Be part of the in-crowd and receive exclusive party invitations and fabulous offers.SIGN UP WITH TATLER
Conceived and designed by Sir David Tang, the Harbour City outpost of China Tang takes up a lengthy space within the top level of Tsim Sha Tsui’s popular arcade. Guests entering the carpeted restaurant are greeted with a dazzling display of flower patterns and a vibrant palette of colours. The flower-themed restaurant spaces vary by colours, from the main dining room’s crimson and rusty orange to private dining rooms in shades of gold, chartreuse, and blue, complete with sophisticated Chinoiserie-style floral patterns as embellishments. The half-drawn curtains may block the sea view slightly but it offers the dining space a more intimate ambiance.
The a la carte menu at China Tang is all about Chinese, gathering influences from the country’s regional cuisines, from Jiangnan cold dishes to locally-inspired barbecued meats and a mixed selection of provincial specialties. Standard portions serve two generously, and we recommend a party of four for the opportunity to try a bit of everything from the menu.
We started our meal with marinated shrimps with huadiao wine and plum. Served on a bed of ice, the coral curls are crunchy the sweet wine and preserved plum penetrating through the meat. Osmanthus honey-glazed barbecue eel is equally satisfying with crisp skin and rich meat, although the skinny strips of eel are better off in larger chunks instead.
Sifting through the menu featuring both traditional and new Cantonese dishes, we preferred China Tang’s effort to preserve the traditional Cantonese repertoire with its offerings. The traditional baked chicken with rock salt is impressive. Lining the plate is half a chicken, golden brown but tender on the skin and equally so in the breast meat. The five-spice salt gives the bird a welcoming depth. The sweet and sour pork with pickled ginger and pineapple features tender strips of pork with equal proportion of meat and fat, deep-fried and tossed in the wok with just the right sweet-tart proportion in its sauce. The pickled ginger lends a much-needed sharpness to the beloved dish.
Vegetable lovers will rejoice over the abundant selection of vegetarian dishes. Casserole of tofu cooked with Chongqing pickled vegetables arrived in a clay pot. Sichuan cuisine lovers will adore the complexity the pickles contribute to the broth but the dish brings fiery numbness in every bite. Fried noodles are reliable, and the wok-fried rice noodles with green kale and preserved turnip was of a jolly good standard, where flat rice noodles were loose, while slices of green kale retained their crunchy texture.
Desserts were slightly disappointing, as the ground almond cream was lukewarm, too thin, and too sweet. The restaurant’s signature steamed dark sugar cane sponge cakes with honey was soft but like the almond cream, the sweetness was overpowering.
The wine list at China Tang is an impressive read: page after page of exclusive bottles and limited edition labels can be found. Wine by the glass option and cocktails belong to the bar menu, available only on request. Domaine Corinne and Jean-Pierre Grossot Chablis 2014 brings complex aroma and stony flavours to the palate, yielding in complexity that makes the wine an easily drinkable one especially paired with sweet notes in the sweet and sour pork and grilled eel. The Urlar Pinot Gris 2013 from Gladstone, New Zealand is a vibrant pinot noir, starting with refreshing aromas of pear, followed by creaminess and a lengthy finish, making it suitable pairing for Cantonese signatures offered at China Tang.
On the night of our visit, the restaurant was barely half filled and service staff were attentive and alert, and dishes were delivered promptly. Predominantly Chinese, some staff showed a lack of ease in explaining the menu to foreign guests despite full familiarisation with the restaurant’s signature offerings.
A full dinner for two including one glass of wine each amounts to slightly over HK$1,500. The pricing for this Chinese fine dining restaurant is reasonable compared to others of the same stature, if only we could hope for a better flow in service and consistency in food quality.