Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hong Kong - Above & Beyond 天外天

It's not out of this world but it certainly is above and beyond.  It is above and beyond what most other Chinese restaurants who seek to modernise Chinese cuisine for today's palate offers.  It is the use of better ingredients that translates into better enjoyment of the produce, something which has been lacking on the Chinese food scene even in the upper middle echelons, which is a real disappointment since it doesn't translate to better value pricing.  

Above & Beyond in my 2 recent visits at least tries to deliver on the promise of good value pricing.  And based on tastes and views alone, is pretty much up there in the clouds, sitting atop the new-ish Hotel Icon in TST East, oddly enough.  But it is perhaps the slightly out of the way location which allows it to deliver.  

Smoked Bresse Pigeon with Oolong Tea Leaves
All dishes were enjoyable but perhaps the standout was the smoked pigeon.  Not a huge fan of pigeon, but this changed my opinion.  Not the skinny dry ones I've had in Shatin, but a tasty (not gamey) bird that was juicy and had hints of fragrant Oolong coming through.  

Suckling pig trotters in abalone sauce
Of the appetizers we ordered, the collagen fix from the baby pig trotters were juicy and tender.  The sauce was good although I didn't get much of a whiff of abalone.  

Steamed crab with glutinous rice

The Rice
The steamed crab over glutinous rice was good but in my opinion, nothing beats the crab and rice combo at Xin Dau Ji.  The glutinous rice here was a tad too soft for me, but that's just personal since I prefer my grains very separate and apart.  The crab was definitely good quality and full of meat and roe.   

Fried shrimp patties with basil

Spareribs in plum sauce and poached pears in red wine
Spareribs well deep fried but I was sold on the pears in red wine.  Great way to lift an otherwise heavy dish.

Stir fried shrimps with lychees
Another dish to use fruit to give it a natural sweetness and freshness.

Chilled Mango Pudding

Sweetened almond cream with egg white

Baked sago pudding

Desserts were surprisingly good, especially the mango pudding in summer.  Good quality and naturally sweet, unlike the often used artificial mango puree these days.

It's not a cheap place but it offers great value.  Even dim sum at lunch is a treat.  My only complaint at lunch is a less than attentive service you get for dinner.  But you can only blame it on having to share the attention with like minded customers who swamp to what is an obscure area to me to lunch above and beyond TST.

28/F, Hotel ICON
17 Science Museum Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852-3400 1318