Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tai Ji

4th Floor, 23 Luard Rd, Wanchai
Visited 24th June 2009

I'm becoming a big fan of Shanghai cuisine with when a couple of mates suggested Tai Ji as a good option for a feed after a few beers in Wan Chi. The large, open restaurant is on the fourth floor and is accessible via the same lift that one could possibly use to access such places as Bull Dogs. It's neatly laid out with old style wood furnishings and simple white tablecloths. Window tables have views of the chaotic circus unravelling on Luard Rd, while back in the restaurant the view is of chefs hand making dumplings in the open kitchen. The night we came it was basically empty of other punters; never a good sign...

From the Shanghai inspired menu we went for Sichuan style 'la mian' and off course a couple of serves of 'xiǎolóngbāo' or soup dumplings as well as sweet and sour fish, vegetables and beef with spring onions. I seem to have eaten a lot of la mian noodles recently and Tai Ji's version was OK, though un-inspirational, though on the other hand the tasty xiǎolóngbāo were enjoyable. For veg we were presented with a plate of celtuce - I've never had 'stem lettuce' before, but enjoyed these crisp hunks of crunchy green vegetable, though they did test the chopsticks skills. Things went downhill from here as fish was dry and the beef stringy and flavourless. To drink we ordered a bottle of the house red; something ghastly from Chile. We finished with a plate of tasty red bean filled puffed pastries for dessert.

Despite enjoying the soup dumplings we all left feeling a little disappointed. Tai Ji's a nice enough place and the staff are friendly it's just a shame that the food is pretty average. The prices are fair with dishes ranging from $34-$72; our bill came to $635 for the four of us. I do however resent getting ripped off on wine and having to pay $185 for disgusting house red. My mate who recommended Tai Ji was just as unhappy as me and claimed that the food's a lot better at lunch time, so if you want to give it a go this could be the time.
Visit restaurant website.

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