After getting into Central abysmally late, following numerous delays on China Spring Airlines (the Chinese equivalent of every bad American or European discount airline you can think of) leaving Pudong and an impossibly long foreigners visa queue at the Hong Kong airport, then cabbing to my friend Arthur’s place in Aberdeen and waiting up til 2:30am on the Saturday morning for the McDonald’s delivery (out of Big Macs! travesty!) – Saturday was bound to start late.
I’d originally wanted to go to Maxim’s Palace at City Hall for dim sum, but there’s no way that I would wake up in time to beat the rush there or at many other joints like Yung Kee or Tim Ho Wan. So I went to Tim’s Kitchen in Sheung Wan, on the notion that we’d still be able to get a seat and get in some hopefully tasty dim sum.
The eatery has two other locations in Macau and Shanghai, with the Sheung Wan original as the (one) Michelin-starred location. Upon walking in and being shown upstairs, I sensed a much more relaxed atmosphere than what I had expected, lacking the frantic din of crowded wait areas and boisterous family tables. Tim’s was more subdued, even though it wasn’t more refined than, say, Lei Garden IFC (which was delicious, by the way).
We ordered a handful of dim sum items, and a few other regular-menu things that we saw from other folks’ tables.
This was my first time having chiu chow tofu, which I really enjoyed as a fan of both tofu and soy-marinated flavors. Other than the paper-thin outer edge of the tofu block, the rest was tender and fresh, also a personal preference on the spectrum of tofu types. I rarely use firm tofu (and never extra firm), preferring the cold, soft cuts more often found in Chinese and Japanese cooking, as well as the sweet tofu pudding dessert found in dim sum.
After so many trips to Tsui Wah (here and here), The BBQ pork platter has become a staple of my Saturday lunches. Tim’s version was quite tasty: the honey glaze was sweet without being overpowering, and the roast pork was a nice surprise, smaller, and more “baby” (read: tender) than the Tsui Wah version. The latter’s crisped crust I dipped in the small dish of sugar that came with the platter, similar to what they do with the Peking duck skins at Da Dong.
The next dishes came from the dim sum menu:
The pan-fried rice rolls, steamed lotus-wrapped rice, and pork ribs were as delicious as, if not better than, any other versions I’ve had so far. The crabmeat dumplings were somewhat disappointing, uninspired almost, especially relative to Lei Garden’s umami-charged dumpling. We ended on a plate of stir-fried flat noodles, which were excellent, although between the pan-fried rice rolls and the noodles, one of them was sufficient.
It’s hard to say that, based on what we ordered, there was anything especially deserving of a Michelin star, but admittedly, we had not ordered much off the more chef-recommended and expensive portions of the regular menu, partly because of the price and partly because many of them were a bit more colorfully steeped in Hong Kong tradition (snake bisque, sautéed turtle slices, deep-fried crab claws in peppercorn salt). I’m not in the least implying that these don’t have the potential for deliciousness, but none of those were in our comfort zone this time. A very satisfying meal, with more menu exploration to do next time.
Shop A & 1/F, 84-90, Bonham Strand
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Recommendations: (1) Chiu chow tofu, (2) honey-glazed BBQ pork and crispy roast baby pork belly, (3) pan-fried rice rolls with XO chili sauce, (4) steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce, and (5) stir-fried flat noodles with sliced beef.