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Located on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental, uber-British restaurant The Chinnery has been around since 1963 and it doesn’t look like much has changed in the past 50 years. It is named after British artist George Chinnery, whose portraits of Hong Kong and its colonial and merchant elite still adorn the walls. Along with the wooden ceilings, framed glass partitions and dangerously comfortable leather seats, The Chinnery is charming and authentically old-fashioned without a hint of kitsch. The soundtrack is of newspapers rustling, gentle clinking of cutlery and jazz piped out over the sound system, while the clientele continues to be mostly male. For ultimate privacy, make sure to ask for the L-shaped table tucked around the back, it is the perfect table for date night.
Reading the menu of The Chinnery is like stepping into a time machine. Fish pies, calf’s liver, scotch eggs, bangers and mash: all are unironically available and more importantly, of excellent quality. We start with two items from the snacks menu: scotch eggs and bone marrow. The former are made with quails’ eggs and served with tartar sauce. A few are cooked just the way we like them, slightly gooey in the middle, but others are closer to hard-boiled. The crust is excellent, but we found the Cumberland pork wrapped around the eggs a tad dry. The roasted bone marrow dishes consists of a heap of perfectly cooked cubes of unctuous marrow, which would be even better if they just had a dash more salt. Moving onto mains, the signature bangers and mash are a comforting staple that would be very good if it were hotter and had more gravy. The fish pie has a modern beachside appearance, as one half is topped with a foam, while the other side appears to be topped with a sort of crumble, with a hint of lemongrass. Underneath though, it’s all old-fashioned goodness: a good amount of white wine cream sauce that is thin enough not to be cloying coats expertly cooked salmon, shrimp and scallop. The mashed potatoes are delicious, if a bit skimpy. Finally, for dessert, we order the sticky toffee and chocolate pudding, which is nothing short of amazing. Usually, we find this dessert to be too sweet but The Chinnery avoids this by serving its buttery toffee sauce warm on the side. The chocolate pudding is moist and when topped with the vanilla ice cream and your own preferred amount of toffee sauce, it is hard to think of a better dessert.
The staff at The Chinnery are attentive, offering the same level of service as any fine dining establishment. The only difference is that there are a lot of regulars here, so the atmosphere is reminiscent of a private member’s club, and the staff are slightly more informal and jovial than one would expect.
An incredibly filling meal for two (with one glass of wine and one Bloody Mary) comes to HK$1,300. Given the generous portion size, the mostly well-executed dishes and attentive service, we find this to be a reasonable price to pay.