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The restaurant is set at the bottom of the atrium, two floors below the lobby of the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East. Diners have the option to reserve a private room for large parties or to sit in the main dining room against a red and dark-wood paneled modern Chinese interior. The open floor plan can be quite noisy, particularly on weekends, and seating by the public walkway can feel like a hotel lobby thanks to the passersby and echoes from the large water feature dividing the space.
Dong Lai Shun is a good introduction to Beijing cuisine; particularly to the Chinese-Muslim specialties exemplified by a number of heavily spiced mutton dishes on the menu. The restaurant is most well-known for its mutton hot pot and the separate hot pot menu boasts an impressive selection of both US and local fatty beef, as well as a variety of cuts from Inner Mongolian mutton. A wide range of organic vegetables, as well as dumplings and hand pulled noodles, are available for your choosing. Beyond hot pot, the “Mongolian style” fried lamb chops present another tempting option. The presentation is simple, but the rustic dish is anything but. A large rack of lamb, without the rib eye, is marinated in traditional Chinese-Muslim spices, with cumin being the most prominent. Its crispy skin, with just enough fat to keep the meat tender and moist, is enlightening. To balance the hearty flavours of the lamb chops, try the shredded chicken with noodles in soup. The Beijing version of chicken noodle soup with freshly hand-pulled noodles, although seemingly over-cooked, still maintains a chewy and bouncy texture. Thickened by the starch from the noodles, the chicken broth becomes rich and velvety. Balanced by thinly shredded cabbage and chicken, the dish makes a great palate cleanser. Sold by the bowl, one is enough to share between two people.
House wines include a pinot, a chardonnay, and champagne. The full wine list covers a variety of new and old world regions. The house champagne, priced at HK$136 per glass, pairs well with the heavily spiced mutton dishes.
Generally friendly and competent, the service can be a bit rushed during peak weekend hours. Dishes come at a steady pace but, but don’t be surprised if one or two get lost during service.
The price is reasonable considering the quality of the ingredients and generally adequate preparation methods. Dinner for two without hot pot will cost around HK$1,100 for two glasses of wine and four to five dishes.