Restaurant de Chine
Time Out says
Around China in 80 bites
As a rule, we don't review a restaurant on its opening day. It's just not fair. But we break this regulation for Restaurant de Chine [known as The Chin’s until rebranded in 2018], Central's newest Chinese fine dining spot, because, well, it just looks ready when we approach. And it is, with its super-friendly staff waiting beyond the simple gold exteriors in Stanley Street and inside the understated interiors, with turquoise chairs and gold and green touches throughout. The dining room may be slender, with five private areas off it, but this place oozes an uncomplicated elegance.
The menu, which we're told should grow in the New Year, is all authentic-meets-contemporary Chinese. And it pretty much runs the gamut for the Middle Kingdom's regions, as the name kinda suggests. So, we kick off with the roasted pork belly ($180) that sees three strips alongside lettuce, a tomato salsa and mustard. The fat to crispy skin ratio is perfect and it goes swimmingly with the mustard. Stellar.
Next we tuck into a rustic pot of simmered garoupa fillet with Sichuan peppercorns in chilli oil ($420). It's, as expected, deep red and covered in cut chillis but the oil is thin, creating a rich broth without the oh-so-common greasy sensation. And the spice isn't overbearing either. The fish is fall-apart but firm, mild with sweet notes. Basically, it's another quality dish. For dessert, we're told the glutinous rice dumpling stuffed with purple sweet potato ($42) is off so we're given a mango pudding with drizzles of mango purée and a blueberry for free instead. It's not a menu item but it is sweet, refreshing and tangy with decent chunks within.
Restaurant de Chine is hardly breaking new frontiers in Chinese fine dining. But that's not the point. It is doing the classics really well. We dine alone and it's a venue that works just as well for the individual as it does for the party. So, should we review a restaurant on its opening day? Well, sometimes you just have to break the rules a little. Tabitha Tam