Another new opening from Pirata Group, Madame Ching is a contemporary Chinese restaurant and roast house that’s great for a night out with your partner
District: Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Contemporary Chinese
How much: Dishes range from $75 to $210
Must Order: General Son’s Chicken
The Best For: A lively group dinner or special date night
Sassy Tip: Waiting for a table? Madame Ching’s no reservation policy may mean you can’t get seated immediately, so head out back to the cute and chic terrace to enjoy a cocktail before your meal.
Hot on the tails of newly opened Chifa, the second new restaurant from Pirata Group this month comes in the form of Madame Ching. With its cool and contemporary approach to Chinese cuisine, this Star Street spot is sure to bring in the crowds.
First impressions go a long way, and much like other Pirata Group restos, Madame Ching hits the nail on the head when it comes to décor, ambience and service. The casual, cosy space is dimly lit, with retro touches, vintage black and white photographs and old school HK trinkets found throughout, along with an open window to the kitchen, allowing diners a glance of the roasted meats they’re about to tuck into.
We started our meal on a high, with three of my favourite dishes of the night: Sesame Prawn Toast ($110), General Son’s Chicken ($95) and Hamachi Crudo ($120). All three dishes were delicious, with the Hamachi doused in a sweet and sour sauce, and the red shiso giving a mild, yet lingering touch of spice. The prawn toast was also a tasty start to the meal, created using milk bread, the pieces were an indulgent and elevated take on the classic dish. A highlight of mine was General Son’s Chicken; as I’m always a sucker for crispy fried chicken, this was a must-try for me. The sauce was sticky, sweet and just spicy enough, with the sansho pepper giving a lip-tinglingly good flavour. My favourite cocktail on the menu, the Sleepy Dragon ($90), came in handy here to refresh my palate in between the plates. A delicious concoction of coconut infused Plantation 3 Stars Rum, burned orange and vanilla syrup and ginger beer, it ticked all the boxes for me, and was elegantly presented in an ornate, Chinese-inspired cup, complete with a purple paper straw.
As a modern Chinese restaurant and roast house, it would be rude to pay a visit to Madame Ching and not sample some of its barbecue roast meats. If you’re hard pushed to choose just one, opt for the Mixed Platter ($210) which allows you to choose the three that take your fancy. We opted for the pork belly, char siu and roasted duck, but there are also char siu ribs on the menu, along with a special roast of the day, and all are served accompanied by assorted pickles and homemade condiments to cut through the rich flavours of the meats. All three were juicy and tender, but I would have liked the duck skin to be just a little crispier. We also went for a range of side dishes to compliment the roasted meats, ordering the Roast Cauliflower ($85), Dan Dan Noodles ($75) and Egg Fried Rice ($95). I’m a huge fan of roasted cauliflower, but found the offering to be a little bland, although the dan dan noodles and fried rice made up for this slight dip in flavour. Although not a typical dan dan – I was expecting more peanut flavour and heat from the dish – I loved the addition of pulled pork. The egg fried rice really stood out here as well, the generous portion was loaded with burnt ends of roasted meats, along with crispy garlic, spring onions and more to give a great mix of flavours and textures.
Before moving onto dessert, we also had to try the Cantonese Cuban ($90). A fun take on the classic sandwich, Madame Ching’s rendition uses Youtiao (fried Chinese dough) as the bread, and fills it with pulled pork, spring onion jam, pickles and mustard. Some may find this to be a little on the greasy side, but as a fan of a Cubano, I enjoyed the playful addition to the menu, with the Youtiao staying nice and crisp, loaded with juicy meat and pickles.
A good meal is not complete without dessert, and Madame Ching offers up just two for diners to choose from. At opposite ends of the spectrum, the “Tofu Fa” ($48) is light, fresh and more traditionally Chinese, whilst the Ovaltine Custard ($48) is rich and indulgent (my kind of dessert). Made up of tofu, ginseng jelly, crushed ice and ginger syrup, the Tofu Fa may not be to everyone’s taste, but I enjoyed it much more than expected, and found it to be a fittingly light end to the meal. That being said, I couldn’t get enough of the Ovaltine Custard. A modern riff on the sweet cake found in dim sum houses city-wide, the steamed sponge was laced with Ovaltine, and served with the most luscious Ovaltine custard.
As with many Pirata Group restaurants, Madame Ching offers a tasting menu (Ching’s Banquet Menu) for $320 per person. Complete with a selection of favourite dishes from each section of the menu, you’ll get the best of everything and are almost guaranteed to not come away hungry. Couple this with the restaurants relaxed ambience, cool interiors and top-notch food, and you’ll be in for a great meal, whenever you choose to visit.
Madame Ching, 5 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.madameching.hk