Today, the restaurant review for One Harbour Road is a little different from other restaurant reviews on my blog because of one main thing: it’s a Michelin-rated restaurant. Although restaurants I’ve written about such as Pica Pica and Fini’s Italian American are highly recommended by other websites, they are not Michelin rated.
I’ve never been to a restaurant purely because of its Michelin rating until this month. The ones I have been to are by chance. I didn’t even know their Michelin status until I was looking on the Michelin guide online and was like, ‘oh yeah I’ve been there.’
Maybe Michelin restaurants are more of a thing in Hong Kong? Since Toronto doesn’t have any Michelin-rated restaurants, you don’t hear people talking about it much. People still know about it though. It doesn’t mean that Toronto doesn’t have amazing restaurants there because they do including Fishman Lobster Clubhouse.
Here in Hong Kong, it’s different because there are a few dozen Michelin-rated restaurants. When I was younger and expressed an interest in going to these types of restaurants, my dad always said it’s not authentic. He believes that the Michelin inspectors are probably Westerners and will have different tastes as Hong Kong locals. I can’t refute his claims because these inspectors are anonymous so maybe what he said is true.
My best friend commented how she feels like even if the food at Michelin restaurants is good, you can’t go back to eat it because a lot of them are for a limited time only. There’s a misconception that all Michelin guide restaurants are expensive (most of them are but not all) fixed menus. I’m thankful not all are like that because I don’t like set menus. Some people might think it’s convenient because the decision is made for them. Personally, I like to pick each dish myself.
Summer Palace VS One Harbour Road
I might sound snobby but I tremendously enjoy fancy dim sum. It’s been a couple of months too and if I remember correctly, the last time was at Summer Palace. This is a Michelin star restaurant, a fact I only knew about as I was writing this post.
Since Summer Palace and One Harbour Road are both on the Michelin Guide list and are restaurants in hotels, I’ll do a comparison of both. One Harbour Road is located inside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wanchai and Summer Palace is located inside the Shangri-La Hotel in Admiralty.
When it comes to interior design, Summer Palace wins by far. You take one step inside and you’ll notice how red everything is. There are big chandeliers and the feeling is very luxurious. One Harbour Road feels luxurious too but in a different way. They have a running pond and had a more neutral colour theme. It doesn’t feel as grand unless you count the staircase you use as you’re walking down.
Since Summer Palace is in the basement, the opulent interior makes up for the lack of view. One Harbour Road has a much better outside view since it’s a few levels up in the Grand Hyatt. It also uses more natural lighting.
Also, Summer Palace’s menu has more fusion elements. There were items like truffle shrimp toast whereas One Harbour Road has more Cantonese-focused dishes.
First Impressions of One Harbour Road
I wouldn’t have expected to eat at One Harbour Road because of its location. I’m rarely in the Wanchai area. (If anything, I’m usually in Central, which is why I eat at Agehan often.) We were only there because my dad wanted to go to the Hong Kong Jewelry Fair. I looked on Openrice for potential restaurants and realized Grand Hyatt was literally across the street. One Harbour Road was close, a place where my dad was familiar with it, and I was craving dim sum.
As per most of the restaurants I’ve talked about on my blog, I recommend booking a table in advance especially on a weekend. People in Hong Kong are willing to wait weeks for a table at a certain restaurant. I only knew a few days in advance that my dad and I were going to go to the Hong Kong Jewelry Exhibition. I was a bit surprised that they had some tables left especially a Michelin Guide restaurant so I booked right away.
On the weekends, the restaurant opens at 11 am. Our reservation was at 11:30 am but we got there early. We arrived around 11:15 am and there were already several tables seated. The view was breathtaking. If it’s so pretty during the day, I can’t imagine how it will look at night.
Although it was a bit of a disappointment that we didn’t get a table near the windows, the window was so big that we could see the view from where we were sitting. We sat near the water fountain. Some people might think it’s a bit loud but I honestly didn’t mind.
Food at One Harbour Road
1)XO Sauce Cheung Fun
This was the first dish that came out. When we sat down at our table in One Harbour Road, I wasn’t hungry. I skipped breakfast that morning but could have waited for another hour or two before lunch. However, when the XO sauce cheung fun was in front of my face, my eyes sparkled and my stomach growled immediately. It smelled delicious.
XO sauce cheung fun is one of my favourite dishes at dim sum but it’s so hard to find places that have them. If you’re an avid dim sum lover like me, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I also enjoy egg tarts and fried dough rice rolls (炸兩) which are more common but it would be perfect if I can find a dim sum place that has all three of these dishes. I will die in dim sum heaven.
You might think the XO sauce cheung fan is really spicy because of its name but I never found it that spicy. This is coming from a girl that rarely eats spicy food. One of the only spicy food I eat is the curry crab from Saigon Star in Toronto so trust me when I say this.
I like how brown the cheung fun looked at One Harbour Road. It might be a weird thing to focus on but I’ve always preferred darker-looking Cheung fun because it tastes better in my opinion. The first bite was soft and chewy. The texture was great. My dad barely ate any because I wanted all of them to myself. I was greedy for them to the point I was even tempted to get another order. I stopped myself because this dish was only the beginning. We already placed our order for the rest of our food. How can I eat the rest of our food if I’m so full from this? If I’m still hungry, I can always order another one later.
I highly recommend ordering this unless you’re not a fan of cheung fun. My aunt has very strong opinions about how she dislikes the cheung fun’s texture. She doesn’t understand why people like this but I love eating cheung fun dishes. If you love cheung fun, you’ll like this.
2) Shrimp Spring Roll
There was a chef recommendation logo on the menu next to the shrimp spring roll. I didn’t even notice the menu had shrimp spring rolls until my dad asked me if we should get one. My dad doesn’t like to admit this but he loves fried things. Like father, like daughter.
Spring rolls aren’t something I usually would get for myself. It’s not one of my first choices ever but this isn’t just any spring roll. It’s a shrimp spring roll. If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know I love any type of shrimp so of course, I said yes.
When the dish came, the appearance didn’t look special. I don’t know what I was expecting but it looked like any other spring roll out there. I had pretty low expectations but when I took my first bite, I was surprised. The shrimp was fresh inside and the spring roll was crispy and not overly oily. At dim sum places, some restaurants serve fried food on a plate with doily paper. You can often see the oil on the paper and the sight can be off-putting. I was glad that the shrimp spring roll wasn’t too oily. This was another dish that my dad and I thought about getting another one but stopped ourselves.
3) Abalone Chicken Tart
This was my first time seeing an abalone and chicken tart. As I am browsing more fine dining dim sum restaurants, this dish is apparently common but I only noticed it after getting it at One Harbour Road.
There are a few of my readers from Hong Kong but for people who are not, Hong Kong people love abalone. It’s considered a fancy food here and if you go to one of the Chinese banquets, you’ll probably see abalone on the menu. I’ve seen menus where they dedicate a whole page to abalones. Abalone is alright for me. I’ll eat it once in a while but I don’t get the big fuss over it. There are other types of seafood that I love way more like lobster.
I expected a tart with abalone pieces mixed with chicken inside the tart. To my surprise, there is an actual piece of abalone on top. This dish is special in the sense that you order the tart by piece. My dad didn’t want one which is why you’ll see one lonely tart by itself. I wanted to try one first to see if I like it.
It’s pretty good. I don’t like the abalone and chicken tart as much as I like the XO sauce cheung fun and the shrimp spring rolls but it’s still something I would order again. The tart was soft and buttery. The abalone was also soft. I’ve had some abalone where it’s too chewy for my liking but this one was done well. There was also a good amount of sauce in the tart. It’s a strange combo but it somehow works.
Have you ever had an abalone and chicken tart? Doesn’t it sound interesting?
4) Chicken and Mushroom Casserole (light)
I’m the type to always check restaurant menus before going to a restaurant. I usually don’t bother with seasonal menus and put all of my attention on the main menu. For some reason, I was looking at the seasonal menu page and saw the chicken and mushroom casserole. There was this sudden strong craving for a Cantonese-style casserole dish. The chicken and mushroom casserole sounded good although the full name is a handful. It’s called casserole of chicken, hedgehog mushrooms, spring onions, Yunnan mushroom sauce.
I only started noticing at Angelini that restaurants have lighter portions. I adore this concept. This way, I can sample a wider variety of dishes that I couldn’t if I had ordered the full portion. One Harbour Road has this option as well and I was glad because I wanted to try the casserole.
This was one of the last dishes to arrive. We weren’t full exactly because we didn’t eat that much but we were no longer hungry. The casserole smelled good but when we had a bite, something was lacking. It wasn’t very flavourful despite the mushroom sauce. Since all three previous dishes were scrumptious, we upped our expectations but it was clear that the chicken casserole was not in the same league as the other dim sum dishes. We finished the chicken casserole because the portion was so small but it will not be something we will get again. It’s also a seasonal dish. Even if we did like it, it might not even be on the menu anymore the next time we eat at One Harbour Road again.
5) Fried Rice with Abalone in Stone Bowl
The abalone fried rice was a per-person portion. I love eating rice from a pot or stone bowl. Not only it is a pleasant sound when you hear the food sizzle but the rice tastes better for some reason.
When I go eat dim sum, I usually go for a rice or noodle dish. I’ve had friends suggest that I should get only dim sum dishes. After all, I’m there to eat dim sum but my meal doesn’t feel complete without a rice or noodle dish (preferably rice). I should have listened to my friends this time around because the rice, like the chicken and mushroom casserole, was disappointing.
Like the chicken and mushroom casserole, there wasn’t much taste. I had a few bites and gave the rest to my dad. I eyed the abalone pieces because they looked like mushrooms but I’m pretty sure it’s abalone. It should be, I mean it says it right there on the menu. I’m glad the abalone rice was a per-person portion because we would have had to eat more if it was a regular-sized portion.
Service at One Harbour Road
I usually wouldn’t include a section on service on food blog posts but I was disappointed when they forgot about our food. All of our dim sum food came pretty quickly but the abalone rice and chicken casserole took FOREVER. We had to remind different staff members that both dishes didn’t arrive yet. As a Michelin star restaurant, I had higher expectations for service. I get that it was busy on a Sunday but we waited a pretty long time.
Overall Impressions of One Harbour Road
One Harbour Road is a great restaurant to bring friends and family to a special meal. It’s also recommended for those who have friends or family visiting Hong Kong. They will surely enjoy the ocean view.
The restaurant has yummy high-end dim sum. They were hot and fresh. For some dim sum places, you can easily tell that the food has been left out for a while. It might not be as good because the food might almost be soggy. You get what you pay for. I don’t agree with this statement all the time but it rings true for the food at One Harbour Road. All of their food was fresh (including the two dishes I’m not a big fan of) but it can hurt your wallet. As you can guess, a restaurant inside the Grand Hyatt is not cheap.
I would for sure come back here again but next time, I would probably only order from their dim sum menu. I might try one or two dishes from the a la carte menu again but would not be ordering the abalone rice and chicken and mushroom casserole for sure.
What are your dim sum must-haves?