Hong Kong: Man Wah 文華廳 (*)

11 Dec

I must admit that I haven’t exactly been too wowed by Dim Sum in Hong Kong yet, though Tim Ho Wan comes the closest because of its sheer value and excellent baked char siew baos. Hence for this short trip, I aimed to venture into the higher end of the Dim Sum resty spectrum, but not Lung King Heen or Fook Lam Moon since I read quite polarising reviews. Man Wah, located at Mandarin Oriental Hotel has been highly rated by foodies and on OpenRice, many long proclaiming that it’s deserving of at least one Michelin star which it just received. Interestingly though I only made a reservation the night before our Saturday lunch, there were still tables available.

Although you can’t see it (the sun was very bright and my photography skills are lacking – sorry about that!), Man Wah overlooks Victoria Harbour. The view is simply gorgeous! A postcard perfect view of Hong Kong, really.

And the decor is lovely too, very elegant and classic oriental without being too old fashioned and opulent.

I also liked the pretty tableware. We ordered Pu-Lei tea which was at the right intensity throughout the whole meal, not too bitter. We waited for our friend who was late for almost 40 mins before we ordered but not once did the staff hurry us to order or made us feel uncomfortable (though I personally did as it was quite a posh/old money place). In fact they were quite warm and friendly.

We were served a very generous portion of their awesome Signature X.O. Chilli Sauce, and during the meal they actually gave us a new serving and cleared our half eaten one (ahh what a waste!).

We were served an appetiser of Deep Fried Anchovies and Peanuts. The anchovies were lightly dusted with flour and deep fried. Quite yums.

The Beef Tenderloin Puff with Black Pepper Sauce 黑椒牛柳酥 (98 HKD) is one of the signature dim sum dishes. It was quite good, the beef was tender and I liked their black pepper sauce.

The Tiger Prawn with Bamboo Shoot Dumpling 筍尖蝦餃皇 (88 HKD) was different from other Har Gaos I’ve had because of the addition of bamboo shoots. And it works because the sweetness and crunchiness of the shoots complement the prawns quite well. Skin was also thin and moist, a must in my book for Har Gaos!

The Pork Siew Mai with Truffle 松露菌燒賣 (88 HKD) didn’t fare as well for me because the truffle didn’t taste as strong as it should have been. Still, it was an okay Siew Mai.

I can’t remember much about the Barbequed Pork Bun 蠔皇叉燒包 (68 HKD) so it must been okay. I guess nothing can beat the Baked Char Siew Baos of Tim Ho Wan!

We ordered the U.S. Pork Neck, Kuei Hua Flavoured Pear, Chin Kiang Vinegar 桂花梨黑醋脆豬柳 (198 HKD) as it seemed quite raved about (it was on the more pricey a la carte menu). Pork neck sounds potentially yucky but I can assure you its texture is like nice fatty pork, but without the big jiggly fatty bits that I usually tear away. The osmanthus flavour was infused into the pear and I guess you were supposed to eat the pork with bits of pear but I don’t think my dining companions bothered. I did like the tangy pork neck on its own though. Essentially, IMO it’s a very nuanced and classy take on 糖醋排骨 (Sugar and Vinegar Pork Ribs).

Another signature a la carte dish, this was the Double Boiled, Silk Hen, Pearl Clam, Wolfberry, Chinese Herbs 竹絲雞石斛杞子燉珍珠肉 (208 HKD/bowl). I admit I ordered it partially because of the words “Silk Hen” and “Pearl Clam”. It was super flavourful in the nourishing no-MSG way, and it better be with that price tag I guess :P Definitely not your average chicken soup.

We were surprised that we were served complimentary petit fours – Mango Coconut Custard Pudding and a Baked Walnut and Lotus Paste Pastry. Both were delicious, especially the walnut pastry! We all agreed on this one. The pastry was so buttery and had a nice, slightly burnt smell if you know what I mean. We didn’t order more dishes since we were saving stomach space for Sift Patisserie next door, but after this course I was really very full.

Even the toilet is gorgeous, I couldn’t resist a picture.

Overall all the dishes we ordered were quite good, and very sophisticated in quality – there was none of that greasiness/lard in a lot of the Dim Sum in Hong Kong which I really don’t like. Service was just excellent. But I guess to me it was a little pricey for the quality (especially dishes on the a la carte menu), since you can get similar quality dishes at a fraction of the price in Hong Kong and even Singapore. You are definitely paying for ambiance, service and location; since the lower end experiences in Hong Kong usually have none to speak of. Still, there were still other interesting sounding Dim Sum dishes like Roast Goose Puff in Yanmin Sauce and Minced Pigeon with Chinese Celery Dumplings that I would love to try next time…after I’ve tried Fook Lam Moon and Lung King Heen ;)

Price: $$$-$$$$ (300 HKD per pax for the above)
Location: 25th floor, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road, Central
Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong/dining/restaurants/man_wah/

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