Review: Imperial Treasure serves up a welcome taste of tradition

Updated on June 11 2017

Fine-dining Chinese restaurants aren’t hard to come by in Hong Kong, but it takes a combination of service, décor, and quality of food and drinks to stand out from the pack. After soft launching earlier this year, Imperial Treasure has planted its flag firmly as a worthy dining destination on the Kowloon waterfront, serving up classic Chinese dishes with a side of prime harbourfront views.

The restaurant is the first Hong Kong flagship from award-winning, Singapore-based Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group, which currently has 30 restaurants in Singapore, South Korea, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. The Shanghai outpost holds two Michelin stars and was featured on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list from 2013–2015; based on our recent experience, we’re ready to bet Hong Kong won’t be far behind.

Ambience

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From the moment you step through the gilded doors into the vast dining room, you’re immediately hit by a sense of glamour and opulence, with shiny black tabletops, marble and gold accents throughout. Intricately patterned panels divide the room into sections, while still keeping the airy and expansive feel of the space.

Imperial Treasure
Imperial Treasure’s interiors exude glamour and sophistication.

White tablecloth-covered tables, spaced well far apart, are adorned simply with a candle and flower, drawing focus to the spectacular view from the floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a prime viewing spot to catch the Victoria Harbour light show, as an added treat with your dinner.

Imperial Treasure
During the evenings, guests can take advantage of the view to catch the Symphony of Lights show.

Food and Drink

Those who appreciate traditional, well-executed Chinese classics will take comfort in Imperial Treasure’s extensive menu of timeless recipes. From dim sum to barbecued meats to exclusive Chinese delicacies, the food offerings are meant to be explored over several return visits. With a menu that’s just under 20 pages long, ordering can be a bit of an ordeal, but friendly staff are on hand to guide you through your selections (there’s also a concise list of chef-recommended signature items).

We begin with a combination from the barbecue selection, opting for soy sauce chicken and char siu (HK$198 for choice of two). Both are exemplary — the soy sauce chicken is tender and well-flavoured, while the char siu arrives in thick slabs of darkly lacquered meat, boasting a rich, meaty and fatty quality that’s a trademark of excellent char siu. We wouldn’t go so far to call it the best in town, but it is sumptuous and fairly good value for the price.

Imperial Treasure
Barbecued meats include traditional crispy pork, soy sauce chicken and char siu.

Next we’re presented with one of the restaurant’s specialties, the deep-fried frog (HK$238), appearing like a plate of fried chicken with golden-brown bite-sized morsels, surrounded by a ring of fried ginger slices. The batter is remarkably light, crunching delightfully to reveal the tender, tasty frog meat. We devour the frog but leave the ginger untouched — its bracing pungency is much too jarring to eat such large slices at a time. For those who have an affinity for frog, there’s also variations of sauteed frog, poached frog and stewed frog with ginger, onion and clam sauce served in a claypot.

Imperial Treasure
Premium Australian lobster is available steamed, poached or sauteed with a vigorous black bean sauce.

For mains, we opt for the Australian lobster, sold at market price, and a side of the e-fu noodles. Arriving without any additional garnishes or adornments, the lobster is outstanding — coated with a lip-smacking black bean sauce that’s found its way into every crack and crevice of the crustacean. The meat itself is sweet and succulent, shining through despite the heavy sauce. The two complement each other wonderfully, and the result is one of the best seafood dishes we’ve had in recent memory.

Imperial Treasure
A plate of e-fu noodles with mushroom and dried shrimp roe.

The e-fu noodles are more nondescript, but nonetheless a good carb option to accompany the meat and seafood items. The menu states that the noodles are tossed with dried shrimp roe, but we fail to detect the salty bite of the ingredient in the mess of tangled soy-slicked noodles. A plate of sauteed Chinese kale is fresh and crisp, tossed lightly with ginger and Chinese wine for a hit of acidity.

Fairly stuffed at this point, we end the meal on a light note with the osmanthus jelly dessert (HK$13 per piece), with bright red gogi berries suspended throughout the cubes of fragrant and subtly sweet jelly.

Imperial Treasure
Cubes of osmanthus jelly are an elegant way to end the meal on a lighter note.

Verdict

We just barely scratched the tip of the iceberg with one visit, and are eagerly planning our return to delve into more of the classic meat and seafood offerings, perhaps with more people in tow (the extensive menu lends itself well to group dinners and would be great for impressing first-time visitors to Hong Kong). The restaurant also harbours an extensive list of well-curated wines, Champagnes, and Asian-inspired cocktails to pair with the menu. Each bite at Imperial Treasure is rich with heritage and authenticity — we’ll be back soon to sample more of what the kitchen has to offer.

Opening Hours: Monday–Sunday, 11:30am–3pm for lunch, 6–11pm for dinner. 
Recommended Dishes:
 Australian lobster, deep-fried frog, dim sum, steamed egg white with caviar, chilled abalone, roasted boneless suckling pig with glutinous rice, soy sauce chicken, braised sea cucumber stuffed with minced meat, sauteed prawn with chilli sauce.
Price: Approximately HK$600–$800 per head excluding drinks.
Noise Level: Quiet to moderate.
Service: Attentive and knowledgeable on the menu, although food pacing can be slow and uneven.

Imperial Treasure, 10/F, One Peking, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2613 9800