Tin Lung Heen, Hong Kong: XO for XO at the RC


  08.08.16    Hong Kong     Michelin Stars


With two Michelin stars, Tin Lung Heen at the Ritz Carlton is one of the world’s most acclaimed Cantonese restaurants. It’s also the highest, at 102 floors up above the West Kowloon Cultural District, somewhere which seems to have been under construction since I moved to Hong Kong eleven years ago. It’s a very elegant space, while the views would be stellar if it wasn’t chucking it down, but even glimpses between the clouds remind what an extraordinary skyline the city boasts.

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Some Jasmine tea lubricates the lunch which starts with a bowl of candied walnuts. The ultimate brain food, if any excuse were needed. Then three of chef Paul Lau Ping Lui’s signature dim sum – and three absolute beauties. The dumplings are sublime, enormous shrimp and scallops, a two-biter of perfect produce and technique.

TIN LUNG HEEN HONG KONG REVIEW

Pork = tick. Iberian Pork = double tick. Barbecued Iberian pork = Triple tick. Barbecued Iberian pork with honey = Quadruple tick. I would eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if only my doctor would allow me.

TIN LUNG HEEN HONG KONG REVIEW

One point to add, namely that their XO sauce is the bomb. I know it was invented at a local rival hotel, butI would put this on pretty much any food. It’s a mix of dried scallops, shrimp, and chilis along with ham, oil, and any number of good spices and seasonings. It’s expensive because of the ingredients and got its gangster name from extra-old cognac which was the height of 1970’s bling. But anyway it’s an umami tsunami and accompanies the dim sum to perfection.

Next up,  a steamed crab claw in egg white with hua diao wine. While I wouldn’t have chosen it from a menu, I’m glad my companion had the foresight as it was delicate and fragrant and the perfect stage for the crab to shine, allowing the sweet white flesh to contrast with the smooth and occasionally sharp egg. Every new Chinese dish is a lesson in texture and mouthfeel, nowhere more so than here.

TIN LUNG HEEN HONG KONG REVIEW

The same could be said of the next, a Chinese soup unlike any other I’d tried, double-boiled chicken with fish maw in baby coconut. This was true chicken-soup-for-the-soul stuff, a restorative bowl that immediately made you feel better. Its flavours were subtle and balanced, gently sweet and brimming with collagen which, apparently, is a good thing.

TIN LUNG HEEN HONG KONG REVIEW

To finish an excellent lunch, chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo. The executive set lunch is $648 (dishes vary) with dim sum also available à la carte.

TIN LUNG HEEN HONG KONG REVIEW