Deng G, Chengdu Bistro & Baijiu Bar, opened in Hong Kong in September. The restaurant occupies two floors on Queen’s Road West in the increasingly popular Wan Chai restaurant district.
The restaurant concept combines Sichuan cuisine with a Baijiu bar, and is a collaboration between Chef Deng and Elite Concepts, which also lays claim to restaurants including ye Shanghai and QMO.
Situated over two floors, the downstairs area is the dedicated Baijiu Bar area, serving a selection of Chinese baijiu and baijiu cocktails (with a bar snack menu), while upstairs is the main dining venue with three large private rooms.
The décor is inspired by Chengdu’s legendary bamboo forests, with tasteful references throughout in the form of wallpaper, screens and sculptures, while warm lighting and leather furniture combine to create a cosy atmosphere.
The Sichuan menu is divided into flavour profiles, such as “sweet and sour”, or “mala” (spicy and numbing), with chilli icons to denote the level of fire power in the dish.
Dining with a large group allowed us to sample a wide selection of dishes, focusing on chef recommendations. From the starter menu, this included excellent vegetarian options such as roasted eggplant with red chilli (HK$60/US$8) and okra in ginger sauce (HK$70/US$9) – both full of flavour and not too oily.
The seafood dishes were my favourite. The standout was the signature crispy fish in spicy sauce under the “Sweet & Sour Taste” section of the menu. The sauce was fantastic, with a sweet tang and a hint of spice, while the crispy outer layer of the fish and tender, meaty flesh were a perfect combination (HK$328/US$42).
The “Yu Xiang” prawns were another hit – succulent with a meaty texture and a slight hint of heat (HK$198/US$25). The squid was perfectly cooked, with a great texture, though the flavour was rather too subtle – likewise for the “Home style” dry braised fish maw (HK$480/US$62).
The meat dishes were rather more hit and miss, a high note being the “Lychee Taste” Kung Pao chicken – a classic Sichuan dish, and in ways a barometer for the overall quality of a restaurant’s food offerings. Great flavours with a slimy-in-a-good-way texture and a hint of chilli. Though, I was expecting a much more powerful kick (HK$110/US$14).
On the other hand, the “Wula taste” campher smoked duck was a bit dry and lacking in imagination, the crispy beef was rather chewy and almost overpowered by the ginger garnish, and finally the pork dumplings were rather unbalanced – too much pastry for the outer layer, and not enough filling – which was also lacking in flavour.
A cool new addition to Wan Chai’s dining scene, with a cosy vibe for after-work baijiu cocktails. The cuisine had authentic, clean flavours, but was a bit hit and miss, and overall lacked the firepower typically associated with Sichuan cuisine.
OPENING HOURS: Mon-Sun, 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm
CONTACT: 2/F, 147 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong; +852 2609 2328; elite-concepts.com