It’s pretty much a given that you have to lower your expectations when you eat in an airport. For so long we’ve become used to overpriced, average fare simply because we are a captive audience. Terminal 2 of Hong Kong International Airport, however, is attempting to change that, having been designed as a food and shopping destination. As such, the tenants that occupy the vast split-level site seem to have been chosen with care. In addition to downtown favourites like Heng Fa Lau and Itacho Sushi, this past month has seen the opening of Red Lantern Asian Cuisine.
Decorated in lush red tones, the seating is sparse but comfortable. The menu, however, is slightly surprising. In addition to the expected Southeast Asian fare such as curry and satay, they have Western choice such as Caesar salad with smoked salmon or New Zealand rack of lamb. Cultural confusion?
Reading on, we were impressed with the extensive drinks menu, from ginger tea to fresh lime soda and young coconut juice. We started off with the combination satay (chicken and beef, $68 for half dozen). The meat was tender, slightly charred at one end, and the accompanying peanut paste smooth and creamy. When a large plate arrived with the boneless Hainan chicken ($98 for half), perfectly presented with julienned pickled vegetables and dipping sauce tray, we dug into the tender, faintly coriander-tinged meat. The usual accompaniment of chicken-flavoured rice cost an extra $10, of which the waiter failed to inform us. However, one comment to the captain and the charge was removed. Also in decent form was the morning glory with shrimp paste ($58), which was properly trimmed to ensure easy eating, and not too salty as the balance of veggies to paste was good.
We also sampled two types of curry – our roti paratha ($22) came with a huge bowl of yellow curry sauce and our king prawns ($128) came with a dry curry cooked with lots of garlic. The curry dip was a generous portion and rich in texture, with a slight hint of coconut. In fact, it was so good we ordered extra jasmine rice just to lap up the sauce. The curry prawns appeared huge in the mini wok in which it was served, but the big heads didn’t contain much of the velvety shrimp roe we had hoped for, although the tail meat was still firm and succulent, a positive sign.
Service is attentive and while the pacing of the food arrival was slightly off, apologies by the waitstaff were sufficient recompense. Could airport dining be on the up? Leslie Chung
Shop 320, Level 5 (non-restricted area), Terminal 2, Hong Kong international Airport, 3160 8898. Daily 8.30am-11.30pm. Meal for two: around $200.
|Venue name:||Red Lantern (Closed)|
Shop 320, Level 5 (non-restricted area), Terminal 2, Hong Kong international Airport