What? Comforting home-grown Cantonese culture has been bestowed unto the residents and visitors of Repulse Bay. Despite the restaurant being based on the premise of the hipsterisation of Dai Pai Dong favourites, the food is outstanding, and the type that that is best served to guests who are visiting Hong Kong for the first time–ease them into the Canto way of life.
Down to earth, reassuring Chinese favourites are what line the menus, from stir fried rice noodles with beef ($88), supreme roast goose (whole $488) and pork offal ($72), to handmade meatballs in congee ($60), house made noodle rolls (cheung fan) ($38) and simmering chicken clay pot (whole $368).
The Food: When we were there we tried the congee with handmade meatballs ($60), which managed to convert even a non-congee eater to the staple; barbecued pork with rice ($88) and stir fried rice noodles with beef ($88). We devoured all without hesitation and found them incredibly tasty.
Some had grown up with the dishes and loved them for their homely feel, while others were newer to the cuisine and felt entirely safe eating great portions of the rice, noodles, meat and vegetables. For the oft tender Western stomach, it can take some time to get very comfortable eating 'street' food on the, uh, street–this was a gentle way for many to get accustomed.
The beef noodles deserve special mention, with tender beef hidden amongst the crunchy bean sprouts and fresh, bouncy rice noodles, all smothered in a rich soy sauce. DE-LIC-IOUS.
We couldn't neglect a cheung fan fix having made all the effort to go visit the rice noodle store, and opted for the straightforward hoisin, chilli, peanut and soy sauce combination. For a very generous $38, no one was complaining. Now we are no cheung fun experts (who are we kidding, we absolutely are–we eat it everyday because a lovely lady called Ming sells it on the street at the BOTTOM OF OUR BUILDING so we aren't to blame), but we found these to be of extraordinarily high quality, and liked them equally as much as the beef noodles and barbecued pork: it is all very good.
Sweet: For those who are known to have teeth that border on sweet, the homemade crispy dough twist is rumoured to have myriad positive affects on the body; primarily that of wisdom and happiness (though we cannot guarantee the wisdom). Also just $38.
Verdict: Chinese food that is not overly Westernised can be a bit of a closed book for people. What we really liked about Meen & Rice was the beginners' slope/childhood favourites approach to the cuisine that is standard in our city. The level-headed prices in a rather high society location are refreshing, and the beach-side vibes aren't terrible; quite the contrary.