Us locusts don’t usually find ourselves at Hysan Place for lunch on weekends, despite that we do happen to be in Causeway Bay quite often. It is just way too busy for our liking and you often have to wait for tables. This day, though, we happened to be at eslite around lunch and decided to have lunch at Ming Bistro.
It is said that Ming Bistro is run by the second generation of the family behind the restaurant chain Ming Garden (名苑酒家), which I know absolutely nothing about. Except for the opinion that the chain feels old and unattractive.
The same could not be said of Ming Bistro. Decorated in pastel shades of blue and green, this mid-sized bistro felt anything but old. The huge windows let in plenty of sunlight and the window-side seats offer rather nice city view. As is almost standard for such dimsum restaurants nowadays, you order by ticking on an order sheet.
Some say that the food here is “innovative”, but I didn’t quite get that sense from our lunch here. The only interesting thing I found was how they served their homemade soymilk: in an inverted giant lightbulb. The screw part had a hole at the top where one would insert the straw. Interesting and fun to see, but the soymilk itself was mediocre. The interesting design did nothing for the flavor (of course) and had put me in constant fear of tipping it over. It was also inconvenient to drink from, given how small the opening was, and I would imagine this container would be more difficult to clean than your average glass.
The Chinkiang Crystal Pork Belly ($42) was a slight disappointment when it arrived. The photo in the menu showed it to be thinly sliced and I was curious to how that would work out in reality. The actual dish was in cubes and tasted quite normal. Not particularly interesting or excellent. Just normal.
Jellyfish with aged vinegar ($58). The jellyfish was crunchy and crisp, but in a soft way, just as it should be. The vinegar was mellow and less pungent than I expected. In general a very decent dish.
The BBQ pork ($68) looked mediocre but turned out to be among the better ones I’ve had. Could be purely down to luck, but ours was tender and flavoursome, with some burnt bits to spike it just a little more, yet not too sweet. Yum.
The picked cucumber with aged vinegar ($38), however, left much to be desired. The Chinese name of the dish implies that the cucumber should be “slapped” (actually lightly crushed). That is not only for loosing up the texture but also for better uptake of flavours. The version served here, however, was not done properly. As a result, the cucumber was way too firm and the dressing superficial. Rather disappointing.
The mini dumpings ($52), or xiaolungbao, were OK. Some soup in there and served hot. Not much to complain or talk about, but this wasn’t particularly impressive either.
We ordered the steamed rice with minced pork, dried scallops and mushrooms ($42) for the sake of carbs. It looked rather small when it arrived, but looks are deceiving. The container (?) actually is quite deep. One minor complaint for this steamed rice is that I’d prefer a bit more sauce to go with it, but that wasn’t a deal-breaker. The dried scallops / conpoy were, naturally, not of the highest quality. But what can one expect at this price, anyway?
Overall a satisfying lunch, especially with the very nice window-side seats. Not expensive, as well, at ~$220 per head.
tl;dr: Decent restaurant with nice window seats. Not too expensive. Nice.