Xi Yàn Flavours, Shop 1207, Elements, 1 Austin Rd. West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Area:Tsim Sha Tsui
Opening Hours:daily noon-10pm
TV chef Jacky Yu’s newest restaurant isn’t just located inside a shopping mall; the outer tables actually spill out into the shopping area, with the attendant brilliant lighting and constant hum that you’d expect. Not to come over all Foucault, but the overlapping dining and shopping space put us ill at ease; the environment didn’t suggest that we were about to sit down to a relaxing meal. And as we’d been seated in that outer area, we didn’t. The menu was varied with Japanese, Thai, Sichuan and Cantonese influences, and the dishes ranged from average to better-than-average. We tried the Zhenjiang spare ribs, which had been recommended, and while in no way bad, they weren’t worth the price. Similarly, the “noodles with Grandma’s braised beef” were no better than any street noodle stall. We would, however, like to draw attention to the service: accustomed to poorly trained staff in most mid-range restaurants, it was a pleasant surprise to receive such uniformly efficient and polite staff. But the price for what was essentially food-court quality food, and the lack of atmosphere, made the meal a little hard to swallow.