Once a month the shakers (of salts) and movers (of cheese) from the #hkfoodbloggers Facebook group will gather to collectively wield our cameras at unsuspecting waiters and create comfortable, unified silence as we devour plate after plate of delicious food. I might be green to this, but I am very sure seldom you can find a whole bunch of folks who can talk about nothing else but food all night long. And that night at Manor Seafood Restaurant, we sure have plenty to talk – and complain! – about.
Sizzling claypot oysters.
Let’s just say that places like Manor will do well to learn that, in the service industry – the customer is always right. Here’s the story: We booked a table for ten, and upon arrival we were seated in a nice private room. Being the dedicated foodies that we were, we already pre-ordered some popular food items, and after some haggling over the extensive menu we ordered a few more. Halfway through the dinner, the captain came in and told us that, hey, we are $1K short of our minimum charge, and please can we please order more food?
Signature stir-fried noodles with soy sauce.
We were like, WTF? First of all, we didn’t ask to be seated in a room. Secondly, we weren’t told there will be a minimum charge, and if there is, we should be informed at the point when we ordered, not when we were halfway through our food! But what really takes the cake was how rude the captain kept insisting that he told us early in the dinner, and that the minimum charge was mentioned.
Char siu in a pot.
Let’s face it – this is not about money. This is about integrity, of being honest, and playing it straight. Between the few of the foodies we stood our ground and the captain left the room in a huff. IN A HUFF. From that point on we jested – in half seriousness – that they might put “extra ingredients” in our food as a result of the whole debacle. For the life of me, if that have happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. All we knew was that at the end of dinner, we were told that they have run out of the complimentary dessert they usually serve to everyone. At 10.30 p.m. at night. For a restaurant that is famous to open till 4 a.m. everyday.
Stir-fried Chinese lettuce with shrimp paste.
I am not sorry to say this but the shameful behaviour of the restaurant captain put a huge dent to my otherwise delightful experience for the night. He should have known that he was dealing with a table of food bloggers – the one camera per person quota would have been a huge telltale sign – and this kind of disgraceful behaviour will NOT go unblogged.
Roast suckling pig.
Having said all that, let me just say that the food at Manor Seafood Restaurant lived up to its reputation. It was lovely through and through, save for some misses but those were tiny in comparison to the masterpieces they conjured from the kitchen that night. Top marks go to the roasted sucking pig. Easily the best I had – the crispy skin was evenly balanced with the fragrant layer of fats. The chopped-up pig – everything from the rib to jowl to legs – were so fatteningly delicious, I felt like I was courting a cholestrol-laden death with multiple helpings of those.
Gold coin chicken (金錢雞)
And the story didn’t end here. You have to try the extra-large gold coin chicken (金錢雞). If you think McDonald’s Big Mac is unhealthy, you have to check out this baby. Layers of pork fat, roast pork, chicken liver and (I was told) a thin layer of taro. How on earth can this be made? Why are we not all dying from heart attack yet? I was dithering between having enough at one piece and an overwhelming urge to consume a second, I settled for one and a half piece.
Flower crab in hua diao Chinese wine.
And then there was this huge-ass flower crabs with giant claws swimming in some thick sauce that seems to give off a glowing, golden hue. The crab was nothing to write home about, but the sauce.. made of hua diao Chinese wine and egg yolk, it was beyond description. Some may find the wine a bit heavy handed, but I liked it with my pan fried rice noodles just fine. Most places would do this with egg white, but not Manor. Manor had to be the bad boy and do it with egg yolks.
Signature almond cream buns.
Also on the table for the night was their signature stir fried noodles (apparently cooked with chopstick hence the non-greasy finish), Chinese lettuce with shrimp paste, sizzling claypot oysters (which, to be honest, wasn’t as good as the ones at Pang’s Kitchen), and signature almond cream custard buns (which certainly was intriguing in a very good way).
Damn it, how much cholesterol did we consume that night?
Manor Seafood Restaurant
440 Jaffe Road