Fa Zu Jie, 1/F, 20A D'Aguilar St., Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Cuisine:Shanghainese, Fusion, Private Kitchen
Reservation recommended: Must call ahead
What’s a surefire way to get people talking about and coming to your restaurant? By opening it in an obscure location and calling it a private kitchen, of course. But to keep them coming back, the food’s gotta be something too.
Fa Zu Jie (Putonghua for “French Concession,” named after Shanghai’s famous quarter) quite easily manages all of the above. The space is soft, light and intimate, with a beautiful modern kitchen, a handful of tables and charming touches here and there (a fluffy chair, a faux fireplace lined with books). The food here is mainly Shanghainese, but only in ingredients and taste. The presentation is very Western, so diners might go through a bit of an identity crisis at the beginning.
Our meal consisted of six courses, the first being a refreshing combination of black fungus, whelk, crab roe and a deep-fried seaweed with black vinegar jelly dish that whet our appetites with its acidity and interesting textures. We also enjoyed our just-firm-enough, just-braised-enough bamboo appetizer which came presented like a Chinese painting, then blazed through a succulent yellow croaker filet drenched in a smooth-n-easy pickled potherb mustard base, and an interesting French duck ragout with Shanghainese noodle that reminded us of spaghetti and meat sauce because of its presentation.
We weren’t crazy about the Iberico pork and porcini mushroom with Shanghainese vegetable rice, if only because you can easily get a much more satisfying deep-fried version at your local Shanghainese greasy spoon. But the light and fluffy osmanthus honey cake dessert, served with a few slices of crunchy wax-apples on the side, brought us back to a very happy ending.