Hysan Place is impressive. Since it opened a few weeks ago, there’s been a never-ending mass of people exploring its shops. But how many have checked out its restaurants, nestled together on the top few floors? Loads – that’s how many. On our visit, each eatery is crammed with hungry bodies lapping up the food and the atmosphere.
We head straight for the top floor’s Red Almond, however, as we’re dying to sample its red hot Sichuan cuisine that so many chilli-lovers have been raving about. The restaurant, owned by Aqua Group and billed as ‘Hutong’s little sister’, is quaint in style, with a bamboo ceiling and wooden armchairs and tables, all harkening back to a China of old, set against a modern view of Happy Valley in the background.
But it’s all about the food – heavy on the ‘ma la’ chilli. From the ‘cold dishes’ on the menu we plump for the marinated duck tongues in spicy soy sauce ($68), which are tasty, but the tender flavours are a little dumbed down by the all-too-powerful Sichuan peppercorns. The pot-stickers filled with pork and chicken stock ($50) from the dim sum selection fare much better, though, particularly when mixed with the accompanying chilli sauce.
The fiery stars however (both signatures) are the yellow eel with preserved chilli soup noodles ($68) from the noodle and rice range, and the sliced beef poached in Sichuan sour soup served with bell peppers and wild mushrooms ($88). These guys pack a punch – particularly the beef, however you’re still treated to an array of other flavours as you sweat your way through the broth. The eel’s soup is also a star, tempering sour and spice in a way which is a treat for the tongue.
Wash everything down with the eight treasure tea with lychee ($28) and you’ve got yourself a decent, sweat-inducing meal. There are definitely better – and cheaper – Sichuan offerings in Hong Kong but it’s worth hiking all the way up Hysan to give this place a try. Matt Fleming
Shop 1402, 14/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay, 2155 2872. Mon-Sun midday-11pm. Dinner for two: around $500.
|Venue name:||Red Almond|
Shop 1402, 14/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay