Xia Mian Guan
Shop 1008, Level 1
Grub: Shanghainese deliciousness
Vibe: Buzzing with hustle and bustle, this cosy joint is good for both a quick bite, and a leisurely meal with friends or family. The décor features a lot of red and gold, warm brown wood, geometric design, and ink paintings accenting the space.
The servers are brisk and efficient, so if you're looking for customer service that makes you feel special, go elsewhere. But if competence and being left alone suit you, this is the right place.
You might need to navigate around the waiters and waitresses as they hurry about on your way to your table, but once you're seated, you can be sure you're one of those they're hurrying about for.
Who to take: People who like xiao long bao; which should be everyone. Those who dislike those amazing little edible baskets of soupy, meaty goodness must not be human, and most restaurants only allow humans to enter.
What's hot: You can't go wrong with xiao long bao. They're not the best ever, but they're pretty excellent. The downside is that you only get four in a basket (we got a basket each so we wouldn't have to share!). The skin of the dumpling is thin, but not so thin that when picked up the weight of its contents break through, and the soup and meat inside go together perfectly.
The pork dumplings in spicy oil are also very good. Sometimes this dish can be so hot you can't taste the flavours, but here it's just the right side of numbing. (But be careful eating this, especially if you're wearing anything white.)
What's not: The shredded turnip pastry. The pastry itself should be an ultra-thin layer of crunch around silky smooth, creamy shredded turnip; instead it was an over-cooked hard block of crunch. Not impressed. The stir-fried rice cakes with Chinese cabbage and shredded pork were almost too strongly flavoured, which might be too much for some.
Cost: Appetisers are HK$20-HK$76, rice and noodle dishes are around HK$50-HK$90, dim sum is HK$24-HK$58, meat, seafood and soups run HK$78-HK$288, vegetable dishes range from HK$66-HK$118, desserts are HK$24-HK$36, and drinks HK$15-HK$22.