Mott32 has been on my "to try" list for a very long time now.
I first learned about it while research best Peking duck places in Hong Kong. Bryan is a huge fan of Peking duck (as is evidenced by our daily consumption of the dish when we were in Beijing), and I wanted to find out the best places in Hong Kong so that we could eventually visit them. Mott32 consistently showed up in my searches. Furthermore, local Hong Kong readers of this blog also recommended it to me, time and time again.
Mott32 is part of Hong Kong's Maximal Concepts restaurant group, which also oversees restaurants such as Limewood, Brickhouse, and Blue - Butcher & Meat, just to name a few. The restaurant makes what it calls "contemporary Chinese", focusing mostly on Cantonese food but also injecting some Beijing and Szechuan dishes into the mix.
They emphasize the importance of ingredients, working closely with farms to source ingredients as ethically and sustainably as possible. All this, of course, comes at a price, and dining at this elegant restaurant is definitely a more upscale experience.
Although most people associate Mott32 with its Peking duck, the restaurant actually makes a lot of other really, really special dishes. You don't have to get the duck when you go. In fact, if it's just two people dining, it's a bit overwhelming to order a whole duck. You won't really have room to eat anything else. It's almost better not to get the duck if you want to sample a bigger variety of dishes.
This is exactly what Bryan and I did when we visited Mott32 on a Saturday for lunch, thanks to an invitation by Maximal Concepts. Instead of having duck, we sampled an assortment of small plates and creative steamed dim sum items. We finished with their fantastic signature Iberico charsiu pork. All in all, we were able to taste six different dishes and still leave room for a couple desserts!
Mott32 has an impressive wine list as well as a a cocktail program that utilizes Asian ingredients such as ginseng root, goji berries, pomelo, shiso leaves, and Osmanthus honey. Bryan tried an interesting cocktail called Five Spice Sherry (140 HKD) that included Blanco Avion tequila, Pedro sherry and raspberries topped with sage and 5-spice powder!
We also ordered a lovely pot of silver needle white tea, which the staff carefully brewed for us by steeping the leaves in boiling water for only a few seconds before pouring the tea into our cups. The tea was excellent and I enjoyed the top-notch tea-making service that went on throughout our meal.
We started with the Sichuan-inspired Chili Cold Tofu (105 HKD), homemade cold tofu and beancurd skin tossed in a black bean and chili sauce. The dish definitely packed a nice mala (numbing) kick without being unbearably spicy. The black bean sauce added another dimension of umami. All in all, I loved the dish.
Mott32 elevates the traditional rice rolls (cheung fun 腸粉) by filling its Prawn Cheung Fan (115 HKD) with prawn, crispy rice paper, and asparagus . These were fun to eat, and the textural crunch inside reminded me a bit of those rice roll wrapped deep fried cruellers, though this was much more elegant.
Their Shanghainese soup dumplings are legit, complete with delicate skin and many folds. This fusion blended version, called Hot & Sour Soup Dumpling (95 HKD) is filled with hot and sour "soup" and made with Spanish Iberico pork. The flavors were fantastic, packing plenty of heat!
These translucent-skinned Beetroot Dumplings (70 HKD) reminded me of the Chiu Chow style dumplings you often see in dim sum restaurants.
This creative version uses a similar translucent skin but is filled with South Australian scallop, shrimp, and beetroot.
Finally, we tried yet another signature dim sum item: the Egg Siu Mai (70 HKD), a siu mai dumpling with a whole soft quail egg wrapped inside. The filling also includes kurobuta Iberico pork as well as a generous topping of black truffles. It's definitely a creative luxurious take on a very traditional Cantonese dim sum item.
Finally, my favorite: Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork with Yellow Mountain Honey (295 HKD). The charsiu is made from Spanish Iberico pigs who feed naturally on acorns, grass, and herbs. The carefully guarded cooking process takes over 40 minutes and includes two honey glaze coatings to enable the characteristic char.
This was easily BOTH of our favorites. The meat was super soft and tender and the overall flavors were simply phenomenal. This was easily one of the best charsiu BBQ porks I'd ever had, period.
We finished off the meal with baked-to-order Egg Tarts (60 HKD). You have to wait a bit for them to bake it, but it's worth the wait! There's nothing like a warm egg tart straight from the oven.
The server also suggested that we try these seasonal Green Tea Pancakes (80 HKD). Made from glutinous rice and filled with sesame, these rolls were pleasantly chewy and not too sweet. We both preferred the egg tarts though.
Mott32 Dim Sum - Overall Thoughts
All in all, we were very impressed with our dim sum lunch at Mott32. We could tell that the restaurant cares a lot about quality - both in ingredients and overall execution. For both of us, the star was definitely the Iberico charsiu pork, though honestly, all of the dim sum was also very, very good. I don't think you can really go wrong. Service was courteous, attentive, and generally excellent.
The restaurant is located a few levels below ground. Accordingly, no matter what time of day it is, it feels like nighttime inside. Food photography can be challenging.
Expect to spend at least 1000 HKD for two, and more if you order cocktails and drinks. Our meal (including silver needle white tea for two, a bottle of sparkling water, and one cocktail for Bryan), came to just under 1500 HKD.
On our way out we saw the impressive custom duck oven that air dries the ducks before they are roasted. The total cooking method for the duck takes 48-hours, which means you have to pre-order duck dishes. The restaurant roasts duck two ways: the Beijing method and the Cantonese method.
I definitely plan on trying the duck one of these days once I find a larger group with whom to visit this place! Until then, I will continue to have fond memories of the amazing charsiu BBQ pork.
Disclaimer: I was invited to try Mott32 dim sum by the Maximal Concepts Group. I did not pay for this meal. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.