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I grew up in small-town Canada where Chinese food was mostly cheap and cheerful (sweet-and-sour chicken balls!). So when I moved to Asia after university, I was excited to broaden my palate. Eight years later, I still get excited about trying a new Chinese restaurant and was keen to check out the new yè shanghai in town.
There are various yè shanghais in Asia, with the first established over 20 years ago. A few have Michelin stars. In Hong Kong, there’s now one at Pacific Place and this newcomer at K11 MUSEA.
We arrived early, at 6pm, and were seated on the main floor in one of the booths. While we couldn’t see the view of Victoria Harbour from our spot (book a table downstairs for this), it’d be a great choice for those wanting a private, quiet meal.
First, we tried the new cocktails. Though the restaurant wouldn’t necessarily be the first place I’d think of for cocktails, these were excellent – unusual, smooth and, most importantly, delicious. My friend loved the Jasmine Fizz ($120), made with jasmine vodka, house-made jasmine syrup, Prosecco and clarified lemon juice. I tried the Yamamomo Verry Berry ($115), a twist on the classic Clover Club cocktail, made with local berries, vanilla syrup, lemon juice and egg white. I highly recommend this drink!
We dove right into the food after this, but looking back, I wish I’d tried a few more cocktails. The White Rabbit Story ($120), inspired by the popular candy but with rum, cognac, citrus and milk, would have been perfect for dessert.
We tried a version of the set dinner menu (standard menu is $498/person).
Our starter plate contained king oyster mushrooms with spring onion sauce (addictive), bean-curd skin rolls with avocado (slightly sweet and gooey, also addictive), sweet-and-sour spare ribs, tea-leaf-smoked egg and bean-curd gluten with shoots.
The wonton and chicken soup was simple and homey.
I loved these stir-fried river shrimp, especially with a touch of vinegar – fresh and bouncy in texture, elegant in flavour.
Ah, sweet-and-sour fish, an elevated version of the sweet-and-sour dishes of my childhood. Who knew pine nuts go so well with this dish?
This baked stuffed freshwater crab “shell” was a tasty bite (I just wish it had been bigger!) that was also excellent with a touch of vinegar.
The steamed pork belly wrapped with fragrant leaves also felt very homey. This was a good-sized piece of fatty pork marinated in a traditional glaze.
After all these came our xiao long bao. They might look simple, but they were my favourite bites of the night. The broth is on the richer, oiler side, but it was worth every calorie. I hope to come back again just for these!
Our meal ended with fried meringue filled with banana and red bean paste (kind of like a doughnut) and traditional almond soup.
We enjoyed our time at this new branch of yè shanghai. The cocktails were great and the food was classic and elegant, though the service was a bit spotty. Those with large appetites may find the portion sizes a bit small. I was full when I left the restaurant, but I had been slightly worried throughout the meal that I wouldn’t be. Perhaps an excuse to order more xiao long bao!
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.
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