I knew that Xin Rong Ji must be a really good restaurant when I tried (and failed) twice to make a reservation at the last minute. This Michelin-starred Shanghainese restaurant originated from Mainland China and has several locations throughout the region.
We have since had a few opportunities to dine there and we absolutely love it. Not only is the food top notch, the wine list is incredible and comes at ridiculous reasonable prices (with minimal mark up). It's most certainly a wine-lover's dream to be able to taste a host of high-end wines (think first growth French Bordeaux) while enjoying excellent Shanghainese food.
The menu is quite large, and we have only tried a few dishes (limited capacity when it's just the two of us!). However, we've tried enough dishes to have a general impression about the place. Below are some of our initial thoughts.
We received different free "snacks" each time, such as boiled peanuts, almond brittle, fresh dates, and fresh pineapples, plus three sauces (XO, chilis).
Deep fried belt fish (or eel?) was lightly fried and not at all greasy, though it did have quite a few bones. It was nice, but it didn't stand out in any particular way aside from the expert frying.
Clam soup with vegetables and mushrooms was refreshingly light and the clams were really, really fresh and sweet. Delicious.
The fish maw soup was crazy pricy. It was good, but we didn't think it was worth the cost.
Meat and Seafood
Sunflower chicken (chicken that is only served sunflower seeds!), is served in the traditional Chinese matter (白切雞) with ginger scallion sauce or chili sauce. The ginger scallion sauce was fantastic and the chicken was small with virtually no fat, only skin. It was very elegant.
One of their signature dishes, the daikon, is impressive. We only got a half order, but it was plenty and arguably the largest dish we got. The daikon is impossibly velvety soft, consistent, and full of rich, deep, umami.
Noodles and Rice
I love love love freshly made rice cakes (nian gao 年糕), especially the jet-black squid ink calamari rice cakes that they offer here (not pictured). The flavors were addictive and I loved the amazing "Q" bouncy al dente texture of the rice cake.
We also tried hairy crab rice cakes in the fall, a seasonal specialty. This version came in a sweet, soy sauce based sauce that was beautifully fragrant. It reminded me of the famous Shanghainese crispy eel dish. Difficult and messy to eat, but they gave us gloves, a lobster cracker tool, a bowl filled with lemon tea for washing our fingers, and endless "refills" on wet towels.
General Thoughts - Xin Rong Ji Hong Kong
The restaurant has an incredible wine collection at very reasonable (hardly any mark-up!) prices. The wine fridge has an insane amount of Romanee Conti. Bryan is always happy to go because he can get a good deal on excellent wines.
Although it's a high-end restaurant with a beautiful space, the environment is pretty casual and relatively family friendly.
They also do Peking Duck, and offer a lot of ridiculously expensive and exotic seafood (which is pretty typical in a lot of high end Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong).
Service is excellent. I even had a chaperone accompany me to the restrooms (which, admittedly, were a bit hard to find).
All in all, an excellent place.
Xin Rong Ji Hong Kong (Wan Chai)
China Overseas Building
G/F 138 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai