Saturday, July 18, 2020

Casual Bistro with a Legendary Lineage

Yung’s Bistro seems to fit nicely in between a down-to-earth Cha Chaan Teng serving local no-fuss food and a proper Chinese restaurant which some might find too uptight for an easy night out. They got credibility to show forth too, being an off-shoot of the legendary Yung Kee Restaurant which is currently closed while being renovated. 

I was there for a dinner tasting just a few weeks ago. The restaurant could be a bit hard to find, hidden on the rooftop level of the labyrinth-like K11 Musea mall (which I could never find my way around despite visiting here half a dozen times already), but I arrived right on time to catch a glimpse of the sunset over the harbor skyline at their terrace, which I was told is the biggest al fresco dining area in this building. Inside the restaurant the décor was contemporary and casual in stark contrast with the old-school Yung Kee across the harbor, but there’s subtle linkage between the two – some of the tiles were removed from the original restaurant and integrated into the design of this new one. How cute. 

Similarly, while Yung’s Bistro serves an entirely different menu, there are some similarities, and both were based on traditional Cantonese cooking just in a slightly different presentation. We had a customized menu this time so we could get a taste of their signature dishes, some only available on their lunch menu. This time our dinner began with a dimsum trio with a playful twist to the classic versions – I particularly liked the pear-shaped deep-fried pork dumplings (a.k.a. ham sui kok) with minced meat, shrimp and dried pear filling giving it a sweet hint. 

It goes without saying that Yung Kee was perhaps best known for its whole Roast Goose, done in an old indoor woodfire grill at their restaurant. Here on its menu was the roast goose leg, served whole on a mini charcoal stove for the extra smoky aroma. I personally prefer the meat to be a bit fatter but it’s flavorful. Char Siu was one of my favorite dish of the evening – roasted using the pork belly cut for the succulent fatty bits and done with the extra charred crust, both in the way I love. And this is the one I could actually taste the mellow maltose glaze infused with a hint of rose liqueur on top, which worked perfectly with the meat. 

The Marinated Chicken in Supreme Soy Sauce was another dish I loved that evening, with the whole bird presented in a nice copper casserole with smoke underneath, then deboned with the hand-shredded meat served on a plate. Love everything about it – the nice smoky aroma, fatty skin basted with sweet soy sauce and the well-marinated and juicy meat. Other dishes I had included the deep-fried shrimp ball with fermented bean curd (fu yu), braised pork belly with preserved vegetables and poached vegetables – all were comforting home-style dishes that were executed well. 

We finished with another of Yung Kee’s classics with a twist. A mini bowl of steamed egg custard was topped with the restaurant’s signature mini crab roes (Lai Wan Ji) and served with a small bowl of steamed rice. The crab roes were a Shunde specialty, taken from the mini brackish crabs found near the river delta – it’s a labor-intensive dish loaded with rich umami flavor and a creamy texture, going well with a spoonful of rice with the warm steam releasing its flavor. The dessert of “White Rabbit Candies Custard” brought back good memories with the soft “White Rabbit” milk candies being one of my favorite childhood snacks – here it’s turned into a panna cotta-like custard in the shape of a rabbit. What an attention drawer and definitely Instagram-worthy presentation. 

(Dinner was by invitation) 

When? July 2 2020
Where? Yung's Bistro, Shop 701 K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui
Menu Highlights? Marinated Chicken in Supreme Soy Sauce

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