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Just a stone’s throw from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, the Sheraton is in a prime Kowloon location, however being on the second floor and windowless, Celestial Court is not able to take advantage of the views. The classic marble foyer, patterned carpets and rich tomato-red dining chair upholstery is a little dated, but tables are generously spaced, keeping noise levels under control. The tableware, in particular the speciality blue and white porcelain teaware, is elegant and clearly chosen with care.
Despite dim sum usually being a daytime affair, a few classics are available on the dinner menu. We start the meal, therefore, with some shrimp dumplings (har gau) and pork, shrimp and crab roe dumplings (siu mai). These two iconic Hong Kong dim sum dishes are well executed. The siu mai in particular, uses pork that is minced in a chunkier way than usual, helping it retain moisture. The har gau is giant, filled with multiple prawns, but isn’t as juicy as we’d hoped.
The suckling pig, with just enough meat as well as fat and brittle, crispy skin, is transcendent, although the buns with which it is served are a little too dense and doughy, and could be lighter.
The double boiled fish maw soup with mushroom arrives clear as a consommé, with a large, thick Chinese mushroom. The umami flavours are restrained yet immensely comforting and satisfying.
The fried rice with egg yolk, and both fresh and dried scallops is gorgeously dry, without a lick of extra grease. There are no clumps, and each grain of rice is evenly coated in the velvety golden powder of the crushed egg yolk – a remarkable feat.
The kitchen seems to struggle with dishes that are not traditionally Cantonese, such as the prawns with termite mushrooms on crispy rice. The batter in the prawns make one question if they were sautéed as the menu says – it’s a rather soft, heavy batter that isn’t helped by further moistening from the mushroom sauce on top. Each prawn is served on its own square of crispy rice, but as the prawns are so big, eating it becomes a slight messy affair. The deep-fried chicken in “hot dry” chilli comes as an impressive plate replete with dried chillies, however it would be difficult for spice fiends to enjoy the numbing hot (mala) flavours as they are quite subtle. More importantly, the dish is overly greasy.
For a touch of Hong Kong style nostalgia, we try the mango pudding for dessert. It’s a little stiffer than we would have liked, but the chunks of fresh mango provide textural interest and a fragrant sweetness.
There are plenty of beverage choices, from wine to juices, but the tea selection and service are worth a special mention. Several types of pu’er, well loved for their perceived ability to clean the palate of grease, are available. For a caffeine-free option, the unopened buds of chrysanthemum are an intensely floral, very enjoyable option. They are all brewed in delicate teaware, although staff can be inconsistent with brew times when in a rush.
There is always someone on hand and ready to serve, and staff often takes the initiative to suggest how and what to order. Service is confident and swift.
Dinner for two comes to around $1500, including drinks, which around what one would expect of a high-end Chinese restaurant. Set menus are available and best for couples of single diners looking for suitably smaller portions.