T’ang Court 唐阁 received their third Michelin star in the 2016 Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau. A three-starred Michelin restaurant is rare enough. A Chinese restaurant with the coveted three stars is even rarer.
It is difficult to give a Chinese restaurant Michelin ratings because the criteria of single person dining is not exactly the Chinese way for fine dining. When Hong Kong minted the first Michelin Chinese restaurants, critics were divided in their opinions.
One would not associate fining dining with a 10-course Chinese dinner where communal eating is encouraged. However, HK restauranteurs have adopted to the judging standards of Michelin had since then 4 more have popped up in the annual awards.
Comfort and luxury are factors contributing to T’ang Court getting the Michelin nod, thanks to the plush fabrics, beautifully dressed tables and Chinese art. But it is the ability and experience of the head chef and his kitchen that plays the greatest part. The menu, designed and finely executed by executive chef Kwong Wai-keung, is typical of a traditional Cantonese restaurant.
The meal started with a platter of amuse bouche. The lightly pickled cucumber and black wood fungus were refreshing and crunchy. The deep-fried yam puff was light and fluffy but overpowering in terms of an amuse bouche.
唐閣一拼盆 紅葉涼拌響螺片、蜜汁鱈魚、蜜味叉燒 Appetiser trio – chilled slice conch with jellyfish, fried diced cod fish with honey, barbecue pork
Only the charsiu leaves an impressive. One of their representative dish, the charsiu is moist despite using a lean piece of meat. It is charred on the crust to give it that beautiful smokiness and the sauce clings to the flesh delicately, anymore would spoil the balance of savoury and sweetness.
In contrast, the cod was too sweet and drenched in sauce, the conch slices tasted like canned food. Not something we would expect from a newly minted 3 Star restaurant.
翠绿虾球带子 Sautéed prawn and scallop with seasonal vegetables
Very simple, tasty, but nothing to wow about.
辽参溏心鲍鱼 Braised whole abalone with Bêche-de-Mer
Bêche-de-Mer is also known as sea cucumber. It is a flavourless mollusc that borrows its tastes from the ingredients that are used to braise the stock that it is cooked in. Dried abalone is the other ingredient the has to borrow its flavours from the braising stock. Usually these two delicacies will be served in an expensive Cantonese dinner in a superior sauce made from mushroom, dried scallops, oyster sauce and other tasty stuff. I do not have an acquired taste of these ingredients, but the sauce is really flavourful which would be equally nice with a bowl of noodles.
香葱日本和牛粒 Stir-fry Japanese wagyu beef with shallot
A measly 3 pieces of Kagoshima wagyu beef cooked in the Cantonese quick stir-fry method. Fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth beef with plenty of wok hei. Accompanied by their pieces of measly HK Kailan.
唐阁宝盒饭 Baked seafood rice with cream sauce in crab shell
Baked rice that the Cantonese has claimed to be their own. Plenty of crab meat in a reconstructive crab back cover baked in a bergamot and cheese sauce.
桂花茶 Osmantheus tea
The moment the cover is opened, the fragrance of osmantheus filled the air.
鲜果配甜点 Fresh fruits and T’ang Court delight
Dessert is always the weakest link in a Chinese fine dining. Unlike the Western fine dining where dessert is decked out opulent and creativity, followed by petit fours for coffee and chocolates to round up the meal, Chinese desserts are usually a simple affair with cut fruits and if you are lucky, a couple of pastry. What stood out was the osmantheus jelly, but the same could be had in lesser restaurants. How I wish Chinese restaurants will improve in this department.
Occupying two storeys at the Langham Hong Kong, T’ang Court greets guests with its modest entrance, accessed via a staircase to reveal a spacious dining room. This is the kind of place where privacy is highly valued, with tables evenly spaced to create enough room around each party.
T’ang Court has been recognised by the coveted Michelin Guide, Hong Kong and Macau since 2009, receiving 2 Stars in its first attempt. It became only one of five Cantonese restaurants in the world to receive the 3 Stars accolade ins 2016 and have remained there since. They opened a branch in Shanghai, and that took the starts subsequently as well.
T’ang Court 唐阁
1F and 2F, The Langham, Hong Kong, 8 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Date Visited : May 2018
Michelin Hong Kong and Macau Guide 2 Stars 2009-2015, 3 Stars 2016-2018, 2019