Review: Ying Jee Club, Cantonese fine dining restaurant, Hong Kong (2 Michelin stars)
A review of Ying Jee Club's new Nostalgic tasting menu
To me, a multi-course, Michelin-starred tasting menu is usually reserved for special occasions. Often they are a worthwhile splurge but in a year like this one I’ve tried to be more restrained. My taste buds have also been craving home-y comfort food most. So I was really excited to learn about (and try!) 2 Michelin-starred Ying Jee Club’s new comfort food-packed 8-course Nostalgic Tasting Menu on offer for a reasonable $880. It’s available for lunch (and, when hours are extended again, dinner).
Since it opened in 2017, I’ve heard many great reviews - with some die-hard Cantonese cuisine fans declaring it their favourite restaurant in town. Chef Siu Hin-Chi, formerly the Executive Chef at Duddell’s, has been at the helm since its opening and is widely known as a master of his craft.
With this new tasting menu, Chef hopes to evoke fond memories / introduce new flavours by featuring various dishes popularized from the 1930s to 1960s. Comfort food made with premium ingredients and Michelin-starred skills - did it live up to the hype?
The meal started with Crispy Taro Toast with Prawn. We’ve probably all had the white toast version of this dish but did you know the original base was made with taro? They were accompanied by comforting minced pork and shrimp patties.
Next up was a Bird’s Nest Broth with Partridge. Finely minced partridge, purple yam puree, egg white ribbons all swirled together and topped with imperial bird’s nest. Very elegant and silky.
Here is the Steamed Leopard Coral Garoupa with Shredded Pork, Black Mushrooms and Bean Curd. All of the ingredients are layered and then steamed together so the meat juices trickle down to the fish and tofu.
This Sauteed Pigeon with Sea Cucumber and Yunnan Ham was perhaps my favourite dish of the night. The pigeon was super tender with a classic superior soy glaze. And the breaded Yunnan ham with rock sugar and ginger was such a treat - wish I could have this all the time but alas!
The Braised Chicken Wings with Yunnan Ham and Bamboo Shoots was a dish that required the chef to debone the wing without tearing the skin and then stitching it back together with julienned bamboo shoot. Beautiful and also delicious - tender flesh braised and glistening with abalone sauce.
I’m still trying to wrap my head about the technique required for the Braised Pomelo Peel with Conpoy and Fish Maw. The pomelo pith is repeatedly soaked, boiled and chilled over three days… then deep fried and braised in a stock of fish bones, dried shrimp and Jinhua ham. If this is a nostalgic dish for you, get thee to Ying Jee Club asap! To me, it was an undeniably tasty comfort food dish though I’d never imagine it had taken so long to prepare.
The Steamed Fried Rice came with chicken, conpoy and whole abalone.
To end the meal, we were served Red Bean Pudding with Coconut Milk, Winter Melon Paste Puff, and a Baked Sago Pudding with Lotus Seed Paste. The pudding and puff were good if not particularly memorable but the sago pudding was spectacular. Can’t wait to have this one again!
To be honest, I haven’t had very much high-end Cantonese cuisine (besides high-end dim sum). The Nostalgic Tasting Menu was lovely though I felt like I needed someone to explain the skill involved otherwise the dishes may have seemed, deceptively, simple. I’d definitely recommend this one to Cantonese cuisine experts as well as anyone else wanting to explore high-end Cantonese cuisine. Maybe we can’t travel, to other countries or back in time, but thankfully good meals can be transporting.
Also, if you prefer to eat at home these days, Ying Jee Club is also offering various takeaway set menus as well as a takeaway a la carte menu (15% off for takeaway orders). Signature dishes include Crispy Salted Chicken, Marinated Pigeon with Hua Diao, and Wok-Fried Lobster with Shallots and Scallions.
Nexxus Building, Shop G05, 107-108, 41 Connaught Rd Central, Central, 2801 6882