Friday, March 4, 2011

Shelling Out for Mediocrity

Food and travel guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek gives us her next scoop on restaurants around town and travel tips. Contact her at

I haven't visited many private kitchens in Hong Kong and recently had the opportunity to try Stone House. I found out the hard way that it moved from its out-of-the-way location on Kotewall Road to the first floor of the Cosmo Hotel near the Happy Valley racetrack on Queen's Road East, so I had to flag down another taxi and arrived 15 minutes late...

What's strange about Stone House is that once you arrive on the first floor, there is no sign and only paper taped on the doors in Chinese whose party it is. So if you don't know Chinese characters you might be guessing what's behind door number one, two or three.

The private rooms are almost like a hotel room except there's no bed but a massive dining room table, a leather sofa area complete with karaoke machine and a small bathroom. It feels sophisticated, but there isn't much soul to the place let alone any decorative flourishes to indicate this place serves top quality Chinese food.

While the decor aimed to impress, the food was similar in that it didn't seem to live up to the hype. Most of the dishes were done well, but not particularly outstanding.

There were four starters which included deep-fried tofu cubes that were slightly crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside; Thai-style pork slices which was really roast pork shoulder and the flavour was not bad; and deep-fried white fish in a light batter.

The roast suckling pig was carried in, splayed flat on the platter complete with maraschino cherries in the eye sockets. How charming. Nevertheless the crispy skin in a deep rustic colour was great with the small pancakes and two pieces were definitely enough for tasting.

Baked crab meat in the shell was a standard dish that wasn't particularly amazing, and same with the sauteed garoupa with broccoli.

However, the old style stewed beef shin practically melted in the mouth from being braised for so long and was laced in a flavourful thick sauce. Another winner was the seafood platter -- thin slices of lobster, abalone and geoduck with lots of coriander and spring onions. Then the server poured a beef stock onto the platter from a giant kettle.

Each piece of seafood was delicious and fresh, though having slices of overly deep-fried dough sticks in the bowl with it was unnecessary.
The fried crispy chicken was also excellent, with plump juicy chicken contrasting with the crisp skin.
To finish off the meal, desserts were ho-hum -- pan-fried water chestnut cake and deep-fried dough that you drizzled with honey.

In the end the dinner came out to HK$940 a person which was far more than I would have expected to pay for what we got. But like I said, it was a chance to try a private kitchen.

Been there, done that.

Stone House
1/F, Cosmo Hotel
375-377 Queen's Road East

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  1. can you really call it a private kitchen if it's inside a hotel?

  2. That was really awesome. Thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!