I was extremely impressed by Above & Beyond when I visited last year for dinner, and it easily made it onto my top 10 restaurants of 2017 list. I have ever since been meaning to return to try the dim sum menu, knowing that the dim sum here would be exceptional. I finally managed to do so and was once again blown away.
Above & Beyond, on the 28th floor of Hotel Icon, offers just as impressive views by day as it does by night – on a clear day at least – and a large part of its tables are arranged to enable you to admire the view.
The a la carte dim sum menu is fairly extensive and there are also a few set menus if you would rather someone decided for you. Our meal began with some honey-glazed BBQ Kagoshima pork, aka char siu, which is one of my favourite things in the world. Above & Beyond’s char siu is artfully displayed on a stunning tree trunk chopping board with a pot of the same more-ish honey glaze on the side for extra dipping. The pork was beautifully tender, juicy and utterly delicious. I could have devoured the entire platter myself.
To follow, we tried some crispy tofu spring rolls. This is a unique dish that I have never seen on any dim sum menu before and now wish I could eat all the time! The silky tofu was so tasty and a lovely contrast to the crispy roll.
I rarely order siu mai these days, as have had far too many experiences with them being too chewy and underwhelming. This one, however, was just right, with a perfectly thin skin and light filling.
I did, however, prefer the steamed mushroom and bamboo pith dumplings with their chewy, gelatinous skin and flavoursome filling.
Since it was a cold day, we then tried the double-boiled pork lung soup with fish maw and almond cream. No longer the fussy eater that I once was, I will (in general) try anything, so I wasn’t opposed to trying this soup. Although I did enjoy the sweet, comforting almond broth, I can’t say I loved either the spongy fish maw (despite its promises to aid a youthful complexion, given it is packed full of collagen) or the pork lung, which tasted far too offal-y for my liking.
Above & Beyond’s prawn rice flour rolls were not the usual cheong fan you get just anywhere. In this version, beneath the soft rice flour, the prawns were encased in spring roll skin, adding a wonderful contrast that I adored.
Perhaps my favourite of the dim sum dishes we tried were the pan-fried minced duck and pepper buns. This was, again, an unusual dish that I have never seen elsewhere, although I think I may have had something similar in Taipei, but with pork rather than duck. It had a beautiful flavour, with just enough pepper to give it extra depth, without masking the natural flavour of the duck.
As I often tend to go overboard with dim sum and eat all the dumplings in sight, it’s always important to balance this out with some veggies! The steamed dau miu with Yunnan ham in fish broth was comforting and delicious and made me feel a little better about the countless number of dumplings I had devoured!
Regardless, there is always room for dessert. The tea-inspired puddings were adorably presented in little Chinese tea cups, alongside a seemingly steaming teapot filled with little jasmine chocolate balls and liquid nitrogen. From left to right, the puddings were jasmine tea crème brûlée, Iron Buddha tea jelly and matcha pudding, all of which had a true likeness to their corresponding tea, without being overwhelmingly strong.
We also had a full-sized version of the jasmine tea crème brûlée, which was lucky, since it happened to be my favourite of the three and had a suitably satisfying layer of burnt sugar on top – always a sign of a good crème brûlée.
The set lunch menus at Above & Beyond range from $218 to $298 per person, which is not bad at all for Cantonese food of this calibre. If you go crazy with the a la carte dim sum menu, as any dim sum lover is likely to do, your bill may be a little higher than this, but, once you’ve tasted these dumplings, you won’t even care about the bill! Once again, Above & Beyond showed me how Cantonese food can be taken to a whole other level.
Above & Beyond
28/F, Hotel Icon
17 Science Museum Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 3400 1318