Azure 80 offers a luxurious Chinese dining experience
Located at Harbour City, Azure 80 by Taste Gourmet Group positions itself as a Shanghainese-Sichuan eatery, boasting stunning 270-degree views of Victoria Harbour. The palatial-style decor is ultra luxurious.
The Azure 80 culinary team have been trained by reputable Master Chef Chan Kai Tak, who has had an impressive career as the head chef at The Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai and Yun Yan, a Bib Gourmand Michelin establishment here in Hong Kong. Chef Chan has graciously shared the recipes of 20 of his favourite Sichuan dishes with the team, teaching alongside them to design a few of the restaurant’s signatures.
Let’s take a look at some of Azure 80’s most notable dishes.
Chilled jellyfish in aged vinegar (HK$238)
Presented as individual dainty, flower-like items, this dish is almost too beautiful to eat. At first, I thought the jellyfish had been deliberately carved into a delicate floral pattern, but little did I know that these bite-sized gems are a particular (miniature) type of jellyfish from Mexico! The mini jellyfish are crunchy and crispy – a significant contrast to the huge strands of jellyfish that diners normally encounter at a Chinese restaurant, which are often slightly tough. The intricate pores of these jellyfish provide the ideal absorption medium for holding pockets of the aged vinegar. The end result is tangy and sweet, leaving diners craving more.
Mandarin fish in sour soup (HK$468; +HK$398 to add Boston lobster)
The first big hit of the night! A Sichuan delicacy, mandarin fish in sour soup (酸菜魚) has proved its popularity in Hong Kong, with many restaurants claiming the best rendition of this dish. This preparation utilises deboned slices of mandarin fish (桂花魚) to deliver a tender texture. An abundance of Sichuan peppercorn, dried chilli and preserved greens are used to create an addictively spicy yet numbing sensation. Our only suggestion to the culinary team is to enhance the broth – which ideally should be a fish stock made from the bones of the fish – with more layering of flavours.
Azure 80 takes pride in its seafood selection, and at an additional cost, one can add a fresh lobster to the soup; the Boston lobster served to us was sweet and succulent. However, with this type of broth, any additional seafood item would be worthwhile.
Barbecued Ibérico pork (HK$278)
This dish was highly recommended by the staff and has already become a favourite of diners at Azure 80. Unfortunately, it was a miss for us. Perhaps the BBQ pork (叉燒) game is rather strong in Hong Kong, giving Azure 80 a very high level of competition and small margin of error. Ibérico pork has been chosen for a more meaty flavour, and the ideal cut of pork shoulder butt is used. Nonetheless, the sauce was too sweet for my liking, and it tasted of plain syrup rather than a fragrant BBQ sauce concoction. The pork served to us was overcooked, leading to quite a tough texture, and the edges were dry and chewy. Given its strong reputation, I reckon this was just a slip in consistency – something I hope Azure 80 can work on.
Crab coral stone-pot rice (HK$788 for 4)
The second big hit of the night! This deluxe stone-pot rice is made with freshly shucked crab roe that’s mixed with rice, fried and served tableside. This dish is almost a theatrical performance, starting with a whopping 200 grams of crab roe glistening on the table. The sizzling-hot stone pot containing a bed of rice is fried in front of diners, together with the crab roe. The final product even has a generous dollop of crab roe on top, much like the cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae. This dish is an explosion of crab, with the fragrant roe mixed together with the meat, then folded into the bed of egg fried rice. There is certainly no holding back on flavour (and sheer quantity) with this one!
Though Azure 80 comes at a higher price point, it displays Chinese cooking at a fine-dining level. The culinary team use premium ingredients to redefine Chinese cuisine for diners looking for a more luxurious experience. The panoramic harbour views make this restaurant the perfect choice for anniversaries, birthdays or any celebratory event.
Where: Shop OTE 201, 2/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST
For reservations: phone 3468 5005
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.