Monday, 6 April 2015

The Boss - dim sum lunch treat

There's just no getting around it, sometimes you need to 'bite the bullet' and book a restaurant.  I love taking my chances and rocking up to a restaurant and seeing if I can jag a table.  It works more often that you'd think, but I guess when you are trying to get into one of Hong Kong's hottest new Michelin Starred restaurants, making a reservation is a much smarter option.  It didn't stop me from trying to get into The Boss, located in Queens Road Central, a few times before giving up and making a booking.

To be honest, I only made a reservation this time because I was hosting a work colleague who was visiting from London, so it wouldn't do to turn up for a busy lunch service, only to be turned away.  It seems as if my reputation for choosing for amazing restaurants had spread, so I'd been given specific instructions not to book into an 'expensive' restaurant.  Knowing that The Boss had a lunchtime Dim Sum menu seemed to be the logical choice, it would showcase a great new restaurant to our London visitor, while keeping it real for our wallets...

The Boss is located in the basement of the Peter Building in QRC and once you descend the steps the the dining room, you're presented with a modern looking take on a Chinese restaurant. Modern and minimalist are the words that spring to mind when describing the fit out of the restaurant, combining blacks and greys for a sleek and contemporary feel.

We were handed a number of menus, including the lunchtime set, which consisted of three very reasonably priced banquets style options.  We were also provided the a la carte menu, which for the lunchtime hours consists of an extensive dim sum selection.  My lunch companions handed the menu to me and with the assumption that I'd pick some delicious Cantonese, let me sort out lunch.  Knowing that the kitchen was being managed by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs medal winner and thirty year veteran, Executive Chef Tony Lam, I knew that just about anything I selected would be superb.

But I kept that piece of knowledge to myself :).

I loved the unique presentation of the deep fried spring rolls with shrimp and garlic, instead of coming flat on a plate like every other restaurant, the spring rolls came standing upright in a glass.  The crisp golden rolls stood around and tall in a glass, which made them much easier to get access to and dip into the chilli sauce.  The golden coating was very light, with none of that greasy feel that sometimes affects spring rolls.  The prawn filling was wonderfully cooked and the ever so gentle flavour of garlic was appreciated.  I'd have loved a few more!

Shrimp dumplings are an absolute requirement for me when eating dim sum and the Boss shrimp dumplings were as good as they come.  The translucent dumplings allowed us to see the fresh prawns so clearly and the sticky dumpling skin stuck to our chops sticks as we dipped them into some vinegar.  Luckily for me, there were four dumplings, and with only three of us at the table, I managed to score the extra serve!

There was a bit of a trade off however - I'd ordered the steamed barbecue pork buns and, not being a fan, I offered my pork bun to the table.  Interestingly MR, who also mentioned he didn't usually like pork buns, thought they were great.  It's possible I missed out on a new experience by not trying the Boss version, so I might just need to go back some time.

Another very traditional dim sum offering was the steamed spicy prawn and pork dumpling, which is essentially a pork wrapped prawn, steamed to perfection.  There is something about the combination of prawn and pork that really works, and again, I found the Michelin Starred Boss version to be every bit as good as the Tim Ho Wan version (the cheapest Michelin Starred restaurant around).

When eating dim sum and dumplings, there is always one special little morsel that I keep my eye out for, xiaolongbao.  Called steamed Shanghai dumplings on the menu, I spent some time explaining the concept of soup filled dumplings to our London based dining companion.  The idea is to bite the corner of the dumpling, then drink the flavoursome soup before devouring the rest of the dumpling.  I've perfected a technique where I can just pop the whole xiaolongbao into my mouth without burning my tongue, with the combined flavour of the pork and broth taking me to heaven.  The Boss version was not quite as refined as Din Tai Fung, but they were delicious none-the-less.

It wasn't all sunshine and smiles though. wW'd ordered the steamed beef balls, which I didn't really care for and the steamed flour rolls with barbecued pork, which were just OK.  I think it was the texture of the steamed beef balls that didn't sit well on my palate, although to be fair, my dining companions thought each was pretty delicious.

It was interesting to get the perspective of my dining companions, who were both as impressed as I was about our The Boss meal.  I'd certainly met the expectations of finding a restaurant that was both high quality and reasonably priced.  Of course, The Boss meal we'd consumed was from the cheaper dim sum selection and a full meal would be significantly more expensive - as you'd expect from a Michelin Starred dining spot.

Service was excellent and not at all reflective of the grief I'd experienced the half dozen times I'd tried to do a walk in for lunch.  Clearly, if you've made a reservation, you're all good and you're going to be well looked after.  Make the mistake of thinking you can just walk in, well, that's a little bit of a different proposition.  Our dim sum was delivered at just the right pace to ensure we felt sated, but not overly full.

There are a lot of nice restaurants in Hong Kong, many with Michelin Stars, but I found The Boss to be the perfect spot for a quick lunchtime meal on the cheap (relatively).  It was good enough to want me to take the girl along for lunch or dinner sometime soon, and a restaurant where I want a quick revisit, is a spot worth talking about...

The mystery dumplings - I can't remember what they were called, but they were tasty!
The spring rolls presented in a unique and interesting manner
The steamed prawn dumplings were my favourite The Boss dumplings
And the magic Michelin Star for The Boss - new entrant for 2015

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