Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beyond Good

Now sometimes when bloggers or journalists are friends with certain PR people, said brands will mysteriously receive lots of coverage and praise in their publications. And that's why I feel it's right to note here that while I am friends with the PR Mandy at Hotel Icon, that is not why I wax constantly about their ridiculously moist and lovely cupcakes, nor is it the reason that I am about to spend the rest of this blog post swooning over the hotel's Chinese restaurant, Above & Beyond. In fact, it's probably more apt for Mandy to wonder whether I solicited her friendship specifically so that I could extract more cupcakes and hosted meals at her hotel.

Above & Beyond is sort of a strange name for a Chinese restaurant, and the Terence Conran-designed interiors aren't particulary Chinese-y either, which is probably the only reason this place isn't more fetishized among travel guides. It's certainly not the menu, which is dreamt up by former Man Wah Chef Joseph Tse and offers both traditional and slightly adapted Cantonese specials.

I've been to A&B a good four or five times now, which is saying something because I never go to Kowloon. But it's the first time I've had their dim sum, which is ably executed and beautifully presented. Nothing to complain about here.

Normally, though, I come for dinner, and sit at the last table by the corner with a harbour view (considered the best table in the house) with lovely views of Hong Kong island and the somewhat underwhelming light show every evening at 8pm. I make sure to order the tea-smoked chicken, and the sweet and sour pork that's thinly sliced and wrapped around a slice of pineapple, then paired with red-wine-soaked pears. Yummers. Also love the steamed coral crab with glutinous rice, although that's typically way too filling to eat unless you have at least four people, or you're super hungry.

But back to this lunch. They gave us a couple of the seasonal specialties to try out, including this hairy crab roe stuffed onto a tofu pouch filled with chicken and scallop and some other things. I hate picking at hairy crab and I pretty much only like to eat it with tofu, because it's a bit too salty (sigh, yes, I'm a neophyte like that). I cleaned this up though, and I'd eat it even without the topper. Unfortunately, you can't have this, because the hairy crab promo ended in early December. Better luck next year!

Dou miu, or pea sprouts. A must-order when you step into any restaurant during the winter season, because it's the best vegetable, as defined by the fact that it tastes so good I don't even consider it a real vegetable.

And then, here, the real reason we came for lunch, the claypot rice! Bo jai fan is one of Chinese cuisine's unsung heroes, a true winter warmer but typically considered more ghetto fare. Not so ghetto if you're going to pair your pork and liver sausage with ground-up TRUFFLE. Because truffle wins everything! These bougie bo jai fans are available until sometime in February, I believe. I, personally, can't wait to go back for more.

Above & Beyond is at 28/F, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong.
Tel: (852) 3400 1318

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