Lei Garden's the grand dame of Cantonese fine dining restaurants and one of the heavyweights in the power business lunch circuit. Nestled within the beautifully restored Chijmes cathedral, this well-known Hongkong-based restaurant is one of two overseas outlets. Even with its stellar reputation, it is refreshing that Lei Garden manages an unpretentious and boisterous ambience.
I had lunch with a client there, who's apparently quite a frequent customer. He's a foodie as well, so it was a very good lunch.
We started off with a cold appetizer of Chilled Black Fungus in Vinegar ($6). This was refreshing and zesty, just enough to get your tummy going.
We moved onto the Double-Boiled Pork Ribs Soup ($28), which was simmered for so long that the collagen had been extracted from the bones, resulting in the milky texture of this amazingly delicate but full-bodied soup.
The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with Waxed Meat ($4.30) was also yummy, soft insides with a slightly caramelised crust.
We also got Baked Mini Egg Tarts ($3.80), a buttery flaky pastry with a wobbly and smooth egg custard within.
The Crispy Roasted Pork ($13.80) was decadently good. Crackling skin, moist and salty meat with a beautiful sliver of fat wedged between the layers of meat.
The Century Egg and Pork Congee ($5.80) was also very yummy. Tiny, discernible grains of rice gruel in a rich pork broth, with chunks of pork adding texture and flavour. Obviously, I left the century egg cubes alone.
We also ordered Steamed Rice Roll with Scallops ($4.80), thin sheets of smooth rice rolls with succulent scallops, and a liberal drizzling of delicate soy.
The Steamed Shanghai Dumplings with Minced Pork or Xiao Long Bao ($4.80 for 3) was also well done. Thin, but strong dumpling skins enveloped savoury minced pork and a good helping of steaming-hot pork broth.
The Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings or Guo Tie ($4.30) was an unexpected surprise. This wasn't too oily, and the minced pork filling was juicy.
The Steamed Custard Buns with Salted Egg Yolk ($3.80) were also very delicious. The chocolate-swirled buns made for a nice sweet dessert.
Salted Egg Yolk filled the cavity of the sweet buns, making this a good balance between the sweet and savoury.
Chijmes Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street
Tel: 6339 3822
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner