Xiao Nan Guo Premier・小南國壹號
Tsim Sha Tsui
Date of review: December 28, 2011 | Reviewed by:
Having One Peking Road as a restaurant location is a status symbol in itself – the address boasts some of the best harbour views in Hong Kong. Xiao Nan Guo’s flagship restaurant is on the tenth floor of the building, and at night, the dim interior lighting means that diners can enjoy the full impact of the lit-up skyline across Victoria Harbour. The restaurant is decorated predominantly in rich, dark woods, and there are a small handful of tables in glass-enclosed platforms that are ideal for special occasions. The low lighting, elegant décor and stunning views all make for an enjoyable, intimate dining experience.
Expect high-quality Shanghainese food at Xiao Nan Guo. The drunken chicken in shaoxing wine (HK$98), a staple in Shanghainese cuisine, is among the best we’ve ever tasted. The meat is perfectly marinated and delightfully tender. The wok-fried wild fresh river shrimps (HK$188) are incredibly fresh, but the digestive tract wasn’t properly removed in one or two of the tiny shrimps, which is disappointing. The snow cabbage with soy beans and bean curd sheets (HK$88) is generously portioned and delicious. The vegetables are sweet and fresh, and the accompanying broth is light and beautifully seasoned. The xiao long bao (HK$36), a Shanghainese signature, are done well here – the wrapping could be thinner, but the filling is well-flavoured, the soup hot and well-seasoned. Carb-wise, you can’t go wrong with the braised signature noodles (HK$48/bowl) or the hairy crab cream and rice in hot stone bowl (HK$88/bowl). The noodles, well-flavoured but light, are a crowd-pleaser for both children and adults alike, and the rice in particular is a winner – the hairy crab cream lends the rice its rich, savoury flavour, while the hot stone pot ensures that there are crispy rice grains in every mouthful.
Xiao Nan Guo has a decent if not too extensive wine list, heavy on French and Italian wines, with a generous selection of new world reds, as well as a couple of German whites. The menu has helpful tasting notes for the wines, and a handful of Chinese spirits and white wines are also available. However, there are few options by the glass
Apart from a short wait at the entrance, the service at Xiao Nan Guo is very good. The staff is polite and thoughtful, friendly but discreet. They are able to make educated recommendations on wine, and are knowledgeable about the food menu.
Dinner for two comes out to HK$1,200 and up, excluding alcohol and premium items such as bird’s nest.