Review of Lung King Heen
So after seeing the opportunity of going to China, I wanted to try one of the Michelin Three Star restaurants in Hong Kong while I was there. Eventually, the one I decided to try was Lung King Heen. Lung King Heen was the only restaurant that held roots in Cantonese cuisine, so it was the easy choice to make. After coming up with the initial idea, I asked Professor Ho to see if any student was interested in trying LKH . In the end, four others came with me, and I wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart for all of their patience dealing with all the snags we ran into before finally making it here. I was so worried about this excursion, and I am happy to say it turned out well in the end.
Lung King Heen is a Cantonese restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hong Kong, which is the only hotel I know of to have two Michelin Three Star restaurants (the second one is the French restaurant Caprice). The menu we had was a la carté, although there is a tasting menu available. The average price of a meal at LKH could range from HKD 500- HKD 1000, depending on what you order (frivolous spenders can pay much more than that). Thanks to the kind donation of the champagne from one of my dining companions, my bill was slightly below HKD 600, which I will be basing this review on (which is on a very tight budget).
This review is meant to be a critical analysis of the restaurant, so before reading on, I would like to say that I enjoyed this meal and it was easily the best meal I had during my trip in China, and better than some of the meals I had at Michelin Three Star restaurants in New York. I wanted to warn that just because I am writing a lot of criticisms does not mean I regret my meal there.
The meal started with a champagne (Louis Roederer Brut Premier). The champagne was decent, but there was no pronouced quality (such as acidity, minerality, fruit, spice, etc). It tasted a little bit muddled, although being a champagne.
The amuse bouche served was a crispy eggplant slice and two eggplant cubes in chili oil. I honestly thought this amuse bouche could have been better. I really did not like the cubes' texture and bland taste, and the chili oil did not do much to help that. The crispy eggplant was tasty, but I was hoping that they would just have given two or three of those instead of a mix of crispy and non-crispy eggplants.
The crispy pigeon (HKD 120) was very good. Sort of what I was hoping for the Beijing Duck, the skin was extremely crispy, and the meat was tender. My only complaint was that the meat itself was a bit underseasoned, but LKH did offer a side of their own Hoisin sauce, as well as a salt-pepper medley which fixed the pigeon up right away.
Baked crab shell stuffed with onion and crab meat (HKD 150) was quite good, but nothing special. For one, I thought the meat and onions would be mixed together, not separated like on the picture. Secondly, there was no real difference in taste between this crab and other crab dishes I had in the US. What I did like was the crispy baked crust surrounding the crab.
The crab meat inside. As I said before, there is no onion visible in the shell.
I think my favorite dish was the Braised egg noodles with wagyu beef cheek and gravy (HKD 140). The noodles were maybe not as al dente as I might have hope, but it had some structure to it. The cheeks were very good. Although for the price I paid I doubt it was top grade wagyu, the meat was very tender after being braised. The onions on top were also a refreshing addition to an otherwise very savory dish.
What bugged me about LKH wasn't really the food as much as the service. Although my whole dining company did not speak Cantonese or Mandarin, we still assumed that at a Michelin Three Star level, the servers would speak English fluently. They were better than most, but it still led to problems in the end. There were many awkward moments where I tried to ask questions to the servers, and they had a hard time understanding what I meant, such as how many dishes they would recommend we should order for dinner off the a la carté. Also, one of my dining companions had one of their dishes lost during the order process, and I had to ask the server again to recheck that particular course, which indeed was not conveyed to the kitchen. I believe LKH has the potential to be a great restaurant, but service errors like that are not tolerated by customers who are well acquainted to Michelin Three Star service.