Address: Basement, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central 中環德輔道中4-4A號渣打銀行大廈地庫
Telephone: 2885 8688
With so many restaurants opening up in Hong Kong every month, I often only get to visit each restaurant once or twice before I move on to newer ones, but ever since I visited Mott 32 for the first time, I can’t help coming back.
The restaurant is a collaboration by dining group Maximal Concepts and award-winning architect Joyce Wang, and principally serves Cantonese dishes with some Sichuan and Beijing signatures. It is named after 32 Mott Street in New York, which was NYC’s first Chinese convenience store that opened in 1851 and was the nucleus for what has now become Chinatown. The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Fung, who previously worked at Michelin 2-starred Dynasty restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel.
Even though the restaurant is located in the basement of a building, this large, 7,500 square foot space is incredibly stylish. There is a spacious central dining area, a sleek bar on the side and other small, separate dining areas. Dramatic Chinese vases, wooden cabinets and eclectic antique adornments complete its whimsical, Oriental-meets-New York industrial chic setting.
(1) We start off with the dim sums. The restaurant offers traditional as well as re-invented Chinese dishes, and the Kurobuta pork, soft quail egg and black truffle siu mai belongs in the latter category. It is a fabulous sensation to bite into the raw-middled quail egg in the centre of the siu mai, and the black truffle paste leaves a delicious lingering aftertaste.
(2) Next, the prawn and crispy rice paper cheung fun is served piping hot and tastes impressive. The prawn is fresh and bouncy, and forms a great contrast with the crispy rice paper.
(3) The barbecue prime Iberico pork with Yellow Mountain honey is one of the most popular dishes of the restaurant. The pork is startlingly tender, soft and juicy, and the honey glaze is sweet and appealing.
(4) The signature crispy sugar coated BBQ Spanish Teruel pork bun will surely lift your spirits! The outer layer is airy and crispy, and the filling inside is well adjusted.
(5) The black cod and fresh dill spring roll follows. It is the first time I try a fish spring roll, and I like it! The black cod is smooth and has an attractive fatty taste, and match perfectly with the Worcestershire sauce for dipping.
(6) The most anticipated dish is the apple wood roasted Peking Duck, which has been prepared in the restaurant’s special air-drying duck fridge and custom-made industrial duck oven. Normally the Peking Duck is only available for dinner and by pre-order only, but as this is a media tasting we are able to enjoy this dish at lunch.
I have been told by Beijingers that the best Peking Duck pancakes are paper thin. Many restaurants in Hong Kong offer a decent enough roasted duck, but the accompanying pancakes are thick and floury. These ones at Mott 32, however, are incredibly delicate and thin.
The Peking Duck is carved table side by a skilled chef, into a precise number of slices.
The duck is served 3 ways, just like they do at Sha Tin 18, which is my other favourite Peking Duck restaurant in Hong Kong. As I mentioned in my review on Sha Tin 18, this 3-way eating method has only become popular in recent years thanks to nouveau Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing such as Da Dong.
Firstly, the skin from the underbelly of the duck is dipped in sugar and eaten on its own – the skin instantly melts in the mouth and tastes explosively fatty and delectable. Secondly, the carved slices of legs with a thin layer of skin is dipped into a garlic sauce and a dark sauce. Thirdly, the lean duck meat is wrapped with the pancakes.
I have visited Mott 32 a number of times, and the dim sums and other dishes are always consistently good; it is also fair to say that the Peking Duck here is one of the best in Hong Kong. Lunch typically sets you back around $400-$500 per head, but dinner can be notably more expensive, and costs around $800 or above per head. Do come for dinner if you are keen to try their Peking Duck or are looking for a sleek venue to enjoy a Chinese fine dining meal, but otherwise, a lunchtime visit may offer you better value for money.