REVIEW

Lei Garden - Wan Chai

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.  The Wan Chai location is the original. 

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 incredibly boisterous, an absolute madhouse on the weekends.  It is perhaps the least tranquil restaurant in all of Hong Kong.  There are large windows letting in copious natural light – and prime views of dilapidated apartment bulidings.  The staff will, without asking you, seat you at a table with strangers in order to maximize churn.  There are no napkins.  It is on occasions such as these that one is forced to reflect upon the fact that the Michelin Guide is a charade.  The idea that Lei Garden – Wan Chai is equivalent in quality to, say, Blanca, Bouley or Del Posto in New York City, or any of the 175 one star restaurnts in Tokyo for that matter, is so farcical that it makes you never want to pick up a Red Guide again. 

That said, dining at Lei Garden – Wan Chai is still an experience, a popular choice for families and a good value for the money.  However, it is nothing more than this, and its Michelin star is a manifest misrepresentation.

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INFORMATION

Wan Chai
1/F., CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Road, Wanchai
+852 2892-0333
Mon-Sat, 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-11:30pm; Sun, 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-11:30pm
    Chan Shu Kit, Chairman

    TAGS

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

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