The har gau was in a perfect bite size and stuffed with lots of shrimps and bamboo shot. Pretty nice.

Steamed black truffle and wild mushroom dumpling (黑松露野菌餃) ($48) - This has become a regular in every Cantonese dim sum restaurant in recent years. I found this to be pretty good as they chose to use a more subtle black truffle sauce rather than an overpowering one which was nice. Not the best I've had but definitely not bad.

Pumpkin and egg white dumplings (蛋白南瓜粿) ($38) - The one dim sum I could probably do without. I was curious about the marriage between egg white and pumpkin and sadly it just didn't work out. All I was able to taste were poached pumpkin and the pumpkin flavored wrapper but no sign of the egg white at all.

Beef Tripe with satay sauce (沙爹金錢肚) ($38) - Pretty delicious and the small drizzle of satay sauce was perfect. Love the slightly chewy and springy texture.

Vegetarian spring rolls (脆皮素春卷) ($36) - I was hoping that they have a non-vegetarian version but this was okay. Very crispy on the outside yet soft and moist inside.

Pan-fried Japanese wagyu bun (生煎和牛飽) ($46) - Everyone looks a little hungry today but thankfully, the buns arrived just in the nick of time. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with the results of this dish.

I hate pan-fried buns (生煎飽) which are dripping with oil and this one easily passed with its dry and airy texture. As soon as I had my first bite, juice from the wagyu beef immediately popped out like it's supposed to. Very nicely done.

Steamed barbecued pork bun with abalone sauce (鮑汁叉燒飽) ($36) - Less interesting were the steamed BBQ pork buns. I still like the soft and fluffy texture but the fillings were not as exciting as the previous one. 

Deep-fried glutinous rice puffin laksa flavor (喇沙鹹水角) ($42) - One of my favorite dishes on the afternoon. That said a lot coming from a person who normally doesn't eat "salty fried dumplings".

The deep fried glutinous balls had just the picture perfect texture and they were nicely complemented by a lovely fillings of pork and a flavorful sauce. No sign of the promised laska but still very very tasty.  

Pan-fried taro cake with minced pork (香煎腩肉芋絲餅) ($45) - One of those from the "creative" bunch. Here we have pieces of succulent pork belly sandwiched in between strips of taro and they pan-fried them into golden brown color. Very well designed and executed dish and one you don't see very often probably due to the amount of preparation time. Strongly recommended.

Rice roll with fried dough and minced pork (蔥花五花腩炸両) ($48) - Another innovative dish from this kitchen that seems to love pork belly. This time, the pork belly was minced before being stuffed inside the fried dough and rice roll. Looks good on paper but it didn't taste nearly as good.

I didn't know if I could say that I've enjoyed this partial harbourview. But from where we were seated, it felt as if we were put "behind bars". 

This was a very good outing for the enjoyment of (Cantonese) food. Make no mistake this is no Tin Lung Heen or Spring Moon but it's pretty darn good for a restaurant not housed inside a hotel. However, the same could not be said about the service. In brief, we thought we were left all alone inside a room where they rarely came to check up on us. I'll just leave it at that.

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 31/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2487-3788

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