Birthday Bash at T’ang Court in Hong Kong

T’ang Court in Hong Kong is one of only four Chinese restaurants in the world to have been awarded three Michelin stars. Is it the food? Is it the service? Is it the ambiance? Five committed foodies go undercover to find out what, exactly, is the secret of this respected eatery.

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Here I am (second from right) with four of my best friends, Dan Creffied (far left), Sabrina Tham, Michelle Lee, and Stuart Yuen. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Food + Beverage

The Langham, Hong Kong, is a five star hotel with five food and beverage outlets. Among them is T’ang Court, one of only four Chinese restaurants in the world to have been awarded three Michelin stars.

The Langham also has a reputation as throwing some of the best media parties in the former British Crown Colony.

The events are always well-attended. Participants are routinely feted with excellent food and beverage, they get to network with other journalists, and they rarely go home empty-handed.

I’ve often left one of The Langham’s affairs with more than a full tummy. I’ve usually left with intangibles, such as new friendships, and tangibles, such as bottles of champagne, teacups and saucers, stuffed toys – the list goes on.

Last year, however, I went home from The Langham’s annual Christmas party with something out of the ordinary: a dining voucher worth HK$1,500 (roughly US$200)!

I had a milestone birthday coming up. It was several months in the future, but I decided to save the voucher so that I could celebrate my birthday in style.

The Arrival …

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Here I am at the entrance of The Langham, Hong Kong, on my way to dinner at T’ang Court. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Here I am at the entrance of T’ang Court with Stuart Yuen. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I kept the voucher on hold for fully nine months. As the special day approached, I got in touch with five of my best buddies, who all had one thing in common: a love of Chinese food.

It was only later – after checking out the menu (and the prices) – that I realized that HK$1,500 wasn’t going to get five diners very far if we succumbed to some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Maybe the voucher was really meant for just two people. Oh, well … Too late now …

That was going to mean skipping the shark’s fin, duck’s web, and foie gras. No need for the bird’s nest, abalone, or fish maw.

As for seafood, if the menu had “seasonal prices” next to the name of a dish, no need to ask. It would propel the bill into the stratosphere!

For me it wasn’t really a problem. I’ve been to countless Chinese banquets, and in my experience, the most expensive dishes are not always the most satisfying dishes.

Sometimes it’s those simple rustic dishes – short on presentation but packed with flavour – that I enjoy most.

Is it just me?

The Food …

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Amuse Bouche. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Amuse Bouche – our first course was “amuse bouche” (gratis), which seems to kick off most meals at fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong these days. Can someone remind me what it was?

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Barbecued Pork. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Char Siu – our first course was char siu, a.k.a. barbecued pork (HK$260). This is something I could eat every day and never get tired of it.

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Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Crispy Chicken. hoto Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Crispy Chicken (1) – our second course was crispy chicken (HK$620), but it was served like Peking Duck.

First, it was brought to the table whole. Then the chef took it to a carving table, where he sliced the chicken and returned it as individual servings to each diner with paper thin pancakes, scallions, and peppers.

Finally, the chef topped it with a yummy plum sauce. There was enough for three rounds.

More on this dish a bit later …

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Sweet and Sour Pork. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Sweet and Sour Pork (individual serving). Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Sweet and sour pork has always been my favourite Chinese dish, and it always will be.

T’ang Court’s sweet and sour pork takes liberties with the traditional pineapple based version, adding other seasonal fruits such as strawberries, lychee, and dragon’s eyes (HK$260).

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Vegetables with macadamia nuts. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Vegetarian – seasonal vegetables with macadamia nuts (HK$180) were served in very crispy individual baskets fashioned from taro root.

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Crispy chicken (second course). Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Crispy Chicken (individual serving). Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Crispy Chicken (2) – as with Peking duck, the chef first served us slices of roast chicken with little pancakes.

Then he took the carcass back to the kitchen, removing  every possible bit of chicken flesh, creating a followup dish.

OMG! I don’t know what else he added to the mix, but it was delicious. It was served to us individually in lettuce leaves that had been artistically trimmed. This dish sang!

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Fried rice. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Fried rice (individual serving). Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Fried Rice with Wagyu Beef – made with spring onion, and olive seed (HK$260).

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Desserts. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Chocolate Mouse Cake (HK$180) with eggs tarts (HK$18.50 each) and traditional Chinese birthday sweets (gratis).

The Verdict …

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Stuart Yuen (left), Michelle Lee, me, Daniel Creffield, and Sabrina Tham. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Stuart Yuen (left), me, and Daniel Creffied. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
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Me with birthday cake at T’ang Court. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

So what did my  foodie friends think of our dinner at T’ang Court?

I asked them if they thought it deserved three Michelin stars and what they thought about the food, the service, and the ambiance. Their responses follow:

Michelle Lee, founder of  BRB Today – Yes, it deserves its three stars!

For my first time at T’ang Court, I was most impressed with their attention to the finer details.

or example, I loved how they remembered your preferences for the amount sauce you wanted on your plate, or the amount of food you wanted served!

The lighting could be more “romantic” to give a more atmospheric feel, but it’s a minor detail that does not change my impression of this restaurant!

Stuart Yuen, Manager of the Better Ole, a pub in Sheung Shui  – Yes, it deserves three stars.

The food was fantastic, especially the wagyu fried rice – wonderfully flavourful with just the right amount of bite to it. The service was impeccable.

The Damage …

So how far did my HK$1,500 dining voucher go toward a mouth-watering Chinese dinner for five committed foodies?

We had a complimentary starter, four meat dishes, a vegetarian dish, a fried rice dish, and dessert.

It was washed down with two bottles of Parna bottled water (HK$90 each), two bottles of Tsing Tao Beer (HK$75 each), and two cups of Espresso (HK$65 each).

Including a 10% service charge (HK$294.30), the bill came to HK$3,236.30. If you subtract HK$1,500, that leaves HK$1,736.80.

T’ang Court is one of five and beverage outlets at The Langham, Hong Kong. The others are the Artesian, the Bostonian Seafood & Grill, Main St. Deli, and Palm Court.

Where

T’ang Court – Langham Hong Kong, Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

The Langham, Hong Kong, is located between Nathan Road and Canton Road in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. It is within walking distance of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and the Star Ferry Terminal.

 

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