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Image 1: Occupying the top floors of the International Commerce Centre, the fourth tallest building in the world, Ritz Carlton Hong Kong is now high above any other hotels in the world.
Image 2: The entrance is on the 9th floor of the building which conveniently connects to The Elements, a high-end shopping mall above the Kowloon MTR station.
Image 4: In just 53 seconds, the express lift took us directly to the hotel lobby located on the 103rd floor!
Image 5: If you are here in the evening, a visit to Ozone for pre-dinner drinks is a must. Across from the lobby is another lift that takes you all the way to the top, 118th floor!
Image 6: Ozone opens daily in early evening on a first-come first-serve basis. Since we arrived quite early for our dinner we had a plenty of time to check out this bar.
Image 7: Looking across the harbour from this highest bar in the world, we realised we were almost at the same height as the Victoria Peak!
Image 9: Back down to the lobby on the 103rd, down the escalator is the entrance of Ritz Carlton's prestige Cantonese restaurant.
Image 11: Despite a narrow dining area, it spanned over two floors with floor-to-ceiling window providing all diners with a sense of space, and sufficient natural light on every table along with a spectacular view of HK!
Image 12: Impressive tall displays of Chinese tea and liquor on both ends.
Image 13: There was a VIP entrance/exit from the other side through the sparkling corridor.
Lucky enough, we got a table right by the window.
Image 15: The drink menu had a wide range of tea and each pot is being kept warm throughout the meal. Very thoughtful!
Image 16: They even had two pairs of chopsticks for each guest - the black one is to be used for sharing plates. We ordered the tasting menu in order to sample the signatures of Chef Lau who worked in Spring Moon at The Peninsula prior to joining The Ritz.
A small bowl of caramelized walnut for us to accompany our tea while waiting for the food.
First up, a selection of three starters in tasting portions.
Image 19: Our server told us this suckling pig was served with Chinese steam puff just like in a traditional Chinese banquet, but I didn't see any puff anywhere!
Image 20: After having a bite, I realized the puff was actually inside! The fat underneath the skin was trimmed and replaced by a thin piece of Chinese puff! Interesting twist!
Image 21: Although looked like a standard fried bean curd roll that you can get at any dim sum place, there was a distinct hint of smokiness from this roll. The chef had actually smoked the bean curd sheet before making the roll!
Image 22: It was great that this char siu didn’t have those bright artificial char siu red colouring.
Image 23: The texture was exceptional - soft melting meat with a remarkable blend of fat without being greasy at all. Wow, this was no ordinary char siu! I never had this quality of char siu in my life. I would come back for this char siu alone. I later found out it was actually made from Iberian pork!
I always get excited when it comes to seafood - Lobster 2-way.
Image 25: First a Cantonese classic preparation -- sautéed lobster tail with scallion. According to Chef Lau, the lobster used here weighs about 1.25 pound since lobsters of this size the best for texture. The sauce was very light without distracting my palate from the beautiful fresh flavour of the lobster! As expected from such a high level of Cantonese restaurant, this lobster dish was perfectly executed.
Image 26: Then a contrasting version using meat from the head, coated with salted yolk, and deep fried. Crispy batter followed by a grainy rich savoury yolk providing nice seasoning for the lobster. Flawless but I still prefer to enjoy my fresh seafood the classic Cantonese way.
Another classic from a traditional Chinese banquet - Deep fried crab claw.
Image 28: Instead of dipping in red rice vinegar, it was accompanied by marinated eggplant in black rice vinegar sauce at the bottom. I can definitely see Chef Lau's ambition in modernizing the classics.
Image 29: I was amazed by the delicate texture from each strand of crab meat. As seafood plays an important part of Hong Kong cuisine, all chefs in such a high-end restaurant must be able to control the timing precisely and this was a good example.
Next, Braised Veal Cheek with tomato.
Image 31: Fully braised to fork tender, or "chopstick tender" in this case. Excellent dish!
Image 32: As expected, a Cantonese meal can't finish without fish nor rice. The main course was garoupa roll with dried scallop and prawn accompanied by sea urchin and pumpkin fried rice.
It had some crunchy vegetable stuffing!
The tiny pieces of chopped crispy fried dough were an interesting addition to the rice.
Image 35: A selection of Chef's specialty desserts. We realized that they paid attention to the pace of the meal unlike most Chinese restaurants where we often felt being rushed -- you order, eat, pay, and go! This place allowed us to fully enjoy the meal.
Image 36: Milk jelly with black truffle is another item that I need to come back for. The velvet tofu-like texture with an intense black truffle aroma carried throughout. A wonderful dessert!
Mango pudding in fish form with small pieces of mango inside. High quality of mango!
Image 38: And last, red date and coconut jelly. I never like the flavour of red date but surprisingly with coconut was a lovely combination.
Image 39: For petits-fours, these coconut red bean jelly hearts were very good, but the gummy rice balls with warm mashed sweet potato bursting out were awesome! What a brilliant finish!
Image 40: They even provided us with a small copy of the tasting menu to keep. For sure you won't find this level of attention to details in many Chinese restaurants.
The restaurant location was high, the level of service was also high, and the standard of food was extremely high. I wouldn’t hesitate to come back here even just for the char siu and the black truffle milk jelly!