Rating: ★★

Address: Shop 211, 2/F, Melbourne Plaza,33 Queen’s Road Central, Central  中環皇后大道中33號萬邦行2樓211號舖

Telephone: 2810 5366

Tucked away on the second floor of Melbourne Plaza, Joy & Joy is a small and intimate Chinese restaurant that is still unknown to many people who work in Central. The proprietors of Joy & Joy also own the better-known Xia Fei Society on D’Aguilar Street, which serves delicious Shanghainese cuisine.

Food at Joy & Joy is not cheap, and the portions would be considered scanty by many diners, but the restaurant’s insistence on quality and taste has helped it maintain a loyal clientele over the years.

(1) I would highly recommend this steamed diced sea bass dumplings (深海鱸魚餃) ($30) to people who don’t like pork or shrimps, which are prevalent in Chinese dim sums. The sea bass inside the dumplings was tender and juicy, and even though the dumplings were bursting with flavours, they were light and not oily, which means that you would not be too full after eating them to try other dim sums.

(2) These steamed glutinous rice dumplings with pork (糯米燒賣) ($48) had beautifully sticky and chewy glutinous rice wrapped in a delicately thin sheet. Glutinous rice could be very filling sometimes, but this dim sum was not overwhelming at all, again demonstrating the kitchen’s resolutely high skills in producing Chinese dim sums.

(3) This poached pork dumplings in chilli sauce (紅油抄手) ($38), which is on the menu of many Chinese restaurants, is one of my favourite dim sums. Even in such a commonplace dish, Joy & Joy has managed to distinguish itself from the others: the chilli sauce was appropriately spicy, and the dumplings were glazed in a bit of honey, giving it a deliciously sweet touch. The aroma of the chilli sauce wafted through the air, and what impressed us the most was the pork in the dumplings which were succulent and chewy, unlike some lesser Chinese restaurants that would use tasteless, fatty minced pork in their dim sums.

(4) This barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒) ($128) is one of Joy & Joy’s signature dishes. The meat was exquisitely soft and tender, the meat juices were bursting with flavours, and I loved how thickly the pork was cut. Glazed in a heavenly layer of honey, this was definitely an impressive and timeless dish that no one should leave the restaurant without ordering.

(5) Other classics, such as the steamed minced sirloin ball (西冷牛肉球) ($30) and steamed barbecued pork bun (蠔皇叉燒包) ($30), did not disappoint either. The ingredients were fresh, and the seasoning was spot-on; we simply could not find any faults in them.

(6) I adored this tangy, crispy deep fried bean curd with salt & pepper (柒味荳腐) ($48). Gorgeously deep fried and covered in some black sesame, this bean curd was soft and silky on the side, and was full of fantastic soy flavours. The hint of Japanese spice powder on the surface completed this dish.

(7) Everyone who has tried this fried rice with black truffle, ginger & egg white(黑松露薑米蛋白炒飯) ($168) only had nice things to say about it. The black truffle taste was strong and enticing, and it went surprisingly well with the fried rice. The minced choy sum gave the fried rice some crunch, the deep fried baby shrimps added flavours to it, and the lightness of the egg white and the punchiness of ginger brought this marvellous dish together.

(8) What followed was this boiled Seasonal vegetable with thousand year egg & salted duck egg (金銀蛋浸時蔬) ($98). The broth was thick and delicious, the chunky thousand year eggs and salted duck eggs were scrumptious, and the pak choi was startlingly fresh. 

(9) Lastly, this baked bun with almond cream (雪山杏汁餐包) ($38) is what keeps me coming back to the restaurant. The divine layer of buttery crust, the extremely fluffy buns and magical almond cream filling, lovingly made everyday with fresh almonds, made this one of the best Chinese buns I have tried in Hong Kong. I learned the importance of using a knife after I had tried cutting the bun in half with a pair of chopsticks and failed miserably – as you can see in the photo below. What I was trying to do was to capture the almond cream filling of the bun in the photo. The filling had a creamy yet runny consistency, and it was incredibly thick, indulgent and lovable; I simply cannot get enough of these buns!

Having tried almost all the items on their menu by now, other dishes that I like are: deep fried kau fish with salt & pepper (椒鹽九肚魚) ($68), roasted eel with honey sauce (花蜜脆燒鱔) ($78), roasted duck with sweet bean sauce (醬燒琵琶鴨) ($78), sauteed diced fillet of beef with black pepper (黑椒牛柳) ($68) and roasted pork belly (脆皮燒腩仔) ($68).

Conclusion: The food at Joy & Joy is remarkably tasty and is always served fresh and piping hot. The service is keen and attentive, and the setting is sumptuous and sleek. Even though meals at Joy & Joy can get quite expensive, I will willingly pay these prices when the restaurant has so much to offer. I only hope that one day I will stop being addicted to their baked bun with almond cream (雪山杏汁餐包)!