Restaurant: Lung King Heen Restaurant 龍景軒 (Part 2/3)
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: October 1, 2012
Location: Central, Hong Kong (SoHo/Hollywood)
Address: Podium 4, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street
Phone: +(852) 3196-8880
Transit: Central Staion
Price Range: $400HKD/person (about $50USD) – $700+ HKD/person (about $100USD+)
Tasting menu: $1080HKD/person (about $135USD)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
Food: 5 (based on what I tried)
- Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak
- Cantonese fine dining
- Specializes in seafood
- 3 Michelin Star
- First Chinese Chef to receive 3 stars
- Multiple award winning
- Outstanding view
- Private dining rooms
- Week day & end dim sum
- Chef’s Tasting Menu
- Smart casual
- Children must be 3+
- Lunch Sundays and public holidays 11:30 am – 3:00 pm
- Monday to Saturday lunch 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
- Monday to Sunday dinner 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
- See – Lung King Heen Restaurant – Part 1/3
- See – Lung King Heen Restaurant – Part 3/3
**Recommendations: The World’s 50 Best Restaurant names it as #59 in 2010 and recommends the: Sea urchin in lobster jelly topped with cauliflower cream, the crispy langoustine papillote with basil, and the free-range quail with foie gras, served with mashed potato. Other suggestions are: Truffle dumpling king, Thousand Year Egg Grouper Rice Rolls, Barbecued Pork with Honey and Crispy Scallop with Fresh Pear, Abalone Noodles, Lung King Heen Combination (Crispy Taro Dumpling with Sea Whelk in Portuguese Sauce)
It was Follow Me Foodie to Hong Kong – Part 2 and I was feeling slightly uninspired by the food scene. Either I was hitting up the wrong places or just spoiled from Vancouver’s Chinese food scene. I know that sounds ridiculous that being in the hub for Cantonese cuisine would lead to let downs for it, but it was happening. It is often said that Vancouver, and specifically Richmond, has the best Chinese food outside of China and I’ve heard Hong Kong locals agree and disagree with the statement. I think it depends on what you’re looking for, but generally Vancouver has a very high standard for Chinese cuisine. I also find there are more hit and miss restaurants in Hong Kong, but this meal I had at Lung King Heen Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel left a lasting impression.
Hong Kong is a very international, touristy, flashy and business driven city and every big name hotel chain can be found there. The Four Seasons is highly regarded in Asia and it houses some of Asia’s most luxurious fine dining restaurants. The Four Seasons in Hong Kong is the only hotel restaurant in the world to have two 3 Michelin Star restaurants – French restaurant Caprice and Chinese restaurant Lung King Heen. I was invited to try their highly acclaimed restaurant Lung King Heen and there are no expectations for the outcome of this post. I also had the pleasure of trying The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.
Lung King Heen means “view of the dragon” and it was the first Chinese restaurant to ever receive 3 Michelin Stars. The Executive Chef, Chan Yan Tak, is also the only Chinese chef to be awarded three stars making this a local and tourist dining destination.
The floor to ceiling windows of the restaurant overlook the vibrant skylines of Hong Kong, so ambiance is an effortless sell. The dining room is open and the clientèle mixed and it’s a place to get dressed up for, but it does not feel pretentious or even that showy. With a view like this I don’t think it has to try too hard, although there are more fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong featuring a view just like this. In a city that is competitive beyond its restaurant scene there are many options to impress a guest, but if your guest appreciates high quality Chinese food in a modern context that is not over the top, then I would highly recommend Lung King Heen Restaurant.
It was an honour to meet Chef Chan and I valued his talent more so than the beautiful view. He started his culinary career at thirteen and is one of Hong Kong’s most highly demanded chefs. His whole career has been based in Hong Kong so he knows the Chinese restaurant scene and has seen it evolve.
I had the Chef’s Tasting Menu and a few of his recommendations from the regular menu which is quite extensive. The tasting menu is about 8 courses (I added a few extra), but it is well portioned and paced. With such a large menu some dishes stood out above others. I found the Tasting Menu to be a bit safe so I preferred a la carte, which means knowing what to order, but this can be hard for a new customer. Be prepared that it is also quite pricey, but for a top restaurant in a top hotel chain in Hong Kong it is not too shocking especially with its many accolades and awards.
The menu and flavours were approachable and the quality of ingredients were impressive and treated well. It used traditional techniques and familiar flavours with modern and clean presentation. It was the first Chinese restaurant I’ve liked where almost every course was served with a knife and fork rather than chopsticks. Here, it was not insulting, but just part of the style and how the food was meant to be eaten and enjoyed.
I’ve written about the complexities of Chinese food and cooking here, but this menu was driven by flavour and more specifically ingredient. I valued that aspect because the variety, quality and species of seafood and proteins I had were rare to come across back at home in Vancouver. Therefore it made the dinner more special, but for a local they might experience it differently and have more to compare to.
It had just enough creativity to make it stand out, but not enough to make it far fetched from its original dish or Chinese Cantonese origins. There were classic items and some innovative courses which have apparently been imitated by other restaurants. The food is traditional Cantonese and so are Chef Chan’s cooking techniques, but how it was delivered was not. Some of the dishes were exceptional and unlike other versions of it I’ve had globally.
Generally the menu was straight forward with no real surprises, but that’s what classic Chinese cooking is about. His cooking style was rather simple and subtle without being under seasoned and there was a consistency with every course that came with rehearsed and experienced recipes. I was impressed with Chef’s recommendations, however my fine dining experience with Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong is limited so I can’t say where this one stands.
A 3 Michelin Star restaurant really sets one up for expectations. I have been to 3 Michelin Star restaurants, but not a Chinese one so I have nothing to compare to. That being said, there are not many. The guide is usually accurate when it comes to European, American and even Japanese cuisine, but I am not sure about Chinese or the other cuisines. If this is the benchmark for a 3 Michelin Star Chinese restaurant I would say it sets a very high standard, but with all due respect one that is also achievable by others. Nonetheless this was still one of my restaurant highlights from my Follow Me Foodie travels last year let alone dining experiences in Follow Me Foodie to Hong Kong – Part 2.
On the table:
- $280HKD (About $36.50CAD for an a la carte sized portion)
- I’ve had several versions of this soup, but it never tasted or looked quite like this one.
- I find many Chinese soups acquired, but the way this was executed, it could be appreciated by many cultures and tastes.
- This was Chinese style chicken soup made for Western tastes, but not in a “watered down” way.
- It was still traditional in ingredients and flavour, but just different than what I would find at most Chinese restaurants serving the same thing.
- It reminded me of Shark’s Fin Soup, but without the shark’s fin and the base of most shark’s fin soup is “superior pottage with shredded chicken” soup.
- The yellow colour through me off and I almost thought it was squash based, but it was coming from the chicken. I’m not sure what else was making it so yellow.
- It was a very viscous soup that would just coat my mouth and there was depth of flavour. Even after it was gone I could still taste the soup.
- The soup was very rich and creamy with chicken flavour to the point of almost tasting like a stew, and it was reduced until approaching sauce like texture.
- Other ingredients included tofu that was shredded like thin noodles, bamboo shoots, carrots, wood ear mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, chives and of course shredded chicken.
- I usually don’t go crazy for Chinese soups unless they are home made, but this one was excellent and so full of flavour and texture.
- Most Chinese restaurants use too much MSG or cornstarch to thicken their soups, but not here.
- It was rich with umami and natural flavour, but those flavours were intense and slowly developed.
- $160HKD (About $20.75 for an a la carte sized portion)
- They offer a version of this soup using morels instead of Chinese mushrooms which tend to be more jelly like.
- This was almost the opposite of the chicken soup, but still made equally as well.
- It was a very pure and natural soup with mushroom flavour and no added salt or MSG.
- The salty flavour was from cured Chinese ham hock which is almost like bacon or sausage.
- I could taste some Chinese cabbage flavours which was likely the sweet and mustardy tasting Brassica.
- The Brassica was infused into the broth and it was a healthy soup without tasting medicinal or herbal.
- It was a labour intensive soup (even though it might not be as obvious) made with high quality Chinese ingredients.
- One of the most valued ingredients in the soup was the fish maw (gas bladder of a fish) which is a Chinese delicacy.
- I love it, but it is acquired. It’s very absorbent, a bit gelatinous and sponge like with a bit of a crunch.
- Fish maw just absorbs the flavours of whatever it is cooked in, so this one tasted mushroomy.
- The quality of this one was unlike ones I’ve had before and it was very thick, smooth and almost silky – signs of excellent quality.
- $360HKD (About $46.50CAD for a larger portion a la carte)
- This was from the regular menu and it was traditional Chinese, but with modern execution.
- Many Chinese restaurants would make something similar using regular garlic, but the black garlic was the modern twist.
- I love black garlic which is a Korean ingredient and rarely used in Chinese cuisine, but it worked really well.
- Black garlic is a fermented garlic and it’s sweet and creamy.
- It almost tastes like earthy sweet mushroom paste and it has an intense umami.
- I’ve never had a prawn so big! I thought it was a lobster tail and it tasted like one too.
- I don’t know where I would find a prawn so large in Vancouver, so I really appreciate this dish for that reason alone.
- The prawn was meaty, tender, not chewy and crunchy and the flavour was very natural.
- It was wok fried in a spicy and aromatic soy based sauce with maybe oyster sauce.
- It was about a medium spicy and it was wok fried with dried chili, garlic, shallots, red bell peppers, cilantro and black garlic.
- It was very aromatic and I would have loved some Thai basil leaves fried in it, but it was still fragrant and the flavour well built.
- I think the chili was fried into the oil and it had good wok aroma, but it was not spicy hot.
- The flavour was reminiscent of black soy bean flavour, but there was no black bean sauce in this.
- It was a very simple dish which started with a high quality product and the execution let the main ingredient shine.
- $300HKD/person, about $38.90CAD/person
- It was a very natural, simple and delicate dish which I can appreciate, but it was still a bit mild overall for me.
- It was a flaky, moist garoupa fish in a soy seasoned broth drizzled with sesame oil.
- I found it a bit under seasoned and I had to reach for sauce quite often.
- The sesame oil was leaving a bit of a bitter after taste and overall I found this dish good, but not as memorable as the other dishes.
- The presentation was cute, but if I have a fish executed so naturally at a Chinese restaurant, I would rather the whole fish on a plate – which is just not the style here.
2007 Chateau de Francs Les Cerisiers, Cotes de Bordeaux Francs, France – It was 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon – It had complex fruit flavours, a bit of spice and velvety tannins. I enjoyed this vintage right at the end of its life. It was dense with good body and it went well with the heavier proteins.
- This was a seasonal special.
- This might be another dish that was harder to appreciate because it is likely you’ve had many versions similar to it.
- The chicken was very good quality though, and it was slippery and silky with good flavour.
- It was sautéed with sweet crunchy bell peppers and savoury black bean sauce.
- It wasn’t oily or overly sauced, but just natural and very simple.
- The sauce was a rather standard black bean sauce, and it was a good dish, but more ordinary.
- $820 (About $106CAD for an a la carte portion)
- They offer a version of this dish with duck liver (foie gras) for $1000HKD.
- I’m not sure how “Wagyu” and “Kobe” beef labelling work in Hong Kong, but if this Australian Wagyu Beef is in fact raised in Australia, then it is technically not “Wagyu” which must be raised in Japan.
- It was a bit sad to see the beautiful Wagyu steak all cut up in cubes, but in a Tasting Menu context it was appropriate and still appreciated.
- It was sautéed with crunchy bell peppers, caramelized chives, morels and perhaps a bit of chili.
- It was very natural and simple again to showcase the highly prized beef.
- I’ve never had Australian Wagyu Beef, but it tasted very similar to lamb even though it looked like beef.
- It was very lamb like and unexpectedly gamey with a very strong meat flavour.
- It was very soft, tender and not chewy and cooked almost rare.
- It was simply seared and it had the colour of ahi tuna.
- I was expecting the inside to look white with more fat marbeling, but it was a deep reddish pink.
- I wanted to enjoy this more, but it was slightly too gamey for me.