Lei Garden - which one?
Am dropping by HK in November, and am planning to visit Lei Garden for some Cantonese comfort food.
Have always liked the IFC and Wanchai branches. The general consensus seems to be that the latter is the best.
However, noticed that the Mong Kok branch has gained at extra Michelin star. Obviously the Guide is not to be slavishly followed, but it does seem like they have judged this one branch to be better than the others.
I'm just wondering if that judgment is in any way accurate, and whether I should jettison my plans to visit either the IFC or Wanchai branches in favour of the Mong kok one.
No! No! No! No! No!
Do not waste your money at the Mong Kok Branch!! Over-rated, bad service, 'cut corner' food and lousy decor! I tried it when it was given a 2*. No way!! Ming Kok is much, much better!!
Glad to see they subsequently demoted to 1* in the latest guide!!
BTW, by 'cut corner' I mean they serve the same dish like the 'crispy roast pork belly' for the same price as the other branches by reducing the size!!
re: Charles Yu
Ming Kok, Charles? Where's that?
I personally like Lei Garden in IFC Mall these days. But more for the convenience since it's in Central and also near shops and cinemas for me. But the crowd on weekends can be noisy, so I try to avoid weekend lunch-time when Lei Garden is filled with family with small kids and crying babies.
The awarding of an extra star to a branch doesn't necessarily indicate that the food there is better. It could be the service or the setting making the difference.
That said, you've picked up that some branches are better than others, and I'd go with your gut on that. As for me? I've always liked the IFC branch for its consistency and convenient location.
re: Charles Yu
That's what the Michelin folks claim these days, Charles. But I'm sure we all remember the days when chef-restaurateurs in France ran themselves to the ground spending obscene amounts of money to convert their restaurants into luxe temples which are beautiful enough to impress Michelin inspectors and earn that rare Michelin-star, especially those aspiring for the elusive third star.
But the Michelin's star seemed to have fallen in Europe in recent years, prompting them to sought newer pastures in Asia - Japan, Hong Kong - and I'm amazed with the lengths they're willing to go through, or rather to concede, in order to gain some street cred with the Japanese and Hong Kong foodies (think 1-Michelin-star Tim's Kitchen's closet-sized toilet with dirty mop and pail a couple of years back). Personally,
I preferred the days when Hongkongers were confident enough to make *their* own decisions on which are the best places to eat in their own city, rather than letting a French-based guide tell them which are the best places.
I had thought it was only about the food at the one star level but the other factors were taken into account at three stars, but the food still had to be three star level, the other factors could be detractors from getting the third.
As to HK's choosing based on the guide, I tend to think people use multiple sources Michelin just adds to the mix. Overall I find Michelin gets it right in HK. Or put it another way the ones in Michelin (starred or bibbed) are reliable and good. That doesn't mean many not in the guide are not good, many are great, Michelin just has limitations and doesn't deliver an exhaustive list.
I would also add that Michelin also includes some pretty off the wall, basic places (with great food) as one stars in Europe so it's not just pandering to the Asian market place.
But I still get the distinct feeling that eateries in HK are held to "lower" standards than those in France. Granted, Michelin-rating is hardly standard across the world - e.g. you can have a 1-Michelin-star French restaurant in London which is a class above a 2-Michelin-star establishment in San Francisco Bay Area.