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The New World Millennium hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant is rather attractively done up in a way that defies the traditional palette of reds and golds. Instead, the room’s key tones are cool blue and grey, with wooden flooring and angular furniture. The room is long and spacious, with tables nicely spread out so that conversations tend not to carry over. There is opportunity for enjoying a sea view from the tables next to the window, though it’s a vista that also includes quite a few laneways of traffic.
The menu is broad, encompassing many Cantonese classics presented on an iPad for easy flicking. Seasonal specials are also available on a separate menu, so do ask staff for recommendations. A signature of the restaurant is the barbecued pork with osmanthus honey sauce, and the dish does deliver with its floral aromas and subtle sweetness. However the pork would have been even better had it been more caramelised on the surface. There are other dishes that are highlighted on the menu with large, full-page images, and we saw many other tables order the same selections: one of which being crispy rice topped with smoked silver cod and thousand island dressing. It’s a bit unwieldy as the pieces of fish are quite large, but they are nicely prepared, with a crisp exterior and juicy interior. Quite a few dishes proffer a theatrical aspect too, such as drunken shrimps, which are flambéed in a claypot tableside. The choi sum in our simmered vegetables with bamboo pith, shredded Jinhua ham and garlic cloves are old and tough, but the dish is saved by its clear, sweet bouillon and crunchy bamboo piths. For dessert, there are plenty of options ranging from double-boiled bird’s nest in coconut juice to chilled fresh mango pudding.
The restaurant offers the hotel’s master wine list, which offers general choices from most major wine producing countries. The highlight for Tao Li’s customers would be the Chinese yellow wine and spirit selection, which includes quite a few vintages.
Service is the highlight at this restaurant, with staff being attentive without being intrusive. Teacups were kept topped up throughout and the general demeanour of waiters was very positive and welcoming.
A meal for two with tea and service comes to over HK$1,000, which is a little on the high side for the variable quality of the ingredients and location.