Like all the F&B outlets at Le Méridien Cyberport, Nam Fong has been closed since the end of last year whilst the five-star hotel undergoes an extensive refurbishment programme. Though the guest rooms and suites are slated for debut later this summer, Nam Fong and Le Méridien’s three other new spots for wining and dining (Latitude 22, Southside Bistro and Umami) are already open to welcome guests.
We recently paid a visit to refined Cantonese restaurant Nam Fong, the jewel in the hotel’s dining crown. The kitchen is under the capable direction of Chef Bosco Li, the former senior assistant Chinese chef at New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel and head chef at Tsui Hang Village. The elegantly renovated dining room, in line with the hotel’s modern, mid-century-inspired design direction, feels much brighter and more airy than its previous incarnation.
We indulged in Nam Fong’s degustation menu ($888/person), available only during dinner service. Like the decor, the tasting menu format displays Western influences.
We began our degustation journey by sampling a selection of Nam Fong’s signature starters with their varying texture and flavour profiles – sticky barbecued Ibérico pork, abalone in a salty sand ginger sauce, glutinous rice paper roll filled with caviar, century egg and pickled ginger (a classic Chinese flavour combo) and super-crunchy pickled Japanese yam cubes scented with the uplifting fragrance of shisho. This starter selection is a great showcase of Chef Li’s creativity, combining classic Chinese elements with global (particularly Japanese) ingredients and techniques.
Next up was this delicate surf clam clear soup, veering in style towards soothing Japanese broths. The soup is paired with a very buttery flaky turnip puff, a traditional Chinese dim sum dish we usually enjoy but that feels a bit heavy and out of place here.
Also known as amadai on Japanese restaurant menus, the grilled tilefish is more Western than Chinese in presentation. The crispy, puffed-up scales are what make tilefish one of our favourites when cooked, along with its sweet flesh. The fish is served in a thick seafood soup with thin strands of bitter melon.
We’re suckers for Sichuan cuisine, so the crispy yellow chicken with scallion oil and Sichuan pepper is a clear winner for us. The tender, juicy chicken features golden, crispy skin and pops with the tongue-numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorn. The bright green scallion oil is umami to the max.
These seasonal vegetables are described on the menu as being braised in a thick rice soup, but to us, the soup has a distinct flavour of corn rather than rice. The silky greens (pea shoots, we think) are topped with a mound of 36 months Ibérico ham for a robust flavour contrast.
One of the most intensely flavoured fried rice dishes we’ve ever sampled, the kale fried rice with scallop and roasted duck is accented with seriously addictive bits of crispy pork lard. The kale adds a lovely earthiness to the dish.
Two desserts complete Nam Fong’s tasting menu. We couldn’t detect any of the aforementioned pomelo in the chilled sago cream soup with fig, which arrives with theatrical flourish in a cloud of dry ice. Truth be told, we prefer the traditional Cantonese dessert staple of mango pomelo sago and feel this version is more style over substance. Then there’s the crispy Hokkaido 3.6 milk toast, which is gilded with dried bits of raspberry and popping candy. This dessert also feels a bit gimmicky, and we think the toast itself is much too heavy as the finale for such a gut-busting meal.
Props to Chef Li for his desire to meld Cantonese culinary traditions with his own creative flair. We’ll be back at lunchtime to try the chef’s innovative dim sum creations like the steamed spotted grouper dumplings in pickled mustard green soup and fried Wagyu beef spring rolls stuffed with cheese, black pepper and onion. Cyberport might be quite far to travel for many of us, but dining at Le Méridien feels like a holiday escape, so we think it’s worth the journey time.
3/F, Le Méridien Hong Kong, Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Cyberport, 2980 7410
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.