Tin Lung Heen is the tallest Cantonese restaurant in the world. Located on the 102th floor of the Ritz Carlton on Kowloon Station, it has a stunning view and a stunning reputation for an expensive yet delicious dim sum.
There were several degustation menus available for the dinner service, each with pairing of wines as an option. This was an entry level degustation menu.
嚐星饗宴 Signature Tasting Menu
醃菜 Amuse bouche
Even the starting preserved vegetables were done a lot more delicate – pickled onions, pickled beet root, pickled carrot, pickled mushroom (?), just kidding the mushroom was just grilled. Nothing better to excite the palate than the sourness of the vegetable.
1/ 天龍獻粹 Chef’s Premium Selection
芝麻海蜇凍鮑絲、桂花蜜汁叉燒、窩貼大蝦多士 Chilled shredded abalone with jellyfish in sesame oil, barbecued pork with osmanthus flower honey, deep-fried shrimp toast.
Their famed Iberico pork BBQ charsiu was sensational. While Hong Kong is famed for its roast pork all over, this, is a class of its own. I loved the fact that it was lightly charred, with caramelised osmanthus honey on the outside, the pork was so tender it literally melted in your mouth.
Abalone, jelly fish with sliced HK kailan stalk, very subtle, not Michelin grade though. And the shrimp toast was like one you would eat at any HK Cantonese restaurants in the 80s. They have not changed this appetiser for a long time. Yes, the charsiu was great, but the other two weren’t. Time to change.
2/ 炸釀蟹蓋 Deep-fried crab shell filled with crab meat and onion
It was filled with a whole blue fin crab meat and deep fried with a batter twitch bits of onion. While the onion was softened and caramelised by the hot oil, crab meat was steamed inside the crab shell to a creamy deliciousness that only a shellfish like crab can provide.
A classic Cantonese dish that had been exported to all different cuisines.
3/ 原個椰皇花膠燉雞 Double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw in baby coconut
This is a signature dish of Tin Lung Heen. The soup was not convoluted with other ingredients, the flavoured chicken stock was added with the fish maw into a baby coconut and doubled-boiled. The result was really flavourful soup without the mess.
The taste was refreshing but still packed the punch. The whole piece of fish maw was not fishy because of the quality. The coconut water helped to remove some of the fishiness as well.
4/ 銀魚苗油泡星班球 Wok-fried spotted garoupa fillet with crispy silver needle fish
This must be a huge garoupa, something no less than 5kg. Two thick slices of the filet on top of HK choysum, the salt and umami provided by the crispy whitebaits.
This course demonstrated the difficulty for Michelin inspectors to judge and give stars to Chinese restaurants. The ingredients, their freshness and natural flavours, are the most important factors of a great Chinese course. They are given very little treatment, a quick stir-fry, lightly seasoned. So the techniques that are passed down by centuries of tradition and handholding are not deviated. But the Michelin guides were all about techniques, the complexity and the artistry of the executive chefs. Chinese restaurants were about teamwork not the individual.
5/ 珍珠洋蔥爆和牛 Wok-fried wagyu beef with pearl onion
I have never enjoyed wagyu beef in a Chinese restaurant because they would be overpowered by the sauces they used. It was no different here. The beef was done perfectly, two little cubes of A5 Kagoshima wagyu filet cuts quickly wok-fried to seal in the juiciness and coated with a rather complex flavour of oyster sauce and other traditional stir-fry beef ingredients.
However they forgot that wagyu is a very delicate beef. Such rough treatment just ruined the sweetness and creaminess of the beef.
6/ 松露翡翠竹笙卷 Braised bamboo fungus with spinach and black truffle
This course was the vegetable course given the Michelin touch. Very simple ingredients like spinach, shanghai greens (bok choy) and bamboo fungus. The spinach was blanched and then stuffed into the bamboo fungus, the shanghai greens were carved and placed as lotus on the sides. The flavour was intensified by whole slices of truffle on the bamboo fungus.
7/ 鮑粒荷葉飯 Fried rice with diced abalone, goose and shrimp wrapped in lotus leaf
Fried rice wrapped and steamed in lotus leaf was another favourite at Tin Lung Heen. Wok-fried with diced abalone, roasted duck and shrimp for different textures, the rice was not oily nor dry at all. The combination of the different ingredients gave it a very complex yet harmonious flavour profile, the end result was delicious.
8/ 天龍甜品薈萃 Chef’s Speciality Desserts
香芒楊枝甘露、紫薯芝麻煎堆仔 Chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo, deep-fried sesame dumpling filled with purple sweet potato.
Finally a satisfying ending with everyone’s favourite chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo. and one the side, deep-friend sesame rice ball filled with sweet potato paste. The little sweets that were included, a macaroon without the filling and a coconut flake coated sweet, were pretty out of place.
Each of us got a small box of home-blended tea to bring home as a memento.
Our dining experience at Tin Lung Heen was good overall, most of the dishes were flawless while few items have room for improvements. But the view from the top of 102th floor was a destination by itself. Plus the art deco interior and the superb wine list, it is the place to impress.
The service was wonderful and attentive. There was never anything out of place, and they were so discrete. Definitely better than the other Michelin Chinese outlets because it’s an über-chic hotel with a service oriented history.
Tin Lung Heen is definitely worth a visit for its impeccable service and settings, and the food was not bad but definitely not outstanding for the detour.
Tin Lung Heen 天龍軒
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
Level 102, International Commerce Centre (ICC),
1 Austin Rd, West Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel : +852 2263 2270
Date Visited : Mar 2019
Michelin Hong Kong and Macau Guide, 2 Stars – 2014-2019