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Anyone eaten at Magnolia in Hong Kong? Help!

I recently came across Magnolia (which seems like one of the only joints serving Southern American/Cajun/Creole food in HK). I read the Zagat's review here (seems somewhat mixed but also outdated - mainly all from 2007):

http://www.zagat.com/Verticals/Proper...

They have no listing on Openrice. Anyone been there? What was your experience like? Although I'm not from the South I'm really craving some good southern fried chicken/BBQ ribs/gumbo. Help!

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  1. now that you mentioned it I think I passed by it before, it is near the Hospital right? The exterior / decor is pretty modern if I recall correctly. There is one review on WOM Guide only. (http://www.womguide.com/restaurants/r...) Maybe you should give it a go and let us know ^^

    1. here's their website: http://magnolia.hk/

      it's not bad - hearty (if a bit too heavy) Southern food by a Southern chef. You'll probably end up eating three times your body weight, but it's good if you're looking for that kind of food.

      Try searching on expat forums - it seems to have gained a following and is quite well known among expats

      1 Reply
      1. re: e_ting

        Actually I was there one that started that thread in the geoexpat website. I was really excited about this place but the reviews were so mixed I'm really not sure right now. The worst comment I heard was when someone said "if you never had southern/creole food then it's not bad" :(

      2. Tried it for a friend's birthday some year back. Remembered the food like gumbo being OK. It was a really long meal though. Sorry, didn't take notes and this was at least 3 years ago.

        1. I had a superb meal there a few months ago. Can't recall everything we had but it was all delicious and topped off by a fantastic pecan pie - and I don't generally even like pecan pie.

          3 Replies
          1. re: coco9nyc

            @coco9nyc: Have you had Southern/Creole food before? How does the food at Magnolia compare to the US? I'm just really excited to get some good fried chicken, BBQ ribs and gumbo/jambalaya.

            1. re: big_apple_ken

              I lived in NYC for >10 years and travelled south of Mason/Dixon a few times, scary as it is; I also travelled to Houston a lot and experienced BBQ at their rodeo and some other places. Magnolia was as good as anything I've eaten in the US, and there were about 15 Americans at the dinner with me (some from the south) and they all cleaned their plates too.

              1. re: coco9nyc

                Oh cool. I've lived in NYC for 7 years myself. Just moved back to Hong Kong. It's so comforting to hear that you had a good experience there. Thanks for the heads up :)

          2. I also lived in NY for 10 yrs so I can relate to a love for great food. For Magnolia, stick to their inhouse specialty - Southern comfort food. Note that food service takes forever - very slow. DO NOT go for their fine dining catering. I thought it would come with the same care and quality as their Southern food - big mistake. After a short conversation with the chef they sent to my home, I discovered that they sent me a part-time BBQ chef. I got ripped off for a HK$650 per person meal. The food was highly unrefined, salty, and the portion was offensively large. I called the owner Lori to talk to her about this. She made a half-assed attempt to return my call. She called me back. Left me a voicemail. I called her back two to three times. Never heard from her again. I would consider that unprofessional, rude, callous and breathtakingly lacking in integrity as a business owner and chef.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ssmc

              Sorry to hear about your disaster catering experience. That definitely blows. So have you tried their inhouse specialty? How slow is 'slow' when you are talking about service? Thanks!

            2. hi big_apple_ken! if you can afford to spare 3+ hours for dinner and you enjoy simple but good home-cooked food, then you must give magnolia a try! there's nothing fancy and spectacular about the meal, but the gumbo, jambalaya, baby back ribs, cornbread - they just hit the spot, give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. it's one of my favorite restaurants in hk.

              not the place for a romantic dinner though as you need to share the table with a whole bunch of people. this makes it quite an experience. i highly recommend it!

              5 Replies
              1. re: jin.loves.to.eat

                Thanks Jin! I've actually read your blog a handful of times and it's nice to hear another positive review about the place. 2 questions:

                1) How's the fried chicken?
                2) How many people does the place fit?

                Thanks!

                1. re: big_apple_ken

                  1. been there 3 times but no fried chicken those 3 times. so no, i don't think they serve fried chicken. or maybe i wasn't lucky enough.
                  2. if i remember correctly, i saw 3-4 private rooms. each room can seat around 15-20 people. if you can get a group of 10 you can have a room all to yourselves.

                  sorry it took me forever to reply, but i wanted to finish my review on it so you get a peek of what to expect. anyway, here it is: http://www.jinlovestoeat.com/2009/12/...

                  1. re: jin.loves.to.eat

                    I actually booked a table there this Thursday to go with 4 other friends. I just read your review and I'm uber excited. We put in a request for fried chicken so hopefully that will come through :)

                    If no fried chicken I heard Magnolia has a stand in Landmark 360 (Ragin' Cajun) which will scratch my fried chicken itch...haha. Thanks!

                    1. re: big_apple_ken

                      let me know how it goes and if the fried chicken is worth another visit! :)

                      1. re: jin.loves.to.eat

                        So I went to Magnolia tonight. Overall I thought the meal was good but a lot of the side dishes were misses for me. I felt they were quite heavy handed in terms of salt for a lot of the sides (especially the veggies). Also the jambalaya was too dry and kind of felt like Cajun fried rice.

                        The fried chicken (which we requested)...was pretty decent but not great. Just felt like it was lacking in flavor even though the batter was crispy and the chicken was juicy. My friend said last time he came here the batter was different and it tasted better.

                        The stars: BBQ ribs, gumbo, corn muffin, sweet potato mash and pecan pie were pretty damn good. Especially the ribs and the pie. I just wished they served less of those sides and more of that pie!

                        I wrote an extensive review on Openrice here (should be posted in the morning): http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...