I have trouble keeping up with restaurants coming and going in the LKF tower. I find the lifts there weirdly fascinating as you try to ascertain who is heading where. Are they a Carbone date night? Birthday drinks at Lily and Bloom? New-ish spot Fang Fang is on the 8th floor, with a bar as you walk in.
Two things grab your attention, firstly some groovy lights in the bar which reminded me of the vortex challenge from The Adventure Game, waaaaaay back in the day.
Secondly was the two mixologists knocking up some very nice numbers. Women crafting drinks shouldn’t be an attention-catcher, but it is only because it’s not a common sight. Their drinks were bang-on, especially the dangerously tasty Wu Shing. It sounded like a car crash: pineapple rum, Sichuan pepper, banana, yoghurt, lime, chili – but drank like a chauffered drive along the Corniche. A cracking aperitif.
Inside the restaurant proper, their schtick is pan-Asian, a ‘Contemporary Asian Restaurant & Bar experience’. This is pretty ambitious in its scope. Would someone launch a pan-European restaurant? As if you need reminding, Asia in the world’s largest and most populous continent, so to try and distill its cuisine in one spot makes it feel, well a bit lacking in focus. Fang Fang is seemingly ‘A mysterious Chinese opera singer, the jewel of Shanghai’, but maybe her imaginary travels could have done with a better travel agent.
The tunes are also eclectic, to say the least, from the 1940’s toe-tapper In The Mood to the still very listenable Hard to Handle, the Black Crows (not original Otis Redding) version:
And so to the plates. A generously-stuffed ‘posh duck roll’ ($75) was filled with very good shredded duck, with a good but slightly salty hoi sin. My photo looked borderline indecent, so here’s theirs. And yes, they’ve gone for the cigar feels.
Next, you can tell by the photo that these were disappointing gyoza – not two words you normally read together. No colour, no crispness. A dish that needed work and longer in the pan. Kent Lee, former Executive Chef of Hakkasan in both Mumbai and Miami is the man in charge of the menu and I imagine he’d have words with a plate sent out like that.
Much prettier, but still lacking oomph, were more gyoza with edamame and truffle ($85). The latter was especially absent – although of course there is no truffle in truffle oil, just a compound unappetizingly called 2,4-Dithiapentane.
Stir Fried Hand Pull Noodles with King Soy Sauce ($115) were good eating and well-flavoured, although a pretty small serving if you were looking to carb up.
The best came last in the Stir Fried Wagyu Tenderloin ($350). You can see all the glorious black sticky bits from the pan as the Maillard Reaction reaches its apex in a wok. Good quality meat, not messed around with.