Formal Chinese restaurant set within The Langham Hotel, Hong Kong
T’ang Court is a Chinese restaurant which has a formal feel as is appropriate for its setting within The Langham Hotel. Unfortunately, that is where talk of appropriate ends bearing in mind its 3 Michelin starred status which I simply could not understand in any way. This is not the first restaurant in Asia that has the ultimate accolade and I have not been able to see why, however, there are some nicely done dishes here and whilst the restaurant boasts a vast number of dining rooms on two separate levels including a huge private dining room, I will wager this has its forte reserved for corporate affairs wishing to impress people. It’s also the sort of place that makes you prefer street food for things that are a little less on food grade but not far off in some cases and a hundredth of the price. That said, the £106 price tag per person for this tasting menu here was not as bad value for money compared with many 3 starred venues, however, it was overpriced for what was had and sadly we essentially left empty-handed as a result over this experience.
The meal began with an amuse bouche of scallop with marinated fungus which had ethereally light batter which was lovely, but the deep-fried treatment had made the scallop harder than would have been ideal. A trio of appetisers followed with jellyfish (smokey and buttery), South African abalone (too hard), fried and diced codfish with honey (which was wonderful) and an average offering of Cantonese-style BBQ pork.
Crabmeat was next, stewed in imperial birds nest (bird’s spit) and bamboo fungus soup. This is a delicacy and whilst I appreciate how much work goes into the foraging of the bird’ spit (the only way is for natives of the area to risk their lives in some cases climbing almost impossibly difficult cliff faces to handpick the bird’s nests which have been made using their own saliva), it is an acquired taste. Still, the punch of the stock was obvious.
Baked fresh lobster in the chicken broth made it difficult to truly enjoy any lobster flavour and personally I think this would have been far more successful if it had a simple light brush of egg yolk instead. Next came stir-fried Japanese wagyu with green vegetables, coriander and spring onion and this was very nicely sourced beef. Yet, I have now had genuine wagyu in numerous different contexts, be it with Matcha at Hajime in Osaka, as the ultimate Matsuzake at Dons de la Nature in Tokyo, as Kobe with garlic oil and mustard in Kobe and with apple and miso in Mizai in Kyoto and these have put wagyu on an altogether different plane of dining appreciation for wagyu. This version at T’ang Court, whilst not disagreeable in the fine substance it was, does not come close to how it can be prepared and served in these ways and almost comes across as lazy, which is disappointing for a 3 Michelin starred restaurant.
E-fu noodle with conpoy (dried scallop) and black mushroom was a pleasantly salty noodle dish but no more and to finish there were some pleasant fruits on a platter presented. However, again, as nice as these fruits were, they simply were not to the biblical standard as they are in Japan.
Based on this, the experience seemed almost like a formality towards the end and whilst the $1080 HK which equates to roughly £106 per person was not a criminal charge, that can by a lot of street noodles and goose skin that can be found at places on Wan Chai Road on the Northside of Hong Kong island where there are also delectable pastel de natas, made with wonderfully spun puff pastry, served on virtually every street corner. As a summary, I would prefer to be having these latter scenarios any day of the week in comparison.
Food Grade: 71%
Location (Click google logo for directions)