Red Hot Hunanese: It might be unassuming at first glance, but Cafe Hunan boasts an entry in the Michelin guide and is a firm neighborhood favorite.
Look & Feel: Typical hole-in-the-wall, but the wooden furniture and kabuki mask printed wallpaper grant it a certain nonspecific Asian flair.
On the Menu: While it’s often compared to Sichuan cuisine for its spiciness, Hunanese food is more hot-and-dry spice rather than the hot-and-numbing of Sichuan food — and the vast majority of Cafe Hunan’s dishes will have your mouth tingling pleasantly with spice. A lot of the dishes are fried, too, so maybe not the place to come if you’re watching your diet. There’s a good variety of meat, fish, and purely vegetarian mains to share. Ingredients are sourced directly from Hunan, and the Hunanese chef spearheading the operation honed his skills at his mother’s restaurant.
Jeng: The fried potatoes are simple but delicious, with the thin slices soaking up the spice and packing every bite with flavor. The sliced beef is perfectly soft and tender, too. The best bit, though, has to be the price — it’s easy enough to enjoy a satisfying meal here for less than $200, if that.
Not So Jeng: The place can get pretty packed, and while it might not be quite cha chaan teng-level loud and cramped, you still might be asked to share a table during the peak periods. Servers can be brusque and curt or helpful and jovial depending on the day you visit.
Great For: Big groups, since most of the dishes are served family style; you’ll be hard-pressed to tackle some dishes, like the whole fishes, with just one or two people.
FYI: Come during weekdays for their $48 “barrel rice” lunch set.
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This writeup was based on an independent visit. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.