July 15, 2015

Incredible Cantonese Food at The Chairman 大班樓, Hong Kong


One of the most memorable meals I've eaten in Hong Kong this time round has to be at The Chairman in Central. 

The Chairman really is Cantonese food at it's finest. Cantonese specific restaurants in Hong Kong are not that easy to find as they usually incorporate other Chinese regions such as Peking or Hunan to name a few, and what makes The Chairman stand out from the rest is the beautifully delicate yet deeply intense flavours. The ingredients and seasoning work so well with each other, and layers of flavour are gently revealed with each bite. Another bonus is that no MSG is used so you can really taste the ingredients used.  

I've eaten at fine dining Chinese restaurants before where flavours are too delicate and it loses its original and traditional charm. The Chairman does so well to retain the characteristics of the dishes and even brings a new dimension with clever use of western ingredients. 

If you are going to Hong Kong for a holiday or already live in Hong Kong, The Chairman is a must visit. I can bet that you will appreciate just how good Cantonese cuisine can get, it's just knowing where to find it!   

Tea smoked pigeon. Lightly smoked and infused with a gentle tea flavour, the roast pigeon was succulent in the inside with perfectly crispy skin that didn't feel oily. A friend once said, the head is the best part of the pigeon. I never believed her until I took a bite on this one.  

Double boiled fritillaries and pigeon soup. Double boiled soup entails putting all the ingredients into porcelain pot like the above, and then steaming it with water in another saucepan over a few hours. Soup made this way always packs an intense flavour yet retains a really clean taste. This one was meaty, clean and had a lovely savoury flavour with a slight sweet note.

My favourite of the evening had to be this salted fish and pork mince patty. The meat was bouncy and juicy, the ratio of salty fish to meat was perfect, just enough to lift the dish and didn't overpower it with salt.

There was also a crunch from the finely chopped water chestnuts, providing the perfect contrast against the meat texture. It was so perfect on it's own that I was reluctant to use the Italian balsamic vinegar dip that accompanied it. Surely balsamic vinegar it too strong against this delicate dish? Oh boy was I wrong and I am so glad I tried it!

It had been watered down slightly and resembled the Chinese black vinegar, but the difference is balsamic tastes fruitier and was a match made in heaven with pork.

This Cantonese dish really was given justice and the slight fusion was finely executed.

Wagyu beef stir fried with kai lan. True to it's Cantonese values, the beef is flash fried first before it is used in the stir fry. It seals the meat juice and gives meat a silkier mouth feel as opposed to a rough texture. There was a gentle hint of the 'breath of wok', giving this dish a nice smokey flavour.

Spare ribs with preserved plum. I loved the idea of this dish, it's a new twist on the classic plum ribs.

The rib meat is so juicy, meaty and cooked just right. It was tender to eat yet retained a nice bite. Unfortunately, I didn't think the preserved plum worked because the after taste was just like what you get with artificial sweeteners; a flat, empty sugary taste.

I'm more than sure that the preserved plums were made using sweeteners, but if the chef switches back to normal preserved plums that is preserved with real sugar, this would sort the problem out.

Mixed mushrooms with fried tofu. Good choice on the different types of mushrooms and tofu cooked very nicely. It wasn't mind blowing, but it helped balance out the stronger flavoured dishes we had already ordered.

Plain steamed grouper fish. I'm not a fan of grouper, the flesh is usually too slippery and silken for my liking and I've only eaten it twice in my life where I've whole-heartedly enjoyed it. Tonight was one of them. The fish was just cooked so it was silky with a firm flesh. The soya sauce was the right amount of savoury balanced with some sugar and oil. So good!

We were all quite excited by this dessert, osmanthus and goji berry ice cream. Osmanthus and goji berry s a typical and traditional Chinese dessert flavour, and to see it Westernised in an ice cream was intriguing. The sweetness was just right, not too sweet and it really was delicious. The flavours were not very pronounced as an ice cream, but somehow, it gave the ice cream a delicious taste. I'd consider this a well experimented and executed dessert.

A traditional almond tea. It tastes way more authentic that what you get from a packet, but since it's still almond milk, it didn't excite me much. Perhaps the osmanthus and goji berry just stole the show on the dessert front.

The waiting staff were mainly middle aged men who really knew the menu. Our server was very pleasant and able to explain most of the dishes we had enquired about in great depth, and it's always an experience in itself when the staff know a good deal about the food.

Our dinner was full of finesse and for 4 people, the bill came to around $2200 (the fish was the expensive one at $600) which is pretty good value for money considering the taste and quality. If you are looking to taste some true Cantonese cuisine at it's finest, The Chairman is a must.

Address:
The Chairman
G/F, 18 Kau U Fong
Central
Hong Kong


2 comments

  1. Pigeon soup is so good and no MSG that is rare! That's really price, like you said fish is usually the most expensive since it's so fresh.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mandy and yes no MSG at all, yet the flavours were outstanding! Must visit when you're next in HK =)

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