Slim Taste, in my favourite building on Stanley Street with all the restaurants (3 more to go until I’ve done them all!) is one of a kind. Everything, and I mean literally everything in the restaurant is made of paper or cardboard. Cardboard chairs, cardboard tables, cup holders, decorations, everything. The only things not made out of cardboard are the cutlery and the plates. Obviously I had checked it out online and I added it to my list quite a while ago, so I was aware of the paper theme. Nevertheless I don’t think I quite expected what I saw on arrival. Attention to detail is evidently key here, as there are little pieces of cardboard on the walls all the way up to the ceiling. There are cardboard owls, cardboard farmyard animals, a cardboard Eiffel Tower, a cardboard sun, and even a rainbow made out of ornately put together pieces of cardboard! Definitely like no other.
When I mentioned the cardboard furniture to friends, they all were immediately concerned as to what happens if you are too heavy for the chair. Fear not, however, as apparently the seats are strengthened with wax so that they won’t soak up any spillages and can each bear a maximum weight of 180kg. So you can eat your heart out at this quirky little spot and not have to worry about breaking the furniture – always a bonus.
Slim Taste offers healthy Chinese cuisine from a range of regions. The dishes are primarily vegetarian, although there are a number of yummy-sounding meaty treats on the menu too. Wanting to be “healthy” and as I was dining with one of my most favourite vegetarians in the world, we stuck to the veggie treats, and thankfully they were so delicious that meat wasn’t even necessary.
The Tempura showy yam rolls, soft purple yam cylinders wrapped in a very light crisp batter were interesting: sweet and smooth on the inside while savoury and crisp on the outside – very pleasing to my taste buds. The vegetarian spring rolls were some of the better spring rolls I have had in Hong Kong – deep fried but not overly greasy and lovingly filled with succulent vegetables. The crispy vegetarian goose was my least favourite of the dishes, firstly because I couldn’t understand where the chef got the idea that it was similar to goose from. It was as similar to goose as night is to day. Mushrooms encased in a thin layer of tofu and deep fried; not a terrible dish but the name might need rethinking.
Now, I’ve had red rice, I’ve had brown rice, I’ve certainly had white rice, but something I have never before tasted is purple rice. Until Thursday night. We ordered the Ganoderma Lucidum mushroom fried purple rice. I’m not exactly sure what that means but it was a species of yeung chow chow fan (special fried rice), except with rice which was interestingly very purple and, much like brown rice, purple rice has more of a bite to it. Apparently it is very rich in antioxidants, more so than blueberries, and is ideal for people suffering from asthma or even some types of cancer. This dish was a highlight, although in my opinion it did need a little bit more flavour. It went perfectly with the cucumber with garlic sauce which was deliciously moreish.
We asked our waitress at the beginning of the meal if they served any wine. She didn’t understand us, so asked the ladies on the table next to us to translate, after which, said ladies and the waitress proceeded to laugh at us. No, they do not serve wine, or indeed any kind of alcohol, although they do have some delicious, freshly made iced teas to choose from. We had one apple iced tea and one lemon and cumquat iced tea, both containing real fruit and served in fun little cardboard boxes. You could always nip down to 7-Eleven to buy some vodka to sneak into your iced tea, but seriously, who does that?!
The service was fair, although as previously mentioned, the waiters barely speak English. We were the only ‘gweilos’ in the whole restaurant which was surprisingly busy. One of my theories is that if a Chinese restaurant is full of Chinese people, they must serve great food, so clearly Slim Taste is doing something right. We ordered more than enough food for the two of us to decline dessert (the steamed red bean cake did sound appealing) and the bill only came to $237. Admittedly it is a bit of a strange place with an even stranger concept, but we did have a highly entertaining evening so I would definitely recommend it if you’re after some fairly healthy, reasonably priced Chinese food with a difference.
9/F Stanley 11
11 Stanley Street
Tel: +852 2530 1199
Date visited: Thursday 2nd June 2011