Last Thursday my old friend from Norway was kind enough to invite me to dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, the Man Wah. Opulence! Beauty! It's been a while since I've been in an expensive restaurant with a handsome man. So what if it's a platonic friend from 1980s Norway?
We had prawn toast, Peking duck and Tsengdou. ("Tsingtao") So far so good! As a Sichuan food-lover it's difficult for me to get excited over Canto-food but figured Peking duck is Peking duck and it's difficult to get it wrong.
And of course they didn't get it wrong, as such. After all, here's a restaurant that charges $1,600 per person for some boiled cabbage and a slab of abalone. But the waiters!
I hadn't seen Svenn in many years, and this was only the third time since 1984. We had much to talk about. That didn't faze the waiters. In they barged with detailed descriptions of every item on the menu, although we could clearly read it in Chinese and English. First they explained everything before we ordered, and then, when they brought the food, they started explaining again. We couldn't get a word in sideways as they droned on and on, in robotic, unintelligible English. Stoooop! It's a grilled bird wrapped in pancake, drenched in a sickly sweet sauce! Get over yourselves. Cantonese food is not a great mystery to be worshipped and paused before in awe.
CHILLies!, the rooftop Sichuan restaurant in Pui O, is kind of the opposite. Underpriced and unpretentious, we serve dish after dish without bothering you. Just cook, cook, cook, serve, serve, serve, that's us. Like last night for example. We served 10 dishes to 18 people between 20:10 and 22:00. Because of some vegetarians, we even had to cook some of the dishes in two versions.
If there was one complaint, it was that the got too full. That and beer and sparkling wine too, for only $400 per head, children half price!
Next meal served for your undisturbed pleasure on March 18th.
文華酒店 (Man Wah Jau Dim) Cultured China Wine Shop/Mandarin Hotel
北京鴨 (Bak Geng Ap) Peking Duck
辣椒 (Lat Chiu) Chillies