Sassy Food Blogger Michelle of Chopstixfix heads to a new Hong Kong late-night dining hotspot, Loyal Dining, to check out if they can really tackle quintessential Cha Chaan Teng dishes and compete with the might of neighbouring Tsui Wah…Hong Kong’s past is eclectic, its cuisine colourful and influenced by the different cultures and backgrounds of the people who’ve passed through over the years. Harking back to the ’60s and ’70s, when the place we now call ‘home’ was still under colonial influence, there was a noticeable improvement in the standard of living for the locals, and also a surge of expats. Imported Western food became hugely popular and sought after, and that was how the East-meets-West, Hong Kong-style Western cuisine was born.
Hong-Kong Western-style food is brilliant. I love it. When I first moved here, I was a bit dubious about the whole ‘baked-pork-chop-with-rice-thing’, but once I tried some of these Western-influenced dishes there was no turning back.
Named after imported Western goods, or “Loi Lo”, (pronounced “Loyal” in English), which became popular in Hong Kong, Loyal Dining, the new ‘old-school’ kid on the block, has stationed itself on Wellington Street, practically opposite my favourite post-clubbing eatery Tsui Wah. Now, while I strongly believe that nowhere else does my spam and fried egg instant noodles in quite the same way, Loyal Dining is a welcome sight for an alternate venue for a 4am snack or three. Serving old school favourites, such as Beef Wellington, Baked Lobster and Seafood with Fried Rice, Loyal Dining also offers afternoon tea snacks and after-hours dim sum between 10pm and 2am. I’m unsure whether this late-night offering is a novel idea or an attempt to set itself apart from other similar establishments like Tai Ping Koon, but at least I can go for emergency siu mai.
The restaurant sprawls over four floors and is all shiny, warm brown hues and retro decor. It’s quite nostalgic and you do feel that you’ve been flung back to the 1960s.
isI started off by ordering the Baked Pork Chop with Fried Rice. There was a nice sunny side-up egg resting on top, which I smashed with glee. The runny egg yolk was scrumptious with the rice which was excellently prepared and came with a generous amount of half tangy, half sweet sauce. The pork chop itself was a little bland and lacked ‘meatiness’, but overall, it was a satisfying dish.
My friend had the signature “66 Beef Wellington”. It arrived with flair on a sizzling hot plate, the waiter placing it in front of us with gusto, almost as if he walked in from the kitchen amidst a fanfare of trumpets. The Beef Wellington is prepared by taking a fillet of Angus beef, covering it with a thin layer of foie gras paté and then wrapping it with a light, buttery pastry, before it is baked and presented on the hot plate with a vegetable medley and a jacket potato. It comes with a sauce of your choice — either gravy, black pepper sauce or garlic sauce. My friend commented that the pastry was good, but the texture of the beef was soft and more akin to burger meat, rather than the full meatiness that one would expect with a fillet.
To end, out of greed and curiosity, I ordered the thick toast with condensed milk. One can’t really go wrong with this snack, and as delicious as the thick, perfectly toasted bread, smothered with condensed milk was, I still prefer Tsui Wah’s.
I didn’t get a chance to try a bigger selection of the dishes Loyal Dining offers, but, on perusing the menu, it’s clear that this establishment has something for everyone. The food still needs a bit of fine-tuning, but if you’re unfamiliar with Hong Kong western-style food, this is a fun place for first introductions to this quirky mishmash of cuisines.
Loyal Dining 66 Wellington Street, Central