Date of review: July 26, 2011 | Reviewed by:
Celebrity Cuisine is located just off the hub-bub of Soho on the first floor of the small boutique Lan Kwai Fong Hotel in Kau U Fong. The restaurant is split into two rooms, both quite small. The front room fits about four tables and is outfitted with purple carpeted walls, which along with the gray carpeting makes the room feel quite cocooned. The slightly larger main dining room continues the vibrant purple colour theme, with one entire wall decorated with purple and white flowers. Spotlights light the dining rooms, which combined with the black leather seats, give the restaurant a slightly theatrical feel.
Celebrity Cuisine serves classic Cantonese cuisine, most of which is well-executed. They are particularly adept with poultry, offering a fantastic rendition of a crispy-skin chicken. All too often, the crispy-skin is just the name of the dish and the actual part of the bird is soggy, but not in the case of Celebrity Cuisine. Here, the skin actually crackles while the meat is tender and juicy. Strangely, this was the first dish to arrive during our meal, even before our appetisers of deep-fried crab claw with minced shrimp and the signature bird’s nest stuffed in chicken wing. When they did arrive, the crab claw is a generous portion with a nice crunchy crust encasing large shrimps. The chicken wing is more disappointing: bird’s nest on its own never tastes of much, and to debone a chicken wing and take out the tasty meat to replace it with bird’s nest is an odd idea as it means that the whole dish is bland and flavourless, apart from the very tasty chicken skin coating. We much prefer the crispy baby pigeon, which comes piping hot and has the requisite contrast between crispy skin and gamey meat. Another meat dish we were eager to try was the Hakka braised pork belly with preserved vegetables. This homestyle dish comes in a hot pot and is hearty in flavour, showing off the high quality of the preserved vegetables. Unfortunately, the pork itself is disappointing, undercooked so that instead of falling apart at the touch of a chopstick, it was tough. Finally, for the dessert, the selection is limited and mainly involves Cantonese classics with the added luxury of bird’s nest so we order the almond milk with bird’s nest. This is a nice dessert to end on as everything else at Celebrity Cuisine is seasoned to the utmost, this calming and soothing dessert that is not too sweet will restore some balance to your palate.
The wine list at Celebrity Cuisine is not what you’d come to this restaurant for. Even by the standards of a small Cantonese restaurant, the selection is limited with only one house red and one house white available by the glass. There is also no further description as to what the grape variety the house wines might be, nor their provenance. Wines by the bottle fare a bit better with four reds from France, Italy and Australia and two whites. All bottles fall between the HK$380 to HK$1,300 price range. It is a good thing that corkage at Celebrity Cuisine is only HK$50.
The service at Celebrity Cuisine can be patchy: we were given two different menus for no particular reason, one of which was much abridged. When we asked for two full menus, none came. On the other hand, the waiters are fastidious about changing plates as soon as they’re dirty and can be solicitous, for example offering us gloves to eat our baby pigeons with.
A dinner for two with wine comes to about HK$1,300. This is not terribly expensive considering delicacies such as bird’s nest were ordered and the overall quality of the produce was high.