“When Lu Feng breaks with Cantonese orthodoxy, the results are unpredictable and intriguing”
Before it was replaced by the current entertainment complex, The Peak was home to Lu Feng, a decidedly kooky and futuristic establishment. Ensuring this lost landmark will never be completely forgotten, the Epicurean Group – the company behind Jimmy’s Kitchen and The Peak Lookout among other sundry fine dineries – has co-opted the name for its latest offering, a Peak Tower Chinese restaurant where the tastes and looks of the 1970s are entirely de rigueur.
A two-level eatery, it consists of a casual downstairs – resembling nothing so much as a combined bing sutt-style cha-chaan-teng and a BBQ stall – and a far more formal upstairs, where its particular brand of opulence dates back 40 years or more. Here the wood panelling, mosaic tiles and groovy carpets sync seamlessly with the Anita Mui/Roman Tam Canto-soundtrack.
Given that undiscerning tourists will likely account for much of its clientele, the food is surprisingly good and somewhat authentic. Beyond the kitsch and the novelty, the menu delivers robust fare, which clearly isn’t stuck in any time warp. Henry Hung, Lu Feng’s 38-year-old head chef, was previously with the Mandarin Oriental and their standards clearly raised his.
Reassuringly, the dim sum is top notch and comes with a number of finely detailed touches. The Ha Gow shrimp dumplings are plump and seasoned and – most impressively – each dumpling has a full set of 13 pleats in its skin. Far more than just conventional siu mai, the pork dumplings are also available in a three-star version, topped with mushroom, quail’s eggs and pork tripe. The undisputed star, though, is the firm and juicy pork, which comes with a lot more bite than its typically over-steamed counterpart served elsewhere.
Welcome classics are also on hand – savoury gold coins, or honey-glazed barbecued layers of chicken liver, pork and lard. With few restaurants offering this somewhat fatty creation in these highly-cholesterol conscious times, Lu Feng mitigates its transgression with a serving far smaller than in days of yore. This, however, doesn’t make the preparation any less impressive, nor detract from its authentic flavour.
On then to the double-boiled soup with pig’s lung, fish maw and almonds. Here, possibly in a misguided bid to appease contemporary tastes, the traditionally strong black pepper content has been toned down, allowing the sweetness of the almonds to dominate unduly.
For those seeking Chinese New Year dishes, the black moss with dried oyster, conpoy and vegetables – luxuriously rich and deep in flavour without an excess of oyster sauce – is certainly worth exploring. Another must-try for festive diners is the braised abalone – Lu Feng solely favours Australian medium-sized molluscs of the Six Heads variety. Sous-vided prior to being stock braised, the abalone is soft and yielding in the mouth.
When Lu Feng breaks with Cantonese orthodoxy, the results are unpredictable and intriguing, even if not always entirely successful. A clear case in point is its sautéed king prawn with udon in black truffle sauce, a bold attempt to modernise a traditional lobster dish through the medium of e-noodles. Presented in a shallow pasta dish, decorated with chrysanthemum petals, the thick udon strands really cried for a little more sauce as a necessary counterpoint to its stickier distractions. Judged on the flavour profile alone, however, it was spot on.
For dessert, it had to be another classic – black sesame rolls. While they may look simple, they have a nostalgic appeal that is undeniable, and Lu Feng’s take on them is truly fabulous. The rolls are smooth – but not plasticy – while their sandy texture is a sure sign of their authentic sesame origins. Anyone who grew up enjoying them will find it all but impossible to resist unrolling the curls in their mouth in the time-honoured traditional style favoured by generations of children in Hong Kong.
Lu Feng takes you back to a truly golden age, with every course a true taste of a time we once believed would never end.
Shop 3A-B, Level 2 & 3
The Peak Tower