|Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong|
Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong
Intrigued by Michelin Stars, we couldn’t help but make a reservation at Shang Palace when we stayed at Kowloon Shangri-La recently in Hong Kong.
Elaborate décor reflects a sophisticated and tastefully designed interior. Ornate wooden panels are interspersed with plain red ones and textured golden walls provide surfaces for Chinese watercolours. Magnificent crystal chandeliers and beige lanterns warmly illuminate dark wooden furniture and crisp white table linens. Traditional Chinese string instruments strum gently from quality speakers and provoke images of ancient regality. A theme of auspicious red and imperial gold colour the restaurant and this is carried through even to the Chinaware. Giant Chinese ceramics mark the entrance and hint at the decadence that awaits guests inside.
|Entrance to Shang Palace|
Two Michelin Starred chef, Mok Kit Keung has won various awards over the years. Gold medals, media accolades and a line up of celebrity customers follow his name. The man himself however is humble in what he does. His focus is clear and he works obsessively to refine his masterpieces and develop new innovations.
While the food is traditional Cantonese, the presentation is definitely Western. Each dish is individually plated with such attention to detail that even the garnishes seem to be begging to be eaten. Simple white plates form the canvas for the culinary artist, and seasonal produce, the paint.
Westerners might say that a meal can be elevated to a much higher level with the right wine, Chinese patrons might say the same for tea. Shang Palace offers a fine range of both. A solid selection of French, Italian and New World wines make up an extensive list, while high-end teas including Green, Oolong and Pu Er leaves, prove the best of the tea menu. A well-chosen array of wine by the glass makes individual course pairing a breeze. An entire 30 pages though of wine by the bottle, suited for all wallets, makes you feel like settling in for the night. For those who just love to be spoiled by choice, there’s a further nine pages of liqueurs, spirits, beers and non-alcoholic beverages from which to choose.
There’s no better way to start than a glass of bubbly and the house champagne is a lovely man-ly Tattinger Brut Reserve. A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier produces a wonderful golden liquid with dainty bubbles and a light foam. Fruit and sugary breads waft to the nostrils, while summer stone fruits and vanilla fill the palate. It’s a perfect start.
Steamed Scallop Pates with Bird’s Nest and Sea Urchin alongside Barbecued Pork Loin Glazed with Honey Sauce is our host’s favourite dish. Served on an elongated heart shaped plate, a sensuously curved spoon of sea urchin is quite mild in contrast to the luxurious char siew. It’s best to eat one slice of the pork and revel in the caramelized fat while gently allowing the tender flesh to dissolve in the mouth. Follow with the spoon of seafood, which balances out the intensity of the meat, but then finish with another decadent slice of pork. Local media have dubbed it the “king of char siew,” and we clearly see why. Edible flowers and a sprig of Swiss parsley adorn, adding a herby stroke to the dish.
White pickled ginger is perfect as a palate cleanser. It’s not quite as tart as the Japanese pink version. It’s juicy, crisp and a little sweet and, a highly recommended nibble between dishes.
A warm towel comes at the perfect time to refresh, as do a munchy tray of cashews, lightly toasted and sparsely salted with sea salt.
Braised Pumpkin Cream with Alaskan Crab Meat served with Mini Pumpkin easily wins me over. First for the endearing presentation and, second it’s pumpkin (I’m a big fan)! A mini orange pumpkin is scalloped around its rim and the centre is scooped out. It holds a tangerine creamy broth full of seafood chunks. The crab freshens the soup and white strips of bamboo pith and fresh lily bulbs add a touch of exquisiteness. Our Chinese host informs that these vegetables make the dish great for skin complexion and henceforth popular with local lasses. This dish is so good you’ll want to keep scooping the flesh from the pumpkin until only the very thin skin remains. Our host has been with the Shangri-La group for 20 years, so we are happy to take her recommendation.
Steamed Star Garoupa Fillet with Matsutake Mushroom is right up my alley. Presented in a bamboo basket, the rolls are on green leaves and showered with shredded herbs. The fish is white, flaky and superbly fresh. Grated ginger, spring onions and wolfberries garnish the top. Strips of taro add a pasty texture and hint of sweetness to the base.
A rose gold coloured French wine, in a beautiful glass, accompanies our starters. Les Chanteaux, Chinon, 2009, Couly-Dutheil from France displays ripe fruit on the nose and is slightly sweet and grassy in the palate. It’s in between a full-bodied chardonnay and a crisp sauvignon blanc. It’s delicate and matches well with the elegant steamed fish.
Stir-fried Kagoshima Wagyu Beef with Sliced Garlic served in a Golden Basket suits carnivorous hubby very well. Our sommelier allowed us two tastings for the meat: a Shiraz, which traditionally pairs well with beef, and; a pinot noir because the sauce is a light fried garlic mix, making the more delicate wine match possible. The meat is extremely buttery. Garlic is wafer thin and melts in your mouth. A net of fine cotton fried noodles must take master skill to fabricate and the viridescent deep fried Chinese herbs, which are lightly salted, should be eaten, not discarded as garnish.
The Hentley Farm 2010 Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia is hubby’s preferred match with the beef. It’s dark cherry in colour with fruit and soft tannins in the finish. I’m fond of the Roaring Meg, Pinot Noir 2012 from Central Otago, New Zealand with its light floral perfume and whiffs of herbs and berries.
|Roaring Meg, Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2012|
Braised Pea Sprouts with Conpoy (dried scallops) is a great dish for seafood and herb lovers as it is both oceanic and gardeny in taste. Fresh green leaves are lightly cooked and dressed in a shredded dried scallop sauce. It’s almost a battle between land and sea for prime place on the palate.
Our next dish presents as a bit of a mystery. The direct Chinese name translates to “different noodles,” leaving guests with the question of “Why are they different?” But waiters won’t answer and just respond with, “Wait and see.” Fried Puntalette with Minced Shrimp in X.O. Chilli Sauce turns out to be tiny rice shaped Italian pasta. They are cooked al dente as the Europeans would approve, but have the delicious savor of one of Penang’s best plates of Char Kway Teow. It’s marvelous. I want to rid myself of chopsticks and scoop up every last ‘different noodle’ with a spoon.
I value variety, but also my health, so the Shang Palace Trio of Desserts (three mini servings on one plate) sounds superb. A dashing platter, featuring: a rosy pink flower of lotus paste with a super buttery flaky pastry; hot double boiled egg white custard and; a deep fried mini pumpkin with egg yolk custard inside; quickly disappear from all of our plates, getting unquestionable silent approval.
A Petit Guirard 2009 Sauternes from Bordeaux, France has lovely long legs and a cloying sticky sweetness in the mouth. It’s dessert in a glass and accessorizes the finish line masterfully.
Reflecting on the line-up we deem every dish delicate, well balanced and, clearly well thought out. Undoubtedly, Shang Palace is an infallible location for a deliciously satisfying meal.
Reason to visit: a chance to see what a two Michelin Star restaurant can offer; Fried Puntalette with Minced Shrimp in X.O. Chilli Sauce; Steamed Scallop Pates with Bird’s Nest and Sea Urchin alongside Barbecued Pork Loin Glazed with Honey Sauce; Stir-fried Kagoshima Wagyu Beef with Sliced Garlic served in a Golden Basket; Fried Puntalette with Minced Shrimp in X.O. Chilli Sauce
Shangri –La Hotel Kowloon
64 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East
Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 2721 2111
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12noon – 3pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10:30am – 3pm
Dinner: Daily 6:30pm – 11pm
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