[Hong Kong] When Westerners speak of Chinese food, they usually mean Cantonese cuisine. Some may have the misconception that Cantonese cuisine is all about rich food, the shark’s fin, sea cucumber and bird’s nest. At The Chairman, you will find none of this.
The Chairman Restaurant 大班樓 has gained a reputation of presenting quality Cantonese food, light and delicately, with some modern interpretation. Despite being new (opened in 2009), it has earned many fans and accolades, including being ranked one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Though it lost its Michelin star.
Finding this discreet and quiet restaurant can be a challenge if you are not familiar with Hong Kong’s Central. But if you know where the famous Kau Kee Beef Brisket is, it is about a minute or two’s walk away.
If not for a few round tables, I would have thought I walked into a romantic European restaurant. There are many couples sitting by twos, the waiters are dressed who they would serve in a classic colonial style diners, and there are tasting menus for twos and fours.
The Chairman takes pride in their food: Looking at small local suppliers for produce, using organic vegetables as far as possible, no MSG (kudos for a Cantonese restaurant), using homemade sauces. They own a small farm at Sheung Shui.
A tasting menu for two is HK$578 per person. If ala carte is your way, their signatures are Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged ShaoXing Wine (seasonal price), Braised Spare Ribs with Preserved Plums in Caramelized Black Vinegar (HK$198), and The Chairman’s Soy Sauce Chicken (HK$178).
Words that be used to describe their food: Light, fresh, homely, subtle, delicate, yet flavoursome.
The dishes are not the usual Chinese food that would razzle-dazzle and blow you away with its richness and intensity.
Take for example the Seasonal Chinese Vegetables with Layered Beancurd (HK$128), the taste is quite understated that it lets the freshness of the greens and the appetizing slow-cooked fish broth base do the talking.
We also had the Deep Fried Crab Meat and Mushroom Dumpling (HK$76 for 2), and Fried Rice with Prawns Trio – fresh prawns, sun-dried prawns and shrimp paste all cooked within the same rice dish. Unassuming yet brilliantly executed.
Food is outstanding, ambience particularly quiet, and service gentlemanly. The Chairman Restaurant should also be called ‘The Gentleman’.
The Chairman 大班樓
18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong (Central MTR Exit E2, 15 min walk, Find Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, Walk straight down and you will find the restaurant on your right) Tel: +852 2555 2202
Reservations weeks in advance recommended
Opening Hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm Daily