CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Hong Kong | Dining & Nightlife | Food & DrinksOctober 25, 2012

Yan Toh Heen Lunch with Carole Klein

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Recipient of 1-Michelin star in the prestigious 2010 & 2011 Michelin Guide (Hong Kong & Macau), .Yan Toh Heen at InterContinental Hong Kong has garnered internationally acclaimed as one of the world’s finest Chinese restaurants over its twenty-five year history.

Yan Toh Heen is renowned for its exquisite Cantonese cuisine by Executive Chef Lau Yiu Fai, elegant understated ambiance with signature hand-carved jade place-settings, and its beautiful harbour views, thanks to its location at edge of Victoria Harbour overlooking Hong Kong Island. You can find on joellestagram gallery how perfectly my green jade glasses fitted with the table wear ...and my eyes of course!

Head PR of the Intercontinental hotel for many years, the charming Carole Klein has made it a point to challenge Chef Lau You Fai with all of our food requirements and religious prohibitions. No shellfish, no meat of any kind, no seafood. Hard enough for Cantonese cuisine I imagine. But let me tell you, lunch was one of the best experiences I 've had during my last 6 weeks in China.

The restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner, features an extensive a la carte menu, plus set lunch and dinner menus and special menus showcasing seasonal Cantonese specialties. At lunchtime, guests can enjoy an extensive selection of traditional and innovative dim sum. The a la carte menus also showcase a selection of “health” dishes, which are healthy variations of authentic Cantonese delicacies.

What makes the cuisine of Yan Toh Heen so outstanding? As per Chef Lau Yiu Fai, “It is the combination of refined Chinese cooking methods using the best ingredients from all over the world and the finest quality fresh seasonal produce, with a creative modern presentation.”

Yan Toh Heen Chef Lau Yiu Fai, who has been working in the hotel’s Chinese kitchen for over twenty-three years and who has been at the helm of Yan Toh Heen’s kitchen for the past ten years, showcases signature dishes --- ranging from the restaurant’s classic Deep-fried Pear & Scallop to his award-winning Lung Kong Chicken and Sautéed Wagyu Beef, Mushroom and Shishito Pepper served on a sizzling Iron Plate, which was awarded the “Best of the Best” culinary award at the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s competition honouring the  best Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong.  Yan Toh Heen’s Peking Duck is also highly acclaimed.

The name “Yan Toh Heen” was chosen with particular attention to the restaurant's harborside location.  The first two characters represent an appreciation of the enjoyable view, while the third character, "Heen", has a number of meanings including "an elegant dining establishment".  It can also signify "happy, laughing, pleasant" as well as "porch, balcony and pavilion".

The logo of Yan Toh Heen, two fish bound together by ribbons, dates back to seventh century China and has been interpreted to mean "an augury of good fortune". This insignia appears on restaurant decorations and exquisite jade carved table settings and is also embroidered in silk on the Swiss Linen napkins.

Table-settings are the focal point of the restaurant with presentation plates, matching napkin rings, curved spoons and carved fish (used as a chopstick "rest") all handcrafted in green jade, a symbol of excellence and purity to the Chinese.

Yan Toh Heen features a warm and elegant décor with golden honey tones, chosen to complement the delicate green of the jade table settings.  The rich hues, unusually understated for a traditional Chinese restaurant, create an ambiance of tranquility.

The restaurant also showcases several priceless Chinese antiques. At the entrance to the restaurant is a 17th century Zi Tan table contrasted by a stunning contemporary floral arrangement. Eighteenth century antique Chinese tapestries from the hotel’s original art collection, restored and beautifully reframed, adore the walls, while wrap-around windows showcase panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Yan Toh Heen also has its own wine cellar within the restaurant.

The best dessert ever? Although I honestly was against the idea of real bird's nest, Carole guided me into the dish with elegance, tact and diplomacy....It's delicious, aphrodisiac my dear and extremely healthy for your skin..I will order it and you will just try it. I must  tell you how impressed I was by Carol , the marvelous chef and the bird's nest. I cancelled my tours for the afternoon and up to my presidential suite for a good relaxed time. Thanks Carole for teaching me something new, to break my boundaries of limited restriction and still enjoy the unknown......I will see you soon...at Yan Toh Heen .

Joelle's picks:

Open for lunch from 12:00 noon to 2:30pm, Monday-Saturday and from 11:30am to 3:00pm on Sunday and Public Holidays. Open daily for dinner from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.

For reservations, please call 2313 2323. Attire: Smart Causal. InterContinental Hong Kong, Hong Kong, S.A.R., China

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