Hysan Place houses a long list of restaurants, giving Causeway Bay shoppers a lot more dining options. It has taken me quite a while to try out most of the restaurants in this rather new shopping mall. And because of the queues in front of the Shanghainese restaurant, The Dining Room (南小館), it has taken me even longer to try this place out. We finally got ourselves into The Dining Room for lunch a few weekends ago.
When we looked through their comprehensive menu we thought the dishes were very small based on the prices ($30-$70 per dish). And since we were extremely hungry, we ordered A LOT. So don’t be alarmed with the amount of food we ate.
To my surprise, the dishes were larger than I expected. It wasn’t exactly huge portions, but for the prices we were paying, I thought it was a good deal.
The first thing I liked about this restaurant was the buckwheat tea they served, it was nutty and a refreshing alternative to the usual dark Po-erh tea.
We started off with 3 appetizers, the Longhua Temple Bean Curd Skin Rolls, Marinated Jellyfish with Cucumber in Zhenjiang Aged Dark Vinegar and Shredded Beancurd & Assorted Vegetables. My favorite was the shredded beancurd because of the lightness of this colorful dish.
I almost always order Dan Dan Noodles when I see it on the menu and it was no exception during our visit to this restaurant. Every restaurant makes their Dan Dan noodles slightly different, and here this noodle soup had more of a Sichuan flare. It wasn’t very spicy per se, but you could really taste the Sichuan peppercorns. They were a bit light-handed on the minced pork and the presentation was a bit lacking. The photo was exactly how the noodles looked when it arrived, it sure looks like I took this photo halfway through eating it, eh?
Hubby chose the Noodles in Soup with Spare Ribs (which is something he always orders as well). The deep-fried pork was crispy and not oily, and there was also a slight hint of curry that made it interesting.
The Signature Pan-Fried Crispy Pork Soup Buns was definitely the highlight of our lunch. The outside of the bun was crispy and was bursting with tasty juices on the inside. Definitely a must try if you go, and just this dish alone has convinced me to go back again.
Another of their signature dishes is the Shanghai Fresh & Cured Pork Shaomai.
In the review’s I’ve read, everyone recommended the Xiao Long Bao here. I got to say, I was a tad disappointed. Although the filling was very meaty, I thought the wrapper wasn’t thin enough and there weren’t enough juices (My #1 fave Xiao Long Bao is still from Ding Tai Fung ~ 鼎泰豐). However, it could have been the fact that they had another Xiao Long Bao (WuXi Style) on the menu and we just ordered the wrong one. In my next visit, I will definitely try the WuXi style to confirm.
Hot & Sour Soup in Shanghai Style is also another item that I always order. I love a good hot & sour soup. This one did the trick for me, but I preferred it to be spicier with less white pepper. We also ordered a Premium Soy Sauce Chinese Kale which I thought was cooked perfectly allowing the freshness of the veggie speak for itself.
Walking into The Dining Room, you wouldn’t know they served Shanghainese food. The minimalist decor with a touch of rustic country was inviting, but at the same time I couldn’t make sense of it all. Maybe it was the bicycles that threw me off a bit.
Having had similar dishes to the ones we had at The Dining Room, other Shanghainese restaurants always left us feeling very full from the heavy and oily food. Don’t get me wrong, we were definitely full after this big meal, but we didn’t feel that heaviness. I felt that this restaurant was easy with the sauces and oils allowing the ingredients itself to shine through.
Overall, I thought there were some hits and misses with the dishes, but there were a few that I would come back for. I wouldn’t say this restaurant is my favorite for Shanghainese dim sum, but I would definitely come again.
Lunch Total: $478 for 2 persons (Note we really ordered enough food for 4)
Address: Shop 1201, 12/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay / Tel: 2648 2299