REVIEW

Man Wah

[Note:  This review was written in late 2013.  In the 2014 edition of the Michelin Guide, Man Wah was awarded one star.]

The profound arbitrariness of the Hong Kong Michelin Guide can be summed up in 2 words: Man Wah.  Its lack of any recognition whatsoever of what is arguably the best Cantonese restaurant in the city while simultaneously showering stars like confetti on crappy hole in the wall restaurants in order to curry local favor must surely be one of the most damning indictments that can be made of its trustworthiness.

Located on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Man Wah has the best interior design of any Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong.  The gold carvings of a magnificent 10-panel black screen are picked up by dangling lacquered enamel and gold-plated ceiling lamps fashioned to resemble birdcages.  It creates a magical and extremely atmospheric effect at night.  The panoramic views, particularly of the Bank of China and HSBC buildings during the nightly 8pm Symphony of Light, are unbeatable.  During the daytime, you have a view of Victoria Harbour and of sloping verdant hillsides.  It’s hard to imagine a more elegant or urbane ambience in a traditionally decorated Cantonese restaurant.  Also, in a city where it is not unusual to find t-shirts and wailing babies at even the most revered of Cantonese restaurants (as we regularly do at Lung King Heen), the atmosphere and dress code at Man Wah is among the most formal we have encountered.

Even more impressive is how superb the cuisine is for both dim sum and dinner.  The dim sum is probably the best in the city, though Cuisine Cuisine and Tin Lung Heen are also strong competitors. Shainghainese soup dumplings come on little carrying baskets and, while not in the same league as Din Tai Fung’s, are very nice and tiger prawn and bamboo shoot dumplings have wonderful texture and flavor. But where things really get going are the divine quartet of the barbecued pork bun, which is maybe better than Tim Ho Wan’s; the deep fried dumpling in the shape of a pig and filled with bacon, mushroom and black truffle; the beef tenderloin puff with black papper sauce; and the golden taro puff topped with abalone.  Do not miss these four dishes.  Conclude with the egg tarts – not quite as good as Tin Lung Heen’s, but among the best in the city.

At dinner, you cannot go wrong with the meats:  crispy pork belly, roast goose with plum sauce, Peking duck served in two courses – with skin only wrapped in pancakes, and a choice of three other preparations, such as wok fried with eggplant and a chilli bean sauce.  But perhaps the best dish on the menu is seafood: the steamed garoupa fillet with crispy ginger, crabmeat and egg white, which is perfectly cooked and incredibly subtle, floral and delicate.  The service is admirably perceptive and attentive.

M Bar is right outside the restaurant, and is a perfect place to have a drink before or after your dinner.

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INFORMATION

Central
5 Connaught Road
+852 2825-4003
    Man-Sing Lee, Chef

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Cantonese
    • Chinese
    • Dim Sum
    • Best Brunch
    • Best Decor
    • Best Service
    • Best View
    • BYOB Corkage Fee: $500HKD
    • Private Dining Room Private Dining Room: 14 seated
    • Romantic

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