The lattice-work walls at this second floor restaurant in The Excelsior hotel are backlit so that even late at night, it’s almost as if daylight shines through. Tables are well-spaced and comfortable with options for any number of guests. Large round booths at the back enable diners to look out at the elegant décor. The restaurant can get quite noisy when full, but this adds to the convivial atmosphere of the venue.
Sweet honey beans and cubes of radish marinated in red wine will whet the appetite while you peruse the impressive menu. In addition to classic Cantonese dishes, chef specials punctuate the list and there are many recommended items to choose from, indicated by stars. The signature sautéed cod fish with spices marks a delicious start to the meal: the small pieces of fish are soft and flavourful, sautéed in a sticky soy, honey and pepper sauce that makes the tips of your chopsticks cling together, such is the deliciously gooey consistency of the tender seafood’s glaze. The Sichuan hot and sour soup with assorted seafood is a slight disappointment; while hot in temperature, it is not particularly fiery or sour in flavour. The classic dish of sautéed king prawns generously dusted with salted egg yolk puts the meal back on course, as the quality of the seafood is apparent. The braised beef ribs in chef’s special sauce are another highlight. Available per person or as a standard portion, the latter is the way to go. The tender, fatty meat falls off the bone in this beautifully presented signature item with a lightly sticky cinnamon and spice-based sauce coating the melt-in-your-mouth meat. The recommended deep-fried crispy noodles with crabmeat, scallop and egg white are an excellent starch to end the savouries with. A round stack of noodles is topped with the light and fresh egg-seafood combination, which nicely contrasts the crispy noodles, and is perfectly complemented by the accompanying tang of black vinegar. To end, the chilled mango cream, pomelo and sago is a classic done well, though the per person portion is small.
There is an extensive selection of champagnes to choose from, as well as a reasonable wine list with all the usual suspects – old world and new world – covered. There’s a good range by the glass and staff can offer comprehensive recommendations. The proposed glass of LAN Crianza complemented the wide range of dishes, from spicy to salty to sweet, very well and was much enjoyed.
Staff members are well versed on both food and wine, and service is friendly and discreet. Due to the layout of the restaurant, there are times when it can be difficult to get a server’s attention.
A meal for two with wine comes to approximately HK$1,500 which, given some of the creative dishes on offer and the location of the restaurant in the heart of Causeway Bay, is reasonable.