I left Hong Kong at the age of 5, and save for a year stay during my primary school years have only made the occasional trip back. On those rare visits I seek out the food from my childhood like baked pork chop rice, thick syrup-drenched french toast and streetside egg waffles hot off the iron. As a result I’ve eaten very little in Hong Kong on the high end of the scale so on my recent trip I was eager to sample Hong Kong’s Michelin-starred wares. We made reservations at one 3* and a 2* – Tim’s Kitchen in Sheung Wan.
The small two-storey restaurant was already full of families and couples tucking into dim sum when we arrived for a late Saturday lunch. Having read lukewarm reports on their yum cha offerings we went straight for the à la carte menu. We began with the Chilled Marinated Goose Meat Roll that featured shredded goose and crunchy vegetables rolled in a thin golden bean curd sheets. Surprisingly light, very tasty and an appetising start to the meal.
The restaurant specialises in traditional Cantonese dishes, in particular seafood, so we ordered all three preparations of their famous crab claws. First up was the Deep-Fried Crab Claw with Peppercorn Salt, perfectly shelled so its shape remained intact then dusted with an aromatic salt and pepper coating, fried and sprinkled with minced garlic and chilli slices. The contrast of sweet soft crabmeat against the crisp savoury crust was delicious and seriously addictive.
A Steamed Crab Claw with Winter Melon was more subdued but still flavourful, with a lovely viscous sauce and tender braised melon.
Our favourite was the Steamed Crab Claw with Egg White – the sweet shellfish paired beautifully with the silken set egg white. Apart from the obvious quality of the crab, it must be noted that they were all HUGE. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever had the pleasure of eating such meaty crab claws.
Braised Bamboo Pith with Pigeon’s Egg was another understated yet sophisticated dish – the delicate porous pith soft but with a slight bounce, and the deep-fried pigeon’s egg had inexplicably silky barely-cooked whites despite the hard yolks.
Braised Pomelo Skin with Shrimp Roe was faintly sour and not really my cup of tea but was clearly executed well as the skin was soft and devoid of bitterness – something only achieved through a precise and tedious cooking process.
We hadn’t anticipated the large portion sizes (more specifically, of the crab) and a plate of Stir-Fried E-fu Noodles with Fresh Crabmeat proved to be one dish too many. It was good but fairly ordinary, so we had a small bowlful each and left the rest.
Full as we were, we couldn’t resist dessert so ordered a couple off the dim sum menu. This turned out to be a big mistake – the Fried Custard Buns lacked crispness and the bread and eggy filling were both heavy and stodgy. The bland Black Sesame Pudding was worse and we couldn’t even finish one of the neat diamonds between us.
Save for the blip that was dessert, we really enjoyed what was some very precise cooking at Tim’s Kitchen. The dishes may appear simple but require much technical skill, and the ingredients used were all stellar. I couldn’t say if it was deserving of two coveted stars or not but I certainly found the food superior than that at Hakkasan, the only other Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant I had frequented. Stars or no stars, those stunning crab claws are worth a gander.
Shop A & 1/F
84-90 Bonham Strand
t. 852 2543 5919