Tsim Sha Tsui
Date of review: November 19, 2012 | Reviewed by:
Located on the fourth floor of the Miramar Shopping Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, Yunyan is a bit of a mission to find for those who have never been to the shopping centre. Tall ceilings tower over a large dining room, while there is a secondary space that can be converted into a large private area. The restaurant features a combination of contemporary fixtures and artwork and is pleasant enough, and the focus is very much what’s on its menu and its variety of Sichuan specialities.
Yunyan is quite easily one of the better Sichuan restaurants in town. There are private kitchens across the city which are arguably better, but these lack the professionalism and banquet setting of Yunyan. The restaurant may not serve the spiciest of the region’s notorious peppercorn-heavy dishes, but it is still a mouth-and-face-numbing affair by the end of the meal. The signature crispy diced chicken with spicy red chillies and Sichuan peppercorns is a popular dish at Yunyan and for good reason, as the meat is moist and tender, and comes extravagantly plated with hundreds of dried chillies. But as with all Sichuan restaurants, the real draw are the fish and meat specialities in chilli broth, and so we went with the poached fish version. A note: when something has three chilli peppers next to its name on the menu here, take heed. We also tasted the braised tofu with minced beef and tofu (otherwise known as mapo tofu) which also had three chillies, but was nowhere near the same level of spice as the fish broth. Vegetarians will be glad to know that Yunyan does an excellent version of this dish without the minced pork. The braised tofu with mushrooms was bland but balances out the spice, unfortunately, its sauce is also predominantly made up of corn starch; likewise, the braised Tientsin cabbage with Yunnan ham arrives a little underseasoned, but this is most likely due to the strongly flavoured chilli-heavy dishes preceding it.
There are only 4 wines by the glass and no sommelier to help at Yunyan. There is one signature white and red, both unnamed. We tried the Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio from 2009 which, while perfectly acceptable, was overwhelmed by most of the spicy dishes. The staff here are not particularly knowledgeable about the wine list so it might be of benefit to bring your own, or opt for a cold beer.
Yunyan feels a little understaffed, and it can be hard to get attention. The manager is accomplished though, and is welcoming and able to give good recommendations and pairings of food.
Yunyan is excellent value for money; a filling meal for two with wine starts at about HK$700. With the quality of the food and its banquet-like interior, this represents very good value for money.