Lai Bun Fu・禮賓傅
Date of review: July 9, 2015 | Reviewed by: Esther Wong
Recreating the old British colonial Hong Kong vibe, diners at Lai Bun Fu will find a sophisticated atmosphere that is both luxurious and comfortable. Ample spacing between tables in the 2,000 sq ft space means that diners can enjoy conversation without neighbours clinging to every word; and a VIP room seating up to 14 guests is available for a more private dining experience. Photography of old Hong Kong can be found dotted along the walls, with chandeliers in the main dining room making a cheeky nod to the “ice bucket challenge.”
Chef Chung Kin-leung, who worked at Government House from 2005-2014, heads the kitchen at Lai Bun Fu. Here, diners will find authentic Cantonese cuisine – portions run on the larger side, so we recommend visiting with a group of friends to try a wider variety of dishes. A restaurant signature, Sifu’s crispy chicken is a must-order; served with five flavoured condiments (green tea salt, lemon juice, red fermented bean curd, blueberry, and roselle), we found the tender chicken to be satisfying when eaten without the aid of accoutrements – the meat-to-fat ratio was to our liking, with the wafer-thin crispy skin adding an extra layer of enjoyment. Equally successful is the deep-fried crispy Angus beef brisket with curry sauce. Despite its cooking method, the beef wasn’t oily and retained its moisture. The curry sauce is served on the side, allowing diners to add as much (or as little) as they desire with each bite. It’s worth asking your server what seasonal vegetables are available, which can be cooked in your preferred method – we requested that our vegetables be prepared in a broth, which arrived stunningly rich and flavourful. For dessert, the almond tea with egg white is a solid rendition, adding just a hint of sweetness to round out our meal.
There is a preference for French producers here, with the wine list comprising mainly of red varieties from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhône regions. Select new world blends are available (also red wines), with by-the-glass options starting at HK$95 each, and bottles ranging from HK$480 to almost HK$20,000 each.
Servers are knowledgeable of the menu and keen to offer suggestions; used dishes were whisked away quickly and discreetly, although we found it difficult at times to get the attention of staff.
A filling dinner for two will cost approximately HK$1,000, which we find to be a fair price to pay considering the quality of the food and relaxed atmosphere, but expect to pay more if ordering seafood items.