Tin Lung Heen
Ritz Carlton Hotel,
ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon,
Hong Kong, China
Tel: (852) 2850 8371
Nearest tube: Kowloon
Website: Tin Lung Heen
Tin Lung Heen was a relatively late addition to our dining itinerary. I had knowingly kept an afternoon free so we could go to Ocean Park. However, my fiancee decided that she was not keen to revisit Yan Toh Heen and so after moving some bookings around, I had an open slot to fit in a visit somewhere. I was deciding between here and Duddell’s (which would have been easier to get to, as we were staying in Central. In the end, I opted for Tin Lung Heen on the recommendation of my sister who has had two excellent meals here.
The restaurant is located within the Ritz Carlton Hotel. To get there you will need to take an elevator to the top of the ICC building where the hotel lobby is located before riding an escalator one floor down to the restaurant level. Tin Lung Heen shares the same floor as fellow Michelin starred restaurant, Tosca with both restaurant having stunning panoramic views of Hong Kong island and the peninsula. Unlike many hotel restaurants, the dining room has very high ceilings with the walls mounted with precious bottles of Chinese liquor. The restaurant were kind enough to accommodate our request to be sat by the window.
Dining here is not going to be a cheap affair, even by Hong Kong standards. Unlike many Chinese restaurants, the chef here has opted to use prime ingredients, often imported from Europe/ Australia, rather than sourcing from mainland China. This is of course reflected in the menu prices. Take for example the signature char siu or barbecued pork which is made with premium Iberico pork. A plate of their char siu will set you back £25 – probably the most expensive plate of char siu you will ever order. For lunch there is also a more ‘affordable’ dim sum menu as well as an obligatory tasting menu.
The meal began with a trio of appetisers. First up was the aforementioned signature char siu made from Iberico pork. This has to be their most hyped dish but thankfully the pork lived up to expectation. The well marbled Iberico pork gave the char siu a melt-in-your-mouth texture whilst there was good balance of salty and sweet with the marinade. Next were a couple of chilled asparagus with hoisin sauce. The asparagus were cooked until extremely soft but still just holding its shape. For me, the hoisin sauce completely overwhelmed the delicate flavour of the asparagus. To complete the trio was sea conch which had been braised in chilli and Chinese wine. The sea conch had a good yielding texture and there was enough chilli heat to make the dish interesting.
Next up was a plate of sautéed lobster with seasonal greens. The lobster was perfectly timed and tender and individual vegetables on the plate were cooked properly. In particular, the cooking of the kai lan was spot on although I am not a fan broccoli in Chinese cooking.
This was followed by a generous portion of garoupa fillet, cut from a big fish no doubt. The fish itself was again well timed with a beautiful meaty texture that you expect from eating garoupa. Accompanying the fish was a broth made from Jinhua ham and thickened with bird’s nest. As an aside, although the bird’s nest is probably the most expensive element on the dish, I am not sure what purpose it served in the overall composition of the dish as the bird’s nest itself is pretty tasteless. I’m sure it is no doubt there to add a sense of luxury but it just did nothing for me. Grate me some white truffles any day.
Our meat course were two small cubes of stewed Wagyu beef accompanied by carrots and mushrooms with a black truffle dressing. The beef itself was fine, again I’m not sure why you would choose an expensive beef like Wagyu and stew it. More to the point though, the portion size was absolutely abysmal. Two small cubes of beef, two small cubes of carrots and two baby mushroom caps. This is like I have been shoved into a time machine and landed back in the 80’s with all the pretentious, pouncy nouvelle cuisine.
We finished with a plate of fried rice topped with Alaskan king crab. The fried rice was given a unique twist with the addition of some green tea powder. There was certainly plenty of wok hei and the grains of rice were nicely separated. Definitely one of the better plates of fried rice I have eaten.
Desserts took on the most classical route with a bowl of sweetened almond cream thickened with some algae and a mini pineapple puff which were both fine, albeit unexciting. Last but not least were some petit fours of coconut & red bean jelly and a more conventional walnut cookie which were ok.
To be honest, I was mildly disappointed with our meal here. Not that there was anything technically wrong with the cooking. I came into this meal with relatively high expectations given the high praise from my sister. I have had some amazing meals at other 2* Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong and as such was expecting cooking of a similar level. The cooking here was good, pleasant, tasty but never spectacular. My other problem was the ambitious pricing. At close to £160 for the tasting menu was very expensive in by Hong Kong standards. £160 is more expensive than the tasting menu at 3* Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. This was of course compounded by the stingy portion control, particularly with the beef main course. I do wonder whether it was my fault for opting for the tasting menu which was called ‘Michelin Degust ation Menu’. Perhaps this was a clue to suggest that the tasting menu had been adapted to suit the palates of the visiting gwei los.