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Located in the cul-de-sac of Ashley Road, one of Tsim Sha Tsui’s many restaurant hubs, Jimmy’s Kitchen is a living, breathing specimen of culinary history. Although refurbished in recent years, it retains its old-world ambiance thanks to the timber-panelled walls, generously sized leather banquette seats, parquetted floors and vintage tchotchkes dotted throughout the dining room. The front section of the restaurant is a bar area, where the large projector screen will often be showing live sporting matches, usually football. For groups needing more privacy, there is a semi-private area towards the back of the restaurant.
We whet our palates with that beloved Hong Kong classic, borscht soup. The petite portion size would make a Russian grandmother weep, but then again this is a Hong Kong version, so it’s a beefy tomato-based soup full of soft leaves of cabbage. It’s quite satisfying and the tartness prepares us for the heavier dishes to come.
In a most incredible feat of food engineering, the chicken supreme Kiev arrives as a perfectly golden brown, orange-sized balloon of breaded, very thinly pounded chicken that practically bursts as soon as it is cut open, flooding the plate with melted garlic and herb butter. It’s a dramatic dish, no doubt, although it would have been even better if the chicken were slightly more substantial so that we could taste it and enjoy its own juices rather than relying on the butter for moisture.
Jimmy's beef stroganoff is rich and full of flavour, but not overly creamy, with umami undertones and tartness thanks to the addition of tomato paste. The slow-cooked onion is beautifully tender and sweet. It can be served with either rice or noodles, and we found that rice was a great way to mop up the sauce.
For dessert, we decide to close the meal with a suitably retro baked Alaska, which serves two (and can be made larger for larger groups). After a half-hour wait, about which we had been duly notified upon ordering the dish, it’s flambéed tableside. It’s more about the drama than the ice-cream and cake inside, although the thick layer of marshmallow-like meringue was done to textbook perfection.
The wine list offers a good number of wines by the glass, and a safe selection of mostly mid-range New and Old World wines. For such a classic restaurant, there are some surprisingly progressive inclusions, such as organic wines. Although the wine list doesn’t include much information beyond what’s on the label, they are grouped by flavour profile or body, such as “lemons and limes”, “peppery and spicy”, and “medium to full”, which is quite helpful.
Many of the servers at Jimmy’s Kitchen have been at the restaurant for decades. Dressed smartly in their waistcoats and suits, they’re part of the charm and keep the restaurant running like clockwork. They’re able to recommend dishes, wines, and are communicative about dishes that might have a longer wait.
Dinner for two with one starter, two main courses, a shared dessert and a glass of wine comes to around $1500, which is a little pricey considering the quality of the food, however, if you find yourself in need of a reliable dose of nostalgia, it’s a reasonable choice.