Hong Kong’s restaurateurs seem to continuously think up creative stories behind their concepts to personify the name – think Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, Mrs. Pound or Missy Ho’s. The latest restaurant to join LKF Tower, Fang Fang, is named after a fictional Shanghainese opera star who supposedly left audiences mesmerised by her angelic singing voice, before choosing to travel around Asia to experience all the cultures and cuisines, which she now shares with patrons who visit her new restaurant and bar.
The space is elegant and sleek yet understated, with chic, modern furnishings and subtle yet striking Asian accents, such as a wall made up of black dragon-like scales and mini lion door knockers on the back of every chair.
The first part of the venue is taken up by an impressive bar, led by award-winning bar manager Gagan Gurung, who was formerly at Zuma. Gagan has put together a creative cocktail menu based around the main pillar of Chinese philosophy, the five elements – water, wood, earth, fire and metal. Under each element, there are two cocktails you would not find anywhere else in Hong Kong, which include colours, textures or flavours synonymous with that particular element.
The Omikuji Girl, under the fire element, consists of chilli tequila, barley sochu, yuzu, cardamom, shiso and five spice, served in a Japanese doll-shaped vessel, presented with flash paper that is lit at your table. Trai Dat, which means ‘earth’ in Vietnamese, is served in a panda-shaped vessel and consists of turmeric gin, coconut milk, pineapple, lemon and ginger. I initially thought these would be more of a gimmick than anything, but was pleasantly surprised at how delicious both drinks were and would certainly order them again. I also enjoyed the Paochi, interestingly made with kimchi-infused vodka.
The food menu is crafted by Executive Chef Kent Lee Chin Heng, who was formerly at Hakkasan Mumbai. It brings together a range of Asian cuisines, prepared using mostly locally sourced ingredients. We started with a selection of “posh bites”, beginning with the jasmine tea-smoked ribs, which were presented under a smoke-filled glass dome. These were absolutely delicious, the meat succulent and tender, falling effortlessly off the bone.
Something to order as a snack to complement your creative cocktails is the crispy kale with fish floss. Having been flash-fried, the earthy greens aren’t remotely greasy and are perfectly crispy, with a subtle hint of sweetness from the floss.
If you order it at the bar, the posh duck roll is served in a glass cigar ashtray. So that we could see the presentation, ours was also served this way. This single yet sizeable duck spring roll, served with rich hoisin sauce, was absolutely beautiful.
The soft-shell crab with curry leaf came as a very generous portion, on a bed of slivered almonds, chilli and spices. The crab was perfectly crispy and tasted divine. Once we had finished the crab, I couldn’t resist scooping up the remaining almond and spice mix just on its own.
Moving onto the main courses, the Fang Fang roasted duck was easily the best duck we have tasted in a while – or perhaps even ever. Rather than being basted in oil and fried to achieve a crispy skin, as is done in most Chinese restaurants, here the duck is air-dried and then roasted, meaning it isn’t greasy and heavy. Rather than being served with wheat flour pancakes, it comes with delicately thin crepes instead, which are light and allow the flavour of the duck to shine through.
The Mongolian ostrich was lovely and tender, served with raw julienned peppers and onions to give a contrasting crunch, and smothered in a rich, smoky Mongolian sauce.
Another of our favourite dishes was the Fang Fang-style paneer. I have only ever had this cheese in Indian cuisine, which often makes it somewhat heavy, so it was refreshing to taste it tossed in a light Chinese wine sauce with crispy lotus chips and cashew nuts.
I was expecting the desserts at Fang Fang to be a little more Asian-inspired. It wasn’t that it was terrible, but the slightly dry chocolate fondant just wasn’t as impressive as the rest of the menu (despite this usually being one of my favourite desserts) and ultimately resulted in my decision to reduce Fang Fang’s rating from 5 to 4 dumplings. If I went up in quarters, it would get 4.75.
Service at Fang Fang is impeccable and personal. Prices are in line with the quality of service and ingredients, but are actually not as bad as I thought they would be. Cocktails are priced between $110 and $120, whilst “posh bites” are between $55 and $165 and mains between $125 and $495 (the latter for the duck, which is a whole 2.6kg bird). I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience at Fang Fang and have already made plans to visit again. Although it’s good for a group of hungry Hong Kong-based folk, I think it’s also a good place to add to the list of restaurants to take out of towners, as it’s Asian without being too local, and it has a fun, lively vibe to get your evening started.
8/F, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2983 9083