Rùn: Respectful renditions of classic Cantonese
06 Sep 2019
Address 2/F, St. Regis Hong Kong, One Harbour Drive, Hong Kong
Hong Kong may be home to some of the world’s best restaurants, but it’s no secret that nobody does Cantonese food quite like we do here. And newly opened Rùn, St. Regis Hong Kong’s signature Cantonese restaurant, shows us how it’s done when it comes to contemporary and elevated regional classics.
Chef Hung in his element
The elegant restaurant is helmed by Hong Kong-born-and-bred chef Hung Chi-Kwong, who has amassed over a quarter of a century’s experience at some of the city’s best Cantonese restaurants: he was previously executive chef of Mandarin Oriental’s Michelin-starred Man Wah, and, before that, chef de cuisine at Cuisine Cuisine [ed: try saying that quickly three times].
Tea Master Chan doing her thing
Hung’s mastery of traditional Cantonese techniques fused with contemporary innovations is on full display in the all-new eight-course tasting menu ($1938). For an extra $400, you can pair the dishes with various cold brew teas from the restaurant’s impressive selection, each of which is infused with flavoured alcohol prepared by in-house Tea Master Kezia Chan, an expert in Chinese cuisine and tea with nearly 25 years’ experience.
The appetister plate was a deliightful way to start the tea pairing journey
The menu starts on a high, with an appetiser tasting plate featuring Chef Hung’s signature trio roasted crispy suckling pig, baked diced Wagyu beef puff with black pepper sauce and Chinese marinated foie gras paired with champagne-infused cold-brewed dan song red tea. The dish showcases a wide range of textures: the pork was audibly crispy on the outside while remaining tender on the inside, and the beef puff was flaky and flavourful. The perfectly seared foie gras was really interesting as well, even if the flavours here were a bit more subdued. The dan song tea (mainly produced in Guangdong province) mixed with champagne was light and sweet, a good starter drink that perfectly complemented the appetisers.
The first main of steamed garoupa looked stunning, but was a little one-dimensional
The mains were also serviceable. The steamed spotted garoupa fillet with konjac and pickle chilli definitely had a nice kick to it, with the konjac noodles a great foil for the fish. However, we wanted a little more from the fish, which was fresh but a little one-dimensional as it was only dressed in the chilli. The paired cold-brewed wuxi shui sin tea with lily and orange peel was refreshing but didn’t really add anything to the palate overall.
The simmered tiger prawn in crab roe sauce also left us a little wanting
The simmered tiger prawn in crab roe sauce was well prepared but could have been better balanced. The sauce was very flavour-forward but there was too much of it on the plate, and while the prawn was perfectly cooked, its natural flavours were overpowered by the roe. The grapefruit-flavoured vodka cold-brew tea made from five different types of flowers was interesting, but perhaps a little over-the-top as we really couldn’t tell the floral nodes apart.
The wok-fried wagyu was a standout
Of the mains, the wok-fried Wagyu beef with garlic was the star of the show. The temperature was spot-on, retaining that melt-in-the-mouth quality and just brimming with flavour, including a generous amount of garlic. It paired beautifully with the chardonnay-infused cold-brewed butterfly pea flower tea with pear barley, balancing the rich flavours of the dish without detracting from its flavour profile.
The chilled pink guava cream with sago was as delightful as it looks
Chilled pink guava cream with sago, coconut jelly, baked purple sweet potato puff and rose was the perfect ending to the tasting menu. It’s light and refreshing, fit for the summer heat. Enhancing the sweetness of the dish was the sake-infused puerh tea with tangerine peel and mixed fruits.
Rùn’s contemporary take on traditional Cantonese cuisine is impressive but not revolutionary by any means - not that that’s a bad thing, though. Chef Hung is clearly a master of Cantonese cuisine, and we loved his treatment of the classics by elevating the flavours in a contemporary way while maintaining respect for culinary traditions. However, some of the flavours could have been a little better balanced. The alcohol-infused cold brew tea, meanwhile, complemented the dishes really well - a testament to Tea Master Chan’s expertise. The menu overall just goes to show that even in its home city, there’s always room for reimagining classic cuisine.
An interesting re-imagining of the Cantonese dining experience.