Tim Ho Wan
Riding the coattails of Lung King Heen’s three Michelin stars, their dim sum chef took off to open his own outlet that caters to salarymen. This time, there’s no fuss, no views and no napkins. The service is minimal, the menu is on a tick sheet, and the lines outside – ridiculous.
We arrived promptly at 6.30pm and were told there would be an hour’s wait. There was nothing to note as far as decor goes: tiny tables squeezed together, diners elbow to elbow, and an eerie silence in the dining room. Finally seated, we dove at the menu, pencil in hand, tick, tick, tick.
We dined at Lung King Heen the morning prior to this review and we ordered a similar menu. Their famous crystal dumplings with chives and shrimp ($16) were exactly the same as my morning fix at a fraction of the price. Ditto for the roast pork rice rolls ($13). The silky rice rolls slip on the tongue and the pork dotted evenly on the sheet, was savoury. Chef Pui’s stellar credentials were completely justified.
The happy journey continued with their char sui bao ($12). Evenly rolled sweet dough, made sweeter with a sugar-lard topping (think pineapple bun) was filled with a salty-sweet glue of hoisin and roast pork. The filling was short on content but full on flavour.
Chef Pui diverges from his previous employer, however, with additions such as preserved vegetables and meat pie steamed over rice ($15). It is all about ingredients and timing on this dish, and sadly, this one failed. The meat pie spent too much time in the steamer, making the protein tight and chewy; the flavour came mostly from the soy sauce. Skip the radish cake ($10) as well – there’s too much flour in the cake and it needed more time in the pan. On the other hand, the ma lai go (steamed sponge cake, $9), was bouncy to the touch and not overly sweet. It cools quickly so eat this as soon as it arrives.
The silence of the room, we realised finally, was actually quiet reverence as the diners concentrated on their superstar meal at C-list prices. They, and we, were wowed.
G/F, Phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa St, Mong Kok, 2332 2896. Daily 10am-11pm.
Meal for two: $60.