Contemporary Chinese: Man Wah, the signature Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, has recently emerged from an extensive revamp and is gearing up to set the Hong Kong food scene on its head once again.
Look & Feel: Created by Silverfox Studios, the reimagined interiors of Man Wah offer a very contemporary spin on Chinese aesthetics, all backdropped by stunning views of Victoria Harbour. Walls are dressed in dark blue lacquered panels with brass accents, while carefully placed Chinese embroidered art panels, framed artwork, and other various embellishments in high-finish offer a little cultural immersion and elegance. The restaurant also features new lantern installations that bring the old restaurant’s famous focal points into the 21st century. At lunch, the restaurant is bright thanks to the abundance of natural light; but at all times of day, the restaurant offers a sense of discretion with plenty of partitions and separated dining areas. Man Wah has always been immensely popular, and for that reason, the decision was made expand the restaurante during the renovation—it’s now much more expansive and comfortably sits 92 diners at a time.
On the Menu: The new Man Wah continues the original’s legacy of exquisite modern Cantonese fine-dining, and with plenty of aplomb. We settle into an expansive window-side table on a weekday lunchtime to experience a thoroughly memorable tasting menu. The meal showcases the chef’s dedication to the history and traditions of ancient Chinese cuisine, and understanding of modern techniques and sensibilities; the result is a truly innovative experience that offers a genuinely exquisite dining experience. There’s no doubt in my mind that the restaurant will be recognized by this year’s Michelin guide once again.
Setting the tone for the meal is a surprisingly light, earthy, and delicious Deep-fried Matsutake Mushroom Pudding, a spin on a Qing Dynasty dish that traditionally uses chicken testicles. Continuing the surprising treats, the next dish is a fresh South African abalone marinated in a sweet Shanghai-style spiced sauce that’s incredibly tender and flavorful—it certainly made a believer of this abalone sceptic.
Next are two contenders for favorite dish of the meal. The Sautéed Lobster in Superior Fish Broth is exquisite, with tender morsels of medium-rare morsels covered with an umami-tasting fish broth and served on a bed of spinach—dehydrated French caviar is shaved over the dish tableside, adding a burst of saltiness. Meanwhile, the Pan-Fried Scallop and Bean Crumb is a perfectly rendered dish where a seared Hokkaido scallop is smothered in soybean crumbs, offering an intriguing blend of ocean freshness and earthy nuttiness. The next dish, a deep-fried Vietnamese prawn that’s been marinated in a flavor-packed sauce and served with Korean rice cakes, is yet another revelation.
Jeng: If it’s not already obvious, the food at Man Wah is incredible and must be tried to be believed. But, the restaurant really is the full package—attentive, knowledgeable staff and gorgeous design really round out the experience.
Not So Jeng: There’s really not much to fault here. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong has hit it out of the park with their revamped Cantonese restaurant.
Meet the Chef: Executive Chinese Chef Wing-Keung Wong brings nearly 40 years’ experience to bear at Man Wah. It’s a stunning return to form for the chef, who started at Man Wah in 2011 as a sous chef, and eventually brought it to new heights in 2018.
FYI: There’s a private dining room that fits up to 32 people and can be divided into two rooms.
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This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.