Date of review: August 6, 2013 | Reviewed by: Jessica Cheng
Located in the basement of Peter Building on Queen’s Road Central, the minimalistic restaurant evokes a sense of modernism but is perhaps too brightly lit. With what seems like hundreds of lights overhead in an attempt to brighten up the underground space, the restaurant loses any sense of ambiance. What makes up for the setting is it’s acoustically soundproof private rooms, which were well thought out, and the restaurant’s minimal colour palette. Gray ribbed fabric chairs surround round white tablecloth covered tables that sit atop dark gray carpet and the walls are adorned with rather small photographs of what can only be thought of as the restaurant owner’s racehorses. There are hints of green and black tinted glass against the walls with padded gray fabric adorning the sliding doors that separate the private rooms from the main dining room. Aside from these rather basic details, there is no real devotion to exquisite design. With a bit more attention to detail, the restaurant could potentially evoke more elegance and contemporary thought.
With an overwhelming menu filled with choices between classics and more unusual dishes, The Boss is not a place that leaves you at a loss for options. From bird’s nest delights to authentic Chinese soups and The Boss’ signature fried rice, the restaurant has a lot to offer. Set menus start at HK$680 per person and offer a Chinese banquet style meal with eight to ten courses. Having chosen the least expensive option, the meal began with The Boss appetiser combination, which included a tasting of Sichuan spiced drunken chicken, thousand-year-old duck egg and vinegar soaked wood ear mushrooms. All flavours complimented one another and left our tastebuds tingling. Next on our menu was braised bird’s nest with bamboo piths; the delicate mixture was served in a chicken broth soup base and arrived at our table piping hot. Following the two rather traditional starting dishes, we were served some more unusual combinations. The pomelo skin and black mushroom with shrimp roe was a bit disappointing as the taste of the Chinese mushroom overwhelmed other components in the dish and the combination of textures were off. The sautéed prawns were well cooked and were springy in texture, but the wasabi sauce that it was paired with was a bit too sinus clearing for our taste. Following the two unusual interludes in our meal arrived the baked spare ribs with Taiwanese preserved plum sauce and The Boss signature fried rice. Both dishes were rather forgettable and a tad too ordinary. The Boss signature fried rice contained all the components of generic Yeung Chow fried rice, with shrimp, eggs, barbecued pork, spring onions and a sprinkling of crispy shallots. It was difficult to determine how exactly the rice differed from other fried rice recipes and what made it signature. The sweet note to end the meal was a sweet dessert soup of watercress and slivered almonds and a fresh fruit platter, both of which were refreshing, but the soup was overly sweet and the fruits were a tad under ripe.
There is a decent wine list at The Boss, but more consideration could be made when putting together the list of house wines and wines by the glass. Priced at upwards of HK$70 a glass, we expected our sauvignon blanc to be chilled and delectable, but we were presented with a warm glass that had an unpleasant syrupy aftertaste. On the other hand, the tea on offer was extremely well chosen and more fitting to the cuisine on hand. With a fragrant and appetising selection of teas, the restaurant makes up for its apparent lack of wine knowledge.
The staff were attentive and willing to help at all times. Able to recommend dishes and rectify any sold-out items and menu changes with graciousness, they were the definite stars of the restaurant. As many of the staff hail from some of the best restaurants in town, including Sun Tong Lok and Prince Restaurant, the level of service shows and does not disappoint.
A filling meal for two, including tea and a glass of wine comes to around HK$1,800. The Boss may not be the best value for money in town, but serves some excellently seasoned and rarely seen dishes.