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Mar 5, 2008 04:03 AM

Harlan's HK - Great view, Mediocre food!

Had a dissappointing Italian/Mediterrean meal at Harlans today.
The two of us (both chowhounders from Toronto) started off with a few French Belons and US west coast Virginicas oysters. ( 2X North American pricing! Size half as small! ). For primis, we had Taglatelli with garlic and clams and Linguinne with simmer crab in a shrimp sauce. Pasta was perfectly al dente and tasted good, but not great. For the mains, we had the Wild sea bass with caviar,wilted spinach and champagne foam as well as the Wood oven baked king prawns stuffed with crab meat served with ratatoulli and Spanish ciscimmi sauce (?). Plate presentation was borderline boring! and so was the taste!! For dessert, we had creme brulle 3 ways and Italian pana cotta with seasame crisp and Bailey's foam. Both desserts were the highlight of our meal. Beautifully presented and tasted superb. But, alas! the accompanying biscotti tasted stale! This was reported to our super friendly waitress who immediately brought us a much fresher tasting replacement. Unfortunately, damage has already been done!. Overall, the meal rated a 6/10. However, the attentive and friendly service plus the great view both earned top marks! Conclusions: Should have save the money for a Michelin star Italian meal in Tokyo next week instead!!

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  1. Hey Charles, how is your HK trip so far? I am back in Toronto now after 2 weeks in Shanghai/HK...must've gained at least 10 pounds in each city!

    Where is this restaurant exactly?

    I think the most dissapointing meal for me was the Chinese Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt. Absolutely stunning view and an amazing dining room. But the price of the food is ridiculous, and the taste is not that much better than any high end chinese restaurant...

    1 Reply
    1. re: s0memale

      Harlan's is on Podium Level 2 of the IFC2 building. One of three high end Italian in the premise. So far, food experience had been so-so. Had some overpriced, over-rated and over-cooked A5 kobe beef in a TST Chinese restaurant. What a rip off! Yummiest food to date was a soya pigeon in some hole in the wall place in Sha-Tin. Some tapas style seafood from Temple street's Dai-Pai-Don was pretty good as well. But have to keep my fingers crossed for 8 hours hoping that I don't get food poisoning! Ha!

    2. Hi Charles,

      I am not surprised by your reaction. I have dined at Harlan's and H One and I wasn't impressed by either. I think it is one of those restaurants for the bankers and such to seen and to be seen, and the food is just so average. I heard that the chef was a very cocky guy who thinks he is all that. If I am going to spend money I will dine somewhere else?

      Have you dined at Caprice in HK? I think it was excellent when I went there.

      1. Used to like the place quite a bit since it is at a convenient loclation, has a good view and good food. Heard it has gone downhill quite a bit as well since the chef is now more focused on opening lots of new restaurants as opposed to cooking the food. This is really too bad.

        7 Replies
        1. re: HKTraveler

          Thanks for the heads-up, people.

          I was actually browsing the menu at the entrance of Harlans when I was doing a HK stopover last week. From what I've read, Harlan Goldstein rather fancied himself as the Wolfgang Puck of Hong Kong. Besides the flagship Harlans restaurant in IFC Mall, he also owns Tuscany by H (Italian) and Private H in Lan Kwai Fong, and another new 3-in-one dining spot at IFC: H One (Mediterranean), The Box (private dining) and G Bar (bar).

          Harlans was actually at the top of my list of places-to-dine when I return to HK again this weekend, but I'm having serious second thoughts now! Am never enamored by chain restaurants.

          1. re: klyeoh

            I was never wowed by the food at Harlan's or H One. However I think Tuscany by H is reasonably good - the risotto very al dentel. And the only time that I went to Private H I thought the food was fairly good.

            1. re: Peech

              Actually, over dinner on Monday my friends told me that Harlan Goldstein is no longer "managing director" at the Harlan's and H-One, although he remains a shareholder. He has switched places with the Italian chef at H-One, so Harlan himself is now cooking at Tuscany by H, while the Italian chef is now at H-One turning it into an Italian place...

              1. re: Peech

                tuscany by H is the only resto related to harlan i would ever go to - seems now we know why!

                tuscany is expensive, even in HK terms, but the food is very satisfying and the specials are actually genuinely 'special' (partic good produce that day, seasonal etc., i.e. the real reasons why specials exist)!

                1. re: e_ting

                  I just had dinner at Tuscany by H last night. Harlan cooked for us and every dish was great. The wild boar ragout pasta was kick ass! The ocean trout was wonderful, too. The lamb was tender and cooked perfectly.

                  We all thought that Harlan's back on top of his game, so Tuscany by H should be worth a visit. I'm glad to have another Italian restaurant worth going to.


                  1. re: Peech

                    Hi Peech,
                    Just a quick aside!
                    Was the 1990 Palmer still closed or did the 40% Merlot made it drinkable. I opened and kind of 'wasted' a 1990 Latour last year. Still closed, guess will need another 5-10 years!
                    Based on your meal at Tuscany by H, would you say its the 'best' Italian food HK has to offer currently? Even better than Da Domenica, Grissini or Sabetini?
                    Reckon Michelin will give it a star or two?

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      The Palmer was very drinkable...and enjoyed by everyone.
                      I'm not sure if Tuscany by H is "da best" as it's probably tough to compare, esp with Da Domenico. Will need a few more trips to get a better feel. But it is at least back on my radar screen.

        2. I read in a newspaper that Mr. Goldstein has been sued by his partners for alleged misuse (private use) of the fund.