I wasn’t sure what blog post I was going to write about this week but I decided to write a restaurant review for Summer Palace. I ate at Fini’s Italian American restaurant a couple of weeks ago and wanted to write another restaurant review after visiting a new place this past weekend.
My parents and I went to eat at a restaurant called Summer Palace on Saturday. We were craving some Chinese food and what’s one of the best things about Hong Kong? DIM SUM! The restaurant is located inside the Shangri-La hotel. As you can probably guess, Summer palace isn’t your typical Cantonese dim sum restaurant but that’s what drew us to the place.
First Impression of Summer Palace
We walked in and the first thing I noticed was all the chandeliers. The interior gave off a luxurious feeling. You can tell it’s a fancy restaurant right away.
We arrived at 11:30 am. Eating here was a last-minute decision so the restaurant said that we had to give back our table by 12:45 pm. They were fully booked for lunch since Hong Kongers usually eat around 1 pm. So many people in Hong Kong eat fast. An hour or so is enough time for us to finish. It was totally doable as long as they serve the food fast enough.
We sat down and they presented us with two menus: a dim sum menu and a main course menu. The dim sum menu was only a page long. We would usually get more food from the dim sum menu but there weren’t many dishes I wanted to try from there. So we also ordered some food from the main course menu.
Dishes We Ordered
1) Deep-Fried Shrimp Toast with Truffle Pesto
One particular dish caught my attention because I don’t see dishes like this often at Chinese restaurants. It was the deep-fried shrimp toast with truffle pesto. I thought it was interesting because it was the perfect mix of Western and Chinese cuisine.
I was curious as to what both pesto and truffle mixed together would taste like since I’ve never had that before. Pesto and truffle separately are amazing (hello, truffle pasta) but it sounds like heaven together.
The restaurant served generation portions for the shrimp toast. I expected only 3 little toasts but we got double the amount. The truffle scent and taste were stronger than the pesto. If the menu didn’t clearly state that they use pesto to make the dish, I wouldn’t have known at all. When you first bite into the toast, you can taste the freshness of the shrimp. You can hear the crunch when you take a bite. The toast is also crispy and flaky. It was soooo good. I would definitely order this again.
If you don’t like shrimp toast, Summer Palace also has truffle pesto spring rolls and dumplings on their menu.
2) Rice Rolls with Deep-Fried Crispy Shrimp
You might be thinking, ‘another shrimp dish?’ Hear me out.
I love seafood especially lobster but I admit that it’s a bit too much shrimp this time for one meal. There was an internal debate on whether or not I wanted to try this. I wasn’t going to budge with the shrimp toast with pesto truffle. I knew I wanted that dish but my dad seemed like he wanted to try the rice rolls.
Do you know how restaurants have a little logo beside their signature dishes? They had one beside the rice rolls on the dim sum menu. My dad asked me if I wanted to try and I said that we already order the shrimp toast with pesto and truffle. He shrugged and said we should try the fried shrimp roll anyway. He pointed out the logo beside it. It’s supposedly one of the best dishes so it would probably be pretty good.
This is another dish I recommend because it’s also very fresh. They are generous with the shrimp portion. I prefer more shrimp than Cheung fun anyway so it suited my tastes. The only thing I have to say is that I wish there was more soy sauce. We could have easily asked for more but the restaurant should have served enough soy sauce with the dish instead of the customer having to ask.
The shrimp toast and shrimp rice roll both have fried shrimp in them. I would order the rice roll if you want the more authentic dim sum style. This dish is possible to get at other dim sum restaurants (not all though). It’s traditional enough. Also, if you don’t like pesto or truffle, this is for you. If you’re more into trying fusion or special dishes, I would get the shrimp toast with truffle pesto.
Next time I come back to Summer Palace, I’m going to order the shrimp toast instead of having the shrimp toast and rice rolls. Both dishes are absolutely delicious. The rice rolls are really yummy and if the restaurant didn’t have the shrimp toast on the menu, there’s no doubt that I would order the rice roll dish each time I visit there. However, I can get the shrimp rice roll dish at other dim sum places. We actually have a place near my house that has a crispy shrimp rice roll we like to eat. I rather eat the shrimp toast at Summer Palace, which isn’t commonly served. I don’t know where else I can go to find this.
3) Steamed Glutinous Rice with Assorted Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf
This is one of my mom’s favourite dim sum dishes. I like steamed glutinous rice enough to eat one if someone orders it but it’s not something I would order for myself. At Summer Palace, they only serve two glutinous rice in a serving. That was a bit unexpected because normal dim sum restaurants serve three.
It’s been a while since I ate this but to my disappointment, it wasn’t good. The taste was bland even with the meat filling inside. I really wasn’t a fan of this. I didn’t want to waste the food but I couldn’t force myself to down the rest of it. My mom felt the same and we agreed that it’s not something we will order again.
I’m mad at myself for not taking pictures of the wrapped lotus leaf rice. You can’t tell the food isn’t the best by the look of it but I still wished I had a photo to show you guys.
4) Fried Rice with Seafood and X.O. Sauce in Stone Hot Pot
Everyone has their own dim sum preference but my parents and I prefer to order a rice or noodle dish during our meal. We asked the waiter for a recommendation because there wasn’t anything on the menu that stood out to us. He recommended the seafood fried rice X.O. sauce in stone pot rice. I thought it was strange because it sounded like a Korean dish. In my mind, stone pot rice = Korean food.
When the fried rice came, the waiter helped portion out the dish for us so that we all had one bowl each. When the rice was in front of us, my dad made a comment and said that you know it’s good fried rice when it’s not mushed up together. You can see every grain of rice clearly and that takes professional skill. I was doubtful when he said that because at that point, we didn’t even try it yet! It looked yummy but looks can be deceiving.
I still can’t vouch for what my dad said but the rice was pretty delicious. This dish was really fresh. I even had little scallops in my rice. However, I didn’t love the fact that it was spicy. I was iffy about the dish from the beginning because I’m generally not a fan of spicy food and the name clearly states there’s X.O. sauce in it. (There are obvious exceptions to the rule. For example, this rule is thrown out of the window when I’m at Saigon Star eating curry king crab in Toronto.) The spiciness in the rice does add flavour to the dish. It wouldn’t taste the same without it but I would have been still interested in trying the rice without the spiciness.
I probably would have eaten more rice but this was the last dish that came. We were pretty stuffed by then. There was leftover rice so we took the rest home.
Final Thoughts On Summer Palace
It’s been a while since we ate inside a nice restaurant. In fact, I do not recall the last time that happened. Generally speaking, restaurants inside hotels should be pretty good because they hire the best chefs and have high standards. The Shangri-La is a 5-star hotel. We often think price=quality. It’s usually pretty true so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I would recommend this restaurant to people.
I would recommend Summer Palace for those people who like a twist on traditional dim sum and do not mind spending more on a meal. Shangri-La hotel is by Admiralty, a financial district. It could be crowded during weekdays and even weekends so I recommend booking reservations in advance. We were lucky to be able to get a table but it’s only because we arrived at the restaurant before noon. We probably wouldn’t have been able to eat there if we went at a later time.
Honestly, the next time I come to Summer Palace will quite some time. Its location is not near my house and it’s not a budget-friendly restaurant. I also want to try other restaurants so I can write more restaurant reviews. I do like writing restaurant reviews but I haven’t gone out to eat much this past year. So, I haven’t had a chance to write as many food review blog posts as I would like.
Special Notes – Island Gourmet (Bakery Next Door)
I wanted to include this section in my blog post because there’s a bakery across from the restaurant called Island Gourmet. They sell all these pastries including madeleines, croissants, little cakes, fancy chocolates, etc. We bought some almond croissants and vanilla macarons.
The almond croissant was enjoyable but not the best I’ve had. However, I must rave about the vanilla macarons. It was fresh and the filling was really creamy. I regretted not buying more because it’s the best macaron I’ve had in a very long time. I will buy my scrumptious vanilla macarons the next time I eat at Summer Palace again.
What are your favourite dishes to get when you go for dim sum? Let me know in the comment section down below!
If you’re looking for a Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong, I recommend Agehan.