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Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Located on the first floor of The Langham Hong Kong, restaurant is reachable by elevator or stairs directly from the main lobby. With low ceilings, awkwardly patchy lighting and greyish gold wallpaper, T’ang Court’s dining room wouldn’t be much to look at if it were not for the impressive art collection adorning its walls, such as imposing, ceiling-height photographs by renowned contemporary Chinese artist Chen Jiagang. With thick carpets and plenty of space between tables, however, sound levels are kept under control. Tables are set professionally with quality tablecloths and flatware, as would be expected of a luxury hotel.
T’ang Court offers traditional Cantonese fare done in a fine dining setting, which means premium ingredients like wagyu beef and classic luxuries such as abalone feature heavily. Crab roe is prized mostly for its intense flavour and is used quite often here; in the dish of sautéed prawns and crab roe with golden-fried pork and crabmeat puffs, the roe is devoid of flavour despite its alluring deep orange colour, but the prawns are cooked well. Nonetheless, the issue isn’t as obvious in the sautéed seasonal vegetables with crabmeat and crab roe, as the crab has been cooked into a well-seasoned sauce. The asparagus (the seasonal vegetable suggested to us for the dish) was incredibly crisp and sweet. Steamed sliced pork with preserved vegetables is a classic Hakka dish made with pork belly. The belly has several alternating layers of lean pork and fat, but the lean parts have lost their juices completely and are dry, which may be a result of trying to cook the dish too quickly. The deceptively simple dish of congee with sliced abalone and shredded chicken is hearty without being heavy, and does a wonderful job of layering of flavours and textures. For dessert, the chilled fresh milk with ginger juice cake is like a panna cotta spiked with intense ginger, which is a nice twist on the traditional hot preparation, and its impossibly silky, smooth texture is irresistible.
The hotel’s wine list is diverse and includes some rare selections from countries such as Lebanon, Thailand and China, although French bottles still make up the bulk of the list. Pairings for particular signature dishes are handily suggested on the menu, although more information on the wine list would be helpful.
Despite not having a huge number of tables, the service at T’ang Court can be a little absent-minded or indifferent when the restaurant is busy. Dishes are not introduced when they arrive and simple gestures such as refilling teacups hardly happen.
Dinner for two comes to around HK$1,600. At this price, both food and service need a bit of brushing up.