Jimmy’s Kitchen review date: June 3, 2015
You’ll know it by the Beef Stroganoff of Wong Beef Rice. Maybe it’s the Steak Diane or Sole Veronique. Dishes that speak of an earlier, quieter, gentler time, before people spent longer photographing their meal than actually eating it.
Dinners when conversation flowed – and if it didn’t, a temporary silence bothered no one. Candlelight, not communal light pollution. Unbroken eye contact over two hours – not four heads bowed simultaneously at an ungodly angle, individually worshipping screens.
Wood panelling, wrought iron, heavy stone, red velvet, dark corners for assignations. Slightly Teutonic undertones, a faux Swiss chalet. Not a large filament bulb in sight, nothing upcycled, reclaimed or recently beachcombed.
White crockery, round plates. Tables pre-set. No slates or Mason Jars here. Pinkish pickled onions in a small covered dish – “famous”. Bread served with butter, not olive oil.
Tom Watson, gentleman maitre’d and GM from the old school with a keen eye and quick smile. Bubbles for the lady. An elegantly-dressed, late middle age Chinese couple crack on with a couple pints of Guinness. Donald Byrd serenades, as does Brian Simpson. Tom agrees live jazz would be swell, in a corner. Maybe one day.
The menu only needs a glance. Chicken Kiev, all the way. ‘Saving room for dessert’ – the words come out almost by themselves. A breadcrumbed poultry pyramid, mash, hefty steamed vegetables. A scatter of parsley. No schoolboy errors here, a quick incision down low avoids a hot garlic shower. The plate floods, as it should.
After, there can only be one, again. Baked Alaska. The Liberace of desserts, needlessly over-the-top, but quietly admired. Diced fruit, some sponge, the afterthoughts underneath. It’s the meringue and ice cream, the volcano of booze, that you really came for. No disappointments here. This was tailor-made for posting and sharing – so pass around the Polaroids.
Jimmy’s opened in 1928 near the Old China Fleet Club in Lockhart Road, before moving forty seven years later to its current home in Wyndham Street. Dinner from $300 for two courses.
South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, Hong Kong. +852 2526 5293 http://www.jimmys.com/