Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tim's Kitchen, Hong Kong by Big Fil

Tim's Kitchen was another Michelin starred restaurant we wanted to try. Apparently it is better regarded as a dinner restaurant rather than somewhere to go for lunch (which we didn't know at the time), but given that we were only making our booking the night before we were probably lucky to get in for a lunchtime dim sum feast anyway.

One thing we learned from this experience was that even when dining at a top end restaurant it pays to find out the house specialties. While good, Tim's Kitchen is not a specialist dim sum restaurant and we would have been better off ordering from the (more expensive) main menu.

As with Tim Ho Wan, you order the dim sum you want and it's brought to the table when it's ready, rather than selecting from the trays or trolleys as they come around. Service is very attentive and the atmosphere of the dining area calm and comfortable if slightly generic.

Being in Hong Kong Hungry Pete insisted we try the chicken's feet. I know lots of people who won't try them because they find the idea strange and I'm not their biggest fan. I like the taste and texture but the bones are a bit annoying, and I always feel a little weird spitting them back out. These chicken feet tasted fine but to me most of the attraction of this dish is in the gelatinous texture, which these lacked a little.

Again we ordered the deep fried pork dumplings. These were very good, a nice meaty filling, with the skin crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. To me this dish is mainly about the texture and these had the right balance between not being too thin skinned and crisp, or too thick skinned and consequently slightly soggy.

Wanting to try something new, I ordered the pork liver dumplings. I was expecting these to be normal dumplings with a pork liver filling. Instead they came as small meat dumplings wrapped in pork liver. The result was a dish tasting quite strongly of pork liver and not really consistent with the delicate flavour of the other dishes.

One thing we had to try were the shrimp dumplings (Har Gao). These were small but generously filled, moist with a delicate prawn flavour. However, there was nothing which made these stand out in comparison to the har gao I've had elsewhere.

Steamed pork buns (Char Sui Bao) are probably Hungry Pete's favourite dim sum and this was the first chance we'd found to try them in Hong Kong. These were nicely steamed with a slightly sweet pork filling. While ordering from the trolley is more fun, pre-ordering means that you get your food at its best.

I also ordered the crispy baby pork (Sui Yuk). Both Hungry Pete and myself thought this was the dish of the day (I thought it was possibly the best thing we ate the whole time we were away) with the skin crispy, the meat not too fatty but melt in the mouth tender and with a beautiful pork flavour. The different layers of the meat, with their different proportion of fat to meat, provided an interesting textural contrast. Quite possibly the best crispy pork I've had.

To finish of the lunch we ordered the steamed custard bun and steamed custard layer cake. The custard layer cake was ok, lightly flavoured and similar to sponge cake in texture.

Better were the custard buns. The inside filling was nicely moist and while I thought these were good, Hungry Pete liked them a lot.

For a two star Michelin restaurant the food wasn't quite what I expected. Everything was well prepared and the dishes were consistently good but other than the pork none really stood out. However we didn't order the dishes which the restaurant is better known for, such as the stuffed crab claw and crystal shrimp, both of which I looked at before settling on the crispy pork. While the atmosphere was nice, the dim sum and service good, given my expectations it was a slight let down and it feels like it was partly our fault for not checking carefully enough before we went.

If I went back to Hong Kong I would certainly be happy to return to Tim's Kitchen for dinner, but for dim sum where I enjoyed the casual and rushed Tim Ho Wan more.

84 Bonham Strand
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


Bureaucrat said...

going by your pics, i would have thought for a michelin rated place that the crockery and presentation of the dishes would have been fancier.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. While most are probably fancier, Tim Ho Wan is certinly much more down market in that regard.

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