What is it? Named after the first Chinese convenience store on Mott Street in New York City, Mott’s cuisine concept revolves around the key culinary regions of China – Canton, Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan. Under the helm of Executive Chef Fung, whose most recent successes include commanding the Michelin 2-starred kitchen at Dynasty restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel, Mott aims to enhance traditional Chinese cuisine with innovative flavour pairings and the finest ingredients.
The place: Descending into the basement venue lined with sheets of mirrors under Standard Chartered Bank, felt like walking through a vortex where Great Gatsby-esque art deco flair meets mysterious Chinese opium den, all lacquered with a layer of New York industrial chic. The transformation happened under the steady guidance of acclaimed designer Joyce Wang, although the industrial hipster ambiance has Maximal Concepts written all over it. We were particularly enamoured with the Beijing duck hanging cage, since it reminded us of all our favourite restaurants in Beijing. A variety of dining areas created unique, intimate kiosks, tailored to accommodate quiet tête-à-tête meals as well as jovial group gatherings. Charm resonates through the small details, such as a whimsical painting of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the “lucky” coins embedded in the flooring for extra good feng shui.
Classic shrimp dumpling
The food: Our first taste of Mott 32 was the south Australian lobster Har Gow infused with Yunnan ham ($110 each). This play on the classic shrimp dumpling used the more decadent lobster instead, and its texture was crunchy and sweet, a perfect contrast to the briny savouriness of the preserved ham. The siu mai, a classic dim sum dish, was made with Kurobuta pork filled with soft quail egg and crowned with black truffle ($60) was smooth and buttery, yet not exceedingly greasy. Perhaps in homage to Americanised Chinese food, next came an aged black vinegar sweet and sour pork ($180) complemented by cubes of delicious dragon fruit. The real crowd-pleaser came next in the 12-hour slow cooked sticky pork belly ($190) that is based on one of the founder’s family recipes and yields a tender piece of finely layered pork that reminded us of dong po pork in Shanghai. You can really taste the quality and dedication to details behind the BBQ prime Iberico pork glazed in Yellow Mountain honey ($295). This classic Hong Kong BBQ favourite was incredibly tender and juicy, and encrusted in a perfectly caramelised coat. Mott’s black cod and potato clay pot ($220) has comfort written all over it and each buttery piece of black cod is encased in a golden batter that soaks up the luscious flavouring from the chilli and garlic. The pork belly fried rice with preserved vegetables and egg ($160) was quite standard, although we adored the sweet crunchiness of the preserved turnip. We then indulged in green tea coated chocolate mousse ($60) and a decadent jasmine tea infused creme brûlée ($80). The light fragrance of the tea beautifully complimented the subtle custard.
To sum up: Mott 32 is nouveau Chinese fine dining with top notch ingredients in a very cool setting.
Jasmine tea infused creme brûlée
Mott 32, Basement of Standard Chartered Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central, 2886 8688