Yan Toh Heen・欣圖軒
Tsim Sha Tsui
Lower Level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road
T: 2313 2323
Lunch HoursMon to Sat, 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm; Sun, 11:30 am - 3:00 pm
Dinner HoursMon to Sun, 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Dress CodeSmart casual
Accept Credit CardYes
Date of review: January 13, 2014 | Reviewed by:
Despite being located in the basement of Tsim Sha Tsui’s InterContinental Hotel, the recently renovated Yan Toh Heen is surprisingly bright and airy, with large windows overlooking Hong Kong harbour - the view being mostly of the Causeway Bay and North Point shorelines but still a beautiful one, nonetheless. Dark wood panelling combined with a contemporary ceiling design and plush carpeting gives the restaurant an understated modern elegance. The jade tableware is adorably cute and some of the nicest we’ve seen in Chinese restaurants in the city. Comfortable booth chairs line the back wall with a view of the main floor; on the whole, the restaurant design ensures that things never get too loud or hectic.
A Cantonese restaurant should not disappoint with their dim sum selection and this is one area where chef Lau pushes attempts to push boundaries. Out of the Yan Toh Heen “superior dumplings”, the king crab leg dumpling are the least successful with the star ingredient arriving overcooked; more successful are the steamed garoupa and scallop dumplings, which manage to stand up well to the steaming process. The roasted baby pigeon is well-cooked and piping hot, with the meat being rich, flavourful, and well-seasoned, though we do wish for a slightly crispier skin. In contrast, the crispy cucumber with dried conpoy and fungus marinated in XO sauce is crunchy with a slight spice coming from the XO topping. The hit of the meal proves to be the giant Shanghai hairy crab roe xiao long bao: juicy and filled with a delicious blend of crab roe and pork, the dish is a must try for dumpling fans. It's not as soupy as expected, but more than made up for with the creamy richness of the crab roe. The double boiled fish maw and sea whelk soup is delicious and feels very homemade. The fish maw is soft and although the piece is not as thick as others we’ve tried, the sea whelk disappoints in both texture and flavour but the soup itself is delicious. The signature steamed cod fish with garlic and preserved olives is an odd choice for a signature, evoking memories of dish you might find in an overseas Chinatown: overly salty and in certain mouthfuls too sour - a poor mishmash of textures and flavours. The only saving grace is that the quality of the cod is clearly high and they are generously portioned, well-cooked pieces. The inaniwa noodles with chicken and Yunnan ham in a thick broth almost borders on salty but the sweet julienned carrots give it a sweetness and texture, as do the asparagus. On the whole, it’s a delicious dish. The “baby doll”vegetables (related to the cabbage family) in fish broth features a delightfully light soup that is almost sweet - highly recommended. We end with a lemongrass ice cream with black and white pudding: a playful update to a classic dessert, updated with lemongrass, vanilla, candied fruit and nuts with a sesame puff on the side.
Wines by the glass are expensive but Yan Toh Heen draws its wine from the excellent InterContinental wine cellar - no surprise then that the restaurant was awarded with a Wine Spectator Best Of Award Of Excellence for 2013. We sample a gewürztraminer reserve which goes extremely well with seafood and the lighter dumpling offerings, though we had a niggling issue with the wine not being cold enough.
The service at Yan Toh Heen, for the most part, is extremely efficient, friendly and polite, with warm smiles from most of the staff. They do occasionally miss little details like replacing spoons and not lining up new cutlery properly, but overall, the service is of a high standard.
A large meal for two with wine comes to about HK$2,400, and this is without some of the high-end seafood and meat items on the menu - it’s expensive, but the experience and quality of food is just high enough - though with one or two reservations. If you can forego wine and premium seafood, we find Yan Toh Heen much easier to recommend.