REVIEW

Lei Garden - IFC

When westerners think of chains, the first things to come to mind are Olive Garden, Red Lobster, The Cheesecake Factory.  What doesn’t typically come to mind is gourmet Michelin-starred cooking.  Yet the 2013 Michelin Guide gives 6 Lei Garden restaurants in Hong Kong a star.

Unsurprisingly given his success, Mr. Chan Shu Kit, the founder of the restaurant group, has been nicknamed the “principal” and the “Shao Lin Shi” of the restaurant world, a reference to the monastery specializing in Kung Fu.  Unusually, he seems to place a great deal of emphasis on philosophical teaching of his staff (not culinary philosophy, mind you, but rather ethical and metaphysical).  You can go to the restaurant’s website and learn about the “correct attitudes to life” and the four pitfalls and the four virtues in human natue.  A little weird but, like biodynamique wine making, I suppose you don’t mess with what works.

The restaurant is attractive though not formal.  It is dominated by dark slatted wood, imposed as layers between the sets of tables thereby providing privacy while maintaing a sense of openness, on the large windows that peer down into the IFC mall, and on the hanging chandeliers from the coffered ceiling, which contain flowers inside them. Four rows of the slats at eye level are frosted, enabling you to oogle your neighbor's food though not your neighbor.  It's the Chinese version of one of those low-to-the-ground views of a Japanese garden, but with dim sum rather than a stylized landscape.

The cuisine is commendable, with a signature crispy roasted pork and specialties like abalone, bird’s nest and shark’s fin soup.  But the best are the simpler items and dim sum like a perfectly fried spring roll with taro shreds or a rich char siu bao. 

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INFORMATION

Central
Shop No. 3007-3011, 3/F., International Finance Centre, Central
+852 2295-0238
Mon-Sun, 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-11:30pm
    Chan Shu Kit, Chairman

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Cantonese
    • Chinese
    • Dim Sum
    • BYOB Corkage Fee: $150HKD

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