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Lung King Heen is located on the quiet fourth floor of the Four Seasons Hong Kong and, should you be dining here for the first time, the simplicity of the decor may come as a surprise. Smooth wood floors and hints of red in the pillars and the chairs are as lavish as things get, the room a vision of understated luxury, giving the harbourside vista the full attention it deserves. Discreet design details, such as blue-and-white vases and wooden medicine cabinets, anchor the restaurant to Chinese traditions without veering into the kitsch.
Chef Chan Yan-tak’s honed skills have contributed to a rather extensive menu of primarily Cantonese classics, pieced together with the finest ingredients available. In the daytime, the dim sum selection takes centre stage as perfect little parcels of steamed, baked and fried varieties arrive that stun with an artful precision and clarity of flavour; in the evening, a lavish procession of dishes can be as extravagant or as humble as you like. On previous visits, we have been impressed by the execution of fanciful dishes such as steamed goose liver with abalone sauce or the roasted Peking duck that requires at least six hours’ advance ordering. This year, we were also taken aback by the pristine flavours that shone through in some of the more home-style dishes. We found a dish of simple sautéed shredded potato – a working-class staple commonly found in northern China – wonderfully imbued with the smoky flavour of the wok, each piece of tuber refreshingly crisp to the bite and evenly anointed with the restaurant’s signature vegetarian XO sauce. Another example would be the dace fishcakes with lotus root, fried to a golden-brown crust that yields to a bouncy patty. Golden-brown and with a subtle citrusy fragrance, the crispy chicken with preserved mandarin peel is an excellent dish, best eaten as soon as it hits the table. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a certain elegance to the presentation of braised asparagus stuffed in pristine white bamboo piths, served with small quenelles of tofu pricked with a colourful mirepoix of vegetables. For dessert, the house signature chilled mango and pomelo cream is heads and shoulders above versions found anywhere else; the surprise comes in the form of a mound of mango pudding hidden underneath the fragrant coconut-imbued cream, adding extra layers to this already outstanding rendition.
The wine service here is excellent, and a testament to the breadth and quality of the list as well as the knowledge of staff – pairing wines with Chinese cuisine is not necessarily the easiest of tasks, considering the myriad flavours and textures to be found in this delicate cuisine. Our waitress confidently recommended a Klumpp Riesling, which was refreshingly bracing in temperature and matched well with some of the richer dishes in our meal.
Service is as sweet as it comes, with a crew of staff confident in dish suggestions. We were also given a helpful tip: you can request half-portions of most dishes if you wish to try a wider range of food. This kind of professionalism leaves a lingering impression long after we leave.
A meal for two with wine and service can range from HK$1,500 to over HK$2,000 depending on the kinds of dishes you order, with the premium seafood highlights obviously setting you back more. However, the quality of the cooking coupled with the vista and professional service certainly makes it a bill that is justified.