I am very aware that I call my blog The Dim Sum Diaries and yet there is not a single dim sum review on here. There isn’t really an excuse for it other than that I always go back to the same dim sum restaurants and it is generally against the ethos of my blog to write about an already visited restaurant. I have begun to rectify this by trying The Grand Stage at Western Market.
Western Market, completed in 1906, is the oldest surviving market building in Hong Kong. Obviously it has been renovated a couple of times, but it still maintains the beautiful Edwardian structure, with classical red brick and granite façades and a high ceiling.
The Grand Stage on the second floor is quite an amazing setting, looking out over the few market stalls still in existence. Apart from the all-important chandeliers, it is very different to any other dim sum restaurant in town. There is less hustle and bustle, no need to queue for a table (in fact we were given a table for seven without any delay), and the food is generally presented in a more fancy manner, though not at too much of a price difference.
I think we ordered enough food to serve an army, yet looking through the menu now, I notice things I wish we had ordered. This is always the case with dim sum as no matter how much you order, you never seem to even make a dent in the menu. I always prefer to go in a bigger group, however, as the waiters don’t give you as many dirty looks for ordering far too much food and not eating it (though more often than not, even in a small group, Gweilos will make a pretty good job of finishing it all!).
Highlights at The Grand Stage were poached pork and vegetable wontons in chilli oil, xiao long bao (always a winner), pan-fried turnip cake (essential choice), pan-fried pork buns in Japanese style and har cheong fun (in this case as individual portions with one whole prawn inside rather than pathetic little ones).
I wasn’t too impressed with their egg custard buns, even though they did attempt to make them fancy by adding a touch of grated coconut. The filling just didn’t ooze quite enough for my liking. I like a lot of ooze. The sautéed snap beans with minced pork weren’t wonderful either, as there was too much oil and not enough pork.
Just as in many HK dim sum eateries, the waiters don’t speak amazing English, although they do try their best, and service is passable. Including a tip, we paid $200 each. Obviously you can get dim sum for cheaper in other places, but the atmosphere at The Grand Stage is really worth it. I would recommend it to show off to visitors as an alternative to the fun and lively City Hall, another of my favourites.
Craving something sweet and unable to resist Honeymoon Desserts on the ground floor of Western Market, we popped in there for some mango pudding, mango dumplings and mango sago. So worth the extra calories. Although calories don’t count on a Sunday anyway.
The Grand Stage
2/F Western Market
323 Des Voeux Road
Tel: +853 2815 2311
Date visited: Sunday 21st August 2011