By: Wendy Chan
Chinese food is easily available in Hong Kong, but finding an authentic, good quality establishment is a little trickier. Luckily for us, we got to sample a range of regional-focused dishes at Hotel ICON’s Above and Beyond, where a magnificent view of Victoria Harbour greeted us as we were seated. The décor features wooden panels and soft lighting, an appropriate fit for our quiet and elegant meal.
Our tasting menu began with the artistically presented crispy crab claw with shrimp mousse ($138) accompanied by a deep-fried vermicelli basket of assorted vegetables. The crab is steamed and then pan-seared, giving it a delicate taste, and allowing the natural sweetness to filter through. Next came steamed garoupa with egg white and yellow broth ($300); the fish was fresh with a welcome springiness in each bite, while the broth was light enough to showcase the clean flavours of the seafood.
More ocean bounty followed, with a dish of wok-fried prawns with tangerine peel and fermented soy beans ($268). These were generously sized, lush prawns in a bold, complex sauce that had real warmth to it, thanks to the notes of sweetness, the chilli, and the slight bitterness of tangerine peel, all of which helped bring out the simple richness of the prawn.
We then sampled – or more accurately – wolfed down the wok-fried wagyu cubes with Chiu Chow-style soy-marinated goose liver ($400). At first glance, the dish looked like a traditional Chinese stir fry, but Above and Beyond successfully elevates this well-known classic to new heights. The beef was incredibly tender, succulent and seasoned perfectly, there was a mild heat in the delectable sauce, and the goose liver was beautifully firm; each mouthful had a good balance of taste and texture.
Equally impressive was the marinated chicken in Shaoxing wine ($238/$468), with the chicken served in a beautiful, savoury brown sauce with faint hints of caramelisation. The rich, thick jus was flavourful and the chicken amazingly tender. With the dish served piping hot, it was reminiscent of a comforting, slow-cooked stew, and it left us feeling satisfied yet wishing we had space to eat more.
After a brief break, we resumed our dinner with Northern-style crispy sliced potato with dried chilli pepper ($90), seasoned liberally to have a slight kick. As these are cooked in high heat to release the moisture in the potato, they have a pleasant crispness without being oily.
Our menu was rounded off with a platter of baked sago pudding, egg yolk sponge cake and sesame puff with bird’s nest, each item contributing to a yellow-themed spread that was pleasing to the eye (and the taste buds). The sago pudding was a particular hit: creamy and smooth, with a layer of chestnut puree inside for contrasting taste and texture. I would’ve definitely reached for a second light and airy sesame puff, too, had I not already eaten so much.
Our wonderful culinary journey was paired with wines recommended by the restaurant’s knowledgeable senior sommelier, who explained the history of each wine, and highlighted the notes to look for with each sip.
Must try dish: Wok-fried wagyu with soy-marinated goose liver
Above and Beyond
Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon