Dim Sum Library
Date of review: February 3, 2017 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
Conveniently surrounded by retail shops within the high-traffic Pacific Place, Aqua Group’s Dim Sum Library greets visitors with its 1920s-inspired design reminiscent of art-deco and themed in black and gold. Large peacock murals are matched with Chinese birdcage-style stools, set along the well-stocked bar.
The main dining area at the back continues with a vaulted cage ceiling and geometric leaf mirrors, set against dim lighting adding intrigue to an already moody setting. The bar area is great for walk-ins, while spacious booths and larger tables are available for reservations.
Despite its name, Dim Sum Library offers more than just delicious Cantonese morsels, with a handful of a la carte choices to choose from while the abundant vegetarian options are worth considering when ordering. Classics such as crystal har gau are done right, plump with fresh shrimps and slightly glutinous, translucent wrappers an indication of good quality. The deep-fried taro puff with foie gras earns merit with its creamy taro filling, but the crust lacks the requisite light, puffy texture.
Signatures such as wagyu beef puff with black pepper lives up to expectation. The laminated cocoons encasing creamy beef filling with just the right hint of pepper are best enjoyed the moment they arrive. The dan dan xiaolong bao fuses Sichuan characteristics with the popular Shanghainese dumpling. The thin wrapper is tightly pleated at the top and perfectly shaped, but some may find the filling too loose, almost like a meat sauce, and rather spicy. The crisp tofu stuffed with squid mousse cheung fun is great for a contrast between crispy tofu roll and light rice noodle, although the squid filling could use a little bit more seasoning.
The steamed matsutake mushroom bao is a good rendition of a recently popularised item. Dim Sum Library’s version is bigger and fluffier on the bun and the mushroom filling is creamy and mildly sweet.
The restaurant offers quite an array of snacks, plus rice and noodle dishes. The crispy aubergine tossed with salted fish and minced pork was deceivingly simple. Stacked up in threes and at HK$10 apiece, the aubergine was bland, and the salted fish and minced pork topping was meagre, although the aubergine itself was sweet and juicy. The quality of desserts did not match with the same satisfaction the savoury dim sum offered. We were surprised to see none of the house-made sorbets and ice creams were available。The caramelised ginger egg custard takes the form of a crème brulee with just the lightest hint of ginger. The tofu panna cotta, topped with a thick coating to cocoa powder, was creamy and slightly denser than anticipated.
Like its sister restaurants, cocktails at Dim Sum Library remain a strong suit. The well-stocked bar is equipped with spirits and liqueurs, together with a welcoming array of cocktails featuring Asian accents such as jasmine tea and yuzu.
The restaurant’s signature One Thousand Years of Song blends jasmine tea-infused gin with yuzu and lemon and topped with egg white foam. The citrus aroma harmonises with the gin’s botanicals with a light floral finish. The Vieux Carre is a stronger drink, with richer depths thanks to a masterful blend of Hennessey Cognac, rye whiskey and angostura bitters, a great choice of cocktail to pair with deep-fried dim sum varieties.
Service at Dim Sum Gallery is warm and attentive. The mixology team shows efficiency and knowledge through thorough description for cocktails, but the main restaurant staff needs better knowledge of the menu offerings beyond chef recommended items. They are however, attentive and helpful with speedy delivery of orders.
A dinner for two with one cocktail each amounts to HK$850, good value for the quality of food served here. Dim Sum Library is a casual dining destination at Pacific Place, ideal for a quick dim sum fix without the traditional yum cha setting, although reservations are strongly recommended for peak dining hours.