Great food in Hong Kong
Whilst in Hong Kong last year I went to quite a few fabulous restaurants for meals. One particular restaurant I love is called ToTTs (Top of the Town) and located on the 34th floor of The Excelsior hotel in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. When I lived in Beijing several years ago, I held my 50th birthday party here – it was a fabulous night and I really [really] like this hotel and the restaurant/bar. On that occasion, I stayed in a suite for a few days and enjoyed breakfast every morning with spectacular views of Victoria Harbour which was just lovely. Unfortunately I have just read on the hotel’s website that the hotel closed earlier this year after forty-six years…what a shame!!
So after reading of its closure, it was even more special that my friend Naomi and I hosted a few friends to dinner during our visit. When you leave the lifts on the 34th floor, the atmosphere is rather dramatic. It’s dark with retro lighting throughout the walkway and the bar area is pretty special; probably a contemporary modern style – a bit ’70’s with fabulous coloured glass. Service has always been exceptional at ToTTs and this occasion was no different. Our waiter helped me choose a vegan pea and asparagus risotto and my friends ordered various meat dishes including Aussie lamb chops and beef striploin with sides of fried mushrooms and grilled greens asparagus with a parmesan cheese sauce.
The desserts chosen were creme brûlée with roasted almonds and raspberries, a dark chocolate tart with stewed red fruit and a chocolate mousse.
We enjoyed beautiful views of the Kowloon skyline across Victoria Harbour through floor to ceiling windows and at 8pm we watched the Symphony of Lights which I never tire of seeing.One other day, a HK friend and her husband took us to lunch a members only restaurant in Wanchai. I wanted to meet my friends at the restaurant but they said I would never find it and I think they were right. It was through a door on the street with no markings and no number then up a dodgy lift and to an unmarked room. The only indication was this sign as we walked in through the door.Inside was a small red painted room with several dividers enabling lunch to be a little more private along with Chinese paintings and characters on the walls and lanterns hanging from the ceiling.My friend’s aunt is the member and she loaned her card to allow us to enjoy the food and ambience. The food wasn’t really to my liking. I do like some Cantonese style dishes but I found these missing a bit of flavour; perhaps it was the chilli that I had previously enjoyed in Mainland China. But nice to see other customers enjoying their meals and I loved the interior.Dessert was interesting and not in a good way – I just didn’t like it at all.Our next restaurant, again with same friends but for dinner was to 10 Shanghai. At the time it was a new restaurant and is located in Causeway Bay; this one much easier to find. 10 Shanghai serves Huaiyang cuisine. This style of cooking originates from the region surrounding the lower reaches of the Huai and Yangtze rivers in Mainland China. There were quite a few cold dishes and I really am not a fan of cold Chinese dishes but all were beautifully presented so it was lovely to see each dish arrive at the table.The interior was truly beautiful. Its art deco theme is stunning and reminds you of a time years ago in Shanghai where you would expect to see Shanghainese women wearing qipao [Chinese high necked dress] especially with the live retro tunes being played from the 30s.
We had eaten so much during the day but the dishes just kept on coming – our hosts wanted to ensure we tried all different types of dishes but I was rather full even before we arrived. The duck was smoked and arrived with a glass lid containing the smoke. And finally dessert arrived; it was a deep fried sesame ball with fresh mango, warm soy milk and rice. You have to crack the ball with your spoon, peel back the coating which enables you to enjoy the ingredients inside.It really was no wonder Naomi and I had to walk every day. Our highest step count was 28,000 on one particular day – it was necessary though as so much food was eaten over that week.