Monday, 5 July 2010

Lung King Heen

Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St, Central
Visited 4th July 2010

A friend and her fellow - who’s a chef - are in town and there’re not mucking around with anything but the big names. I couldn’t make dinner at Bo Innovation and unfortunately work got in the way of what was apparently an epic lunch at Robuchon á Galera in Macau. So after missing out twice I certainly wasn’t going to miss dinner at Lung King Heen. This Cantonese restaurant in the Four Sasons Hotel has the distinction of being the first and only Chinese restaurant in the Universe to receive three Michelin stars. We were shown through the stylish, but subdued interior to a window table where it was all glamour and seaside views. The food is pretty standard selection of Cantonese offerings, with the expected premium seafood holding up the menu. I let my friends choose and we ended up with tasty, but predictable dishes. First off was their signature appetiser; pears with scallops. Tender, plump scallops were set atop a piece of pear and deep fried in a light, crisp batter. I thought the scallops were excellent and the batter showed a deft touch, but the thick slice of basically raw pear was too crisp and seemed somehow dominated the delicate seafood. Next up were Sichuan-style roast lambchops; these were tender and well cooked, though the sauce was very subtle and not what I expected at all for Sichuan flavouring. Beef with black pepper isn’t something I’d normally order though I enjoyed the tender cubes of beef that were wok tossed with spring onion, garlic and fragrant black pepper. The minced pigeon in lettuce that came next was one of my favourite dishes; really tasty stuff. Though simple I also thought the sautéed zucchini with mushrooms was excellent; pure and fresh this was perfectly cooked and the different varieties of mushrooms packed plenty of flavour. We finished with half a roast chicken. This is meant to be something of a signature dish, but it was pretty disappointing. Joey swears the chicken tasted frozen and while I struggle to believe this, I'd much prefer the roast chook at Tai Wing Wah.
I not a big one for desserts, but, as so often the case, my opinion didn't count. We shared sesame balls, custard puffs and a serve of mango and sago pudding and barley cream. The mango pudding was pretty tasty with slivers of fresh fruit, but nothing obviously special. The barley cream had faint traces of almond, but was really watery and was a pretty average dish. Again the sesame balls and custard puffs were OK, but nothing overly exciting. My favourite desert was the complimentary petits fours; crisp almond cookies and cubes of wolfberry jelly. To drink we ordered an OK bottle of Chablis and an extortionately priced bottle of sparkling water. While I thought the food really well priced the drinks were disgustingly expensive; no matter how good the food is a bottle of water should never be $95.

The quality at Lung King Heen was obvious; top-notch, fresh produce prepared with care and precision, but somehow I felt the whole think lacked the wow factor. Maybe I'm just judging harshly because of those shinning stars, but I really couldn't figure how this was any better than twenty other Cantonese joints around town. What it lacked in innovation, it certainly made up for in competitive pricing; every dish we had was under $200. Our bill came to just over $500 each, which with desserts and alcohol has to make Lung King Heen the cheapest three star Michelin restaurant going. While the harbour views and interior were spectacular I was actually a bit unsure of what I thought about the service. The staff were ultra efficient, but the whole show lacked personality and I almost felt I was being looked after by attentive, but aloof robots. Despite what the French tyre makers think Lung king Heen isn't the best Chinese restaurant in the universe, but it is pretty good; the harbour views and traditional menu certainly make it a good option for wooing visitors.

Visit restaurant website.


Unknown said...

$500 per person eh? that's not too bad ;)

Andrew said...

Hey Rita

For a three star Michelin restaurant $500 a head is definitely a bargain. It could almost be the cheapest in the world?

We didn't order any particularly expensive delicacies though; I'm sure if you added shark-fin, birds nest or live seafood the bill would certainly go up. My only complaint about the pricing was the drinks; that the wine was really overpriced and the bottled water ridiculous at $95 a bottle.

Have you tried Lung King Heen?