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Having recently undergone a renovation, Yan Toh Heen’s lavish interiors welcome diners with a refreshing combination of modern luxury with subtle Chinese accents. An impressive geometric ceiling is softened by the neutral gray and green tones found in the furniture and lattice screens throughout the restaurant. Jade touches in the table setting and menus add to the sophistication of the setting. The restaurant is also blessed with unimpeded views of the harbour, as twinkling city lights and the soft overhead lighting set the tone for the meal.
Yan Toh Heen’s extensive menu offers patrons a grand array of Chinese fare. Chef Lau Yiu-fai’s showcases his 27 years of experience in traditional dishes and inventive creations with a focus on quality and seasonal ingredients. The golden scallops with minced shrimp, fresh pear and Yunnan ham arrive as small, perfect little parcels served with spiced salt and fresh lemon juice on the side. Piping hot, the delicately fried and salty batter plus the acidity of the lemon juice play up the sweetness of the silky pear and the bounciness of the shrimp and scallop. Their signature Peking duck is preceded by a giant platter of ingredients not normally paired with the delicacy and we are instructed to get creative with the fillings. The glistening bird is sliced tableside with an ideal ratio of skin to fat then placed atop some of the best pancakes we’ve encountered in the city. Soft and not too doughy, the small wrappers allow us to try a number of combinations without filling up. A winning match is the pineapple with plum sauce, which enhances the smokiness imbued in the crispy and juicy skin, while pomelo and green mango with the house garlic and pepper sauce is a bit too confusing on the palate. After playing with the options, we went the traditional route with hoisin, cucumber and scallions, greatly enjoying a record number of wraps. A simple dish of wok-fried white asparagus with bamboo piths and mixed mushrooms showcases the quality of the Yan Toh Heen’s ingredients, as it needs little to coax out their natural flavours. We remain impressed with dessert; their signature basil dragon pearl with ginger ice cream is a refreshing and interesting marriage of a gooey and crunchy basil seed gel, a smooth milk pudding and a wonderfully spicy ginger kick.
The expansive wine list features plenty of useful information on the different inclusions and wine regions. Our sommelier helped whittle our selection down to two very enjoyable glasses of wine: a crisp pinot noir and a full-bodied Bordeaux with a distinct finish were exceptional pairs for our meal.
The service was excellent at Yan Toh Heen, with well-informed and sociable staff who remained attentive throughout our entire visit.
A decadent meal for two with one glass of wine each comes to about HK$2,600. Considering this includes one entire Peking duck and two expensive glasses of wine, we’d say that the overall refinement of the experience was very much worth the price tag.