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Restaurant Review: Lung King Heen and dim sum in the Four Seasons, Central, Hong Kong (3*)

Much has been said about the fact that Hong Kong has the cheapest 1* Michelin star in the world in Tim Ho Wan.

However, for me, the most remarkable thing about the Michelin star “scene” in Hong Kong (apart from how Yung Kee got 1*) is that you can go to the only 3* Chinese restaurant in the world – Lung King Heen (LKH) in the Four Seasons – and spend less than 300hkd (£28) for an epic dim sum lunch. The one caveat on this is that I am not using “epic” in its fullest sense. LKH is very good and we did leave epically full. However, the food did not instil me with the kind of awe or revelation that I have come to expect from a 3* level restaurant.

This is, of course, a caveat of the highest order. I am being picky beyond belief. If LKH was 5 minutes walk from where you live in any other city you would cry with joy. However, for a restaurant which is meant to be the apogee of high end Chinese food in Asia’s “world city” it wasn’t quite there (this visit). Let’s start with what was astoundingly good – the baked BBQ pork buns. As one of the people I was at the table with said, “that is the best single dish I have had in Hong Kong“. I wouldn’t go quite that far but everyone was discussing getting some to take home even after ordering two rounds at lunch.
I will probably go back just for those and to take a picture which is worthy of their genius as I was too distracted on eating them to snap something which encompasses their wonder (bad effort two pictures above). The rest of the meal was much as you would expect from a high level dim sum place. Compare it to Maxim’s at City Hall, Luk Yu or more traditional places and LKH thrashes them up and down the street. However, in comparison to Man Wah and Tim Ho Wan it didn’t excite me as much and basics like the steamed dumplings or sui mai weren’t utter perfection.
In all other areas LKH is exceptional. The presentation is beautiful (just look at the baked turnip puffs a couple of pictures above), the room is efficient and showy in a hotel dining room kind of way, your napkin migrates on and off your lap as it would in a French restaurant, the waiters hover just out of eyeline but… the flair in the food which I expected was only 90% there. Still if you want good, near exceptional dim sum with ease and elegance I would wholeheartedly recommend it. If you can face queuing in 90% humidity Tim Ho Wan. If your pockets are a touch deeper Man Wah.
  • Price – 550hkd for 2 or about £50
  • Podium 4, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

PS next on the dim sum eating list are Fu Sing, a revisit to Tim Ho Wan and Cuisine Cuisine

5 Comments

  1. Mr Noodles

    I've never been here. Sadly it's a bit too far away from our HK offices and not somewhere I've been on family visits where we usually keep it local in Causeway Bay or else go high-end across the border in Guangzhou.

    I take your point on the dim sum not having the 3* wow but surely LKH's 3* status is more derived from its evening menu. I'm thinking banquet dishes like sharks fin and abalone.

    PS: The sweet dim sum in the last photo look amazing!

  2. Tom

    Noodles – I had a look at my guide before writing this and *think* that Michelin status relates to the restaurant as a whole. Someone may well correct me though!

    Still, I agree and understand that the dim sum chefs are different than the evening chefs. But then the chefs who do the starters are different from those who do the deserts from those who do the soups to those wo do the etc…

    At any one stage if one was lacking it still calls into question the whole.

    But, it wasn't that this was lacking it was just that I hoped for a little touch more.

    I'll go back, and soon. I am now just hoping that they assist by organising a well placed evening set meal as I still need much assistance in choosing a rounded meal!

  3. Lizzie

    From my experience michelin stars mean fuck all in Hong Kong. Exceptional food at Tim Ho Wan at bargain prices and a not particularly comfortable dining area, through to another starred place that's huge, cavernous, and expensive with only a couple of exceptional dishes. It just seems terribly inconsistent to me so I think I would just ignore them.

  4. Wild Boar

    *ugh* dying of jealousy. Need to get myself some dim sum soon. Don't think I've had any since my HK trip actually.

  5. The Grubworm

    Don't know about crying with joy – i am weeping with envy though. The food does sound pretty special, particularly when you take into consideration what is on offer in terms of Asian food in London (not bad, but not close to this).

    I'm always a bit mystified by Michelin stars, whether in London, UK, Paris or Tokyo. It all seems so arbitrary, and often, in their reaching for a star, restaurants seem to lose a lot of their local flavour and character. That aside, this place sounds like superb value for money and great food too.

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