I had been to the Metropol Restaurant in Admiralty many years ago, but I felt it was just average, so I haven’t been back for a long time. A few weeks ago, we were out in Hong Kong Park on a sunny Saturday morning and suddenly were in the mood of Dim Sum. So we decided to re-visit the Metropol Restaurant again and just walked over the short distance through Pacific Place to the United Centre.
We arrived shortly after 11am and there were already a few patrons at the restaurant, but the massive big restaurant (it has room for almost 1,300 guests – can you imagine?!) was not even a quarter full yet. They gave us a table close to the entrance, and had a baby chair for Lina, which was great.
For the first 15-20 minutes, there were a few of the ladies with aprons pushing around trolleys loaded with hot dim sum. They were the usually dim sum ladies that you encounter in Hong Kong, not very friendly or smiling, a little annoyed that you ask them to lift the lids of the hot baskets, and then they are just quick to hand you your delicacies and stamp your card. Oh well, at least little Lina managed to catch one of two smiles of them…
Anyway, we picked a few dim sum that we could recognise, such as the shrimp dumpling har gau, the siu mai with pork and shrimp, some steamed vegetable, water chestnut and dried shrimp dumplings – and some rice noodle rolls filled with barbecued pork.
All the dumplings were hot and freshly prepared, they were pretty big and juicy – but overall the skins of the dumplings were quite tough and thick and the flavour was just average. It is a decent place for decent dim sum, but they are not spectacular – nothing that you will actually remember, they are just good to fill your stomach. That’s what Lina would agree with, she ate her fair share (probably half her bodyweight in dumplings!).
While we sat there and ate, the buffet in the middle of the restaurant suddenly awoke to life. Initially, there were just a few dishes on display there (the cold desserts), but then the waiters brought out a big array of dishes.
It was amazing to see – there was a whole section to fry turnip cakes, then next to it was the ‘pick and mix’ your own congee station.
Around the next corner was a lady just cooking all kinds of vegetables, while most of the dim sum baskets were now parked next to her (there were still a few trolleys out and about the big restaurant, but now the guests can just walk up to the centre of the restaurant and pick up the baskets from there).
Then around the next corner you could pick up century eggs, chicken feet, ox stomach, pig blood cubes and intestines – I am not sure which section was the most popular, there were people everywhere.
Next to all this meat dishes was a smaller tray, that included pumpkin pudding that looked a little like Creme Brulee with burnt sugar on top. I was intrigued by that dish, and picked it up – and it was actually very tasty. Nothing I had before, but basically steamed pumpkin at the centre, then some sago pearls mixed with custard cream. On top some burnt sugar cream, but just a little bit. Overall not too sweet and really well balanced – a Chinese dessert that I had never tried before and really need to go back to.
Talking about desserts, there was a big section that Lina just kept walking up to – she stood next to the glass, looking at all the colorful little cakes and bowls. She loved the little umbrellas and jellies, but she is still to small to understand what it actually is. So she was happy just to watch the different items, but didn’t want to try any. Let’s just wait a few more months, then she’ll know what it is and probably will demand it!
The ladies with the trolleys then brought out different ones – there was one only with fried dim sum, some sweet and others savoury (spring rolls etc.) and I also saw a trolley with cold cut meats – interesting. There is definitely plenty to choose from and while lots of people were eating there, it was still not too busy when we left around 12pm.
Would I go back there? Not sure, it is memorable in the sense that it is a huge restaurant and with plenty of choice – but I found the dim sum average, prices are not cheap either, and once the restaurant gets more busy, it will be so loud and crowded. So I doubt I’ll be back.
4/Floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway Road, Hong Kong
Tel: 2865 1988
Opening Hours: 8am to 12 midnight