24 Stanley St, Central
Visited 17th March 2010
My mother is visiting with a friend and after an afternoon on the Peak I thought I'd take them somewhere quintessentially Cantonese for their first meal in town. As we were in Central Yuen Kee seemed the obvious choice, but I've been somewhat unimpressed on my last couple of visits so instead thought it was time to try Luk Yu Tea House. This place has been around since 1933 and in many ways still looks like a restaurant of that era. The decor is fantastic with old wooden furniture, antiques and a classic 'old-school' charm. While it is famous for its dim sum the restaurant gained a touch of infamousness in 2002 when tycoon Harry Lam Hon-lit, was shot at point-blank range while eating breakfast.
Specialising in dim sum during the day Luk Yu Tea House is very Cantonese in flavour. We ordered roast pigeon, sauteed squid, barbecue pork, shredded beef and vegetables. The fragrant roast pigeon was really tasty and enjoyable start. Next was a plate of fresh squid that oozed freshness; simply wok-tossed with ginger, capsicum and spring onion, though there wasn't really enough squid on the plate for my liking. My mum's an extremely fussy eater, but the shredded beef was her favourite, though simply tossed with spring onions I thought it a touch bland. The barbecue pork was tasty; however the serve that we got presented with was tiny. To finish it was a plate of crisp choi sum; this was the most disappointing dish as the freshness of the crisp vegetables was lost in a massive glug of starchy oyster-sauce based dressing. We after a bottle of vino but were told that they don't sell wine, which was strange as they had quite a collection of wine bottles on display...
So what did I think? Was Luk Yu Tea House as good as its reputation? First up I really did enjoy the food; it was well prepared and freshness and quality of the ingredients was obvious. The portions were all pretty small and though tasty I thought it was all a touch overpriced. Grumpy, old waiters are a common stereotype associated with Chinese restaurants and the fossils on display at Luk Yu Tea House were the worst I've ever seen. The bloke who served us was rude, arrogant and totally unhelpful; he even had the guile to tell us that he'd prefer his tip in cash rather than added to the credit card bill. I'd certainly be interested in trying the dim sum at Luk Yu Tea House, but the service was so disgusting that I can't see why I'd bother returning for another serve of condescending arrogance dished up by rude waiters.