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Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
With a swirling forest green carpet and low-backed padded chairs, the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira is luxurious and calming. Located on the third floor of the hotel, it doesn’t offer much of a view but a glittering shower of glass lights suspended from the ceiling makes up for the lack of. Generously sized tables and darkened mirrored walls create a sense of space, wide enough to feel private even while dining in the main areas. The lighting is dim and sets the mood for relaxing and quiet conversation.
The variety at Cuisine Cuisine is impressive, with traditional Cantonese fare listed alongside less commonly seen combinations. The barbecued pork (HK$130) is a signature dish and is very well roasted, with just the right amount of fat and flesh filled with a rich smoky flavour. For appetisers, try the grilled eel tossed with osmanthus sauce (HK$70). Its slightly crispy outer layer quickly gives way to a surprisingly chewy texture and is topped off with fragrant osmanthus sauce that adds the right amount of sweetness. The braised bamboo piths stuffed with Parma ham and Yunnan ham (HK$150) is an interesting combination on paper, but fails to impress on the palate. Birds nest is strongly featured, with a whole page dedicated to it on the menu. The birds nest with crab meat (HK$300) is not very thick and the soup is made sweet with generous doses of crab meat. For dessert, try the chilled champagne jelly and mango pudding topped with pomelo and sago in coconut juice (HK$48). Although the jelly is right at the bottom, it is worth the wait and eating past the smooth milky mango pudding is hardly a chore. The taste of champagne is not too strong either, resulting in a delightfully fruity treat.
The wine list at Cuisine Cuisine includes an extensive range of varietals primarily from the old world, especially France, and categorised according to region. There are also a few unexpected choices from countries such as Hungary and Lebanon. The list of teas is also extensive, and includes premium Chinese leaves.
The staff is intuitive enough to anticipate most needs without being asked. Portions can be scaled according to group size and the number of dishes you would like to try. Do ask for recommendations both from and off the menu.
HK$500 per person would be enough to let you try a good range of dishes without wine, which is good value considering the elegant setting and the well-executed haute Chinese cuisine.