Part of the trilogy of landmark new locations by Aqua Restaurant Group at Tai Kwun, The Chinese Library sits in the East Wing of the beautifully transformed 170-year-old colonial Central Police Headquarters building.
Conceived by Group founder David Yeo and brought to life by local design group AB Concept, the restaurant showcases Hong Kong’s favourite Chinese dishes drawn from the diverse regional Chinese cuisines which have gone to make up the city’s unique culinary heritage. The restaurant’s dishes range from Cantonese to Chiu Chow and Sichuan to Shanghainese, with the very traditional alongside some more inventive dishes enhanced with the unique contemporary twist that the Aqua Restaurant Group is famed for. All of it served in stunningly revitalized colonial surroundings.
“The restaurant is a salute to the different regional migrants from all over China and the contribution each region has made to the rich and colourful story of Hong Kong’s culinary history,’ said David Yeo. “At The Chinese Library people can enjoy a collection of different regional Chinese dishes which have become firm favourites in our unique city”.
Guests enter the first-floor restaurant by ascending the original grand iron-balustrade staircase, past soaring two-story circular windows. At reception, beautifully appointed plaques featuring backlit police badges guard the entrance, acting as a reminder of the building’s history.
The grand dining room with classic fittings and the original century-old wooden floors is the perfect setting for the rich tale of Hong Kong’s favourite Chinese cuisines to unfold.
The dining room is a tasteful blend of colonial and Oriental, with artful mood lighting that sets a tone of understated glamour. Jade coloured walls with ornate gold mirrors, backlit onyx screens and black and white antique Chinese marble table tops reimagine the glory of a bygone era.
Large colonial doors open to an expansive verandah overlooking the main courtyard of Tai Kwun, which offers a relaxed al fresco dining option, while another overlooks Hollywood Road on the other side and provides a more casual area for drinks, small plates and people watching.
The restaurant’s Chief “Librarian” Chef Junno Li Zhen Long has carefully curated a selection of Hong Kong’s best loved Chinese dishes and delivers them with both precision and flair.
His ‘foreword’ includes a much loved Cantonese delicacy – Chrysanthemum “Thousand Cut” silken tofu in chicken broth. Which replicates a chrysanthemum flower, the symbol of longevity in Chinese culture. Among other Cantonese favourites is the signature Crystal Century egg with gold leaf & preserved ginger, a true Hong Kong dish found in many of the city’s top Cantonese restaurants over the years.
Arguably one of Hong Kong’s most famous everyday dishes, char siu, is also on the menu, but here enhanced with premium ingredients as BBQ pork loin with New Zealand Manuka honey.
Shanghai cuisine has become almost as popular as Cantonese in Hong Kong, and the menu features many Shanghainese favourites, among them Shanghai Dragon Well tea smoked crystal river shrimp. The dish is born out of the rich and beautiful landscape of Hangzhou to the south of Shanghai and features tea leaves handpicked from the Longjing tea village close to Hanzghou’s West Lake. Longjing is considered one of the most prized tea plantations in China. Local prawns from the surrounding Zhejiang province and from Jiangsu, to the north, are chosen for their superior firm texture.
Another Shanghainese favourite – xiao long bao soup dumpling – receives a unique Singaporean twist, with spicy laksa soup housed inside the delicately pleated wrapper.
No selection of favourite Chinese dishes could possibly be complete without Peking duck, and The Chinese Library presents a premium whole Apple roasted 45-day Imperial Peking duck.
Hong Kong is known for its love of seafood and thus seafood delicacies feature prominently on the menu including a tongue-numbing Sichuan garoupa in chilli broth with glass noodles and the visually impressive Whole Macao sole, served off the bone with termite mushrooms.
Needless to say there is also a premium dim sum selection by Master Chef Kwong Wai Shing who oversees the kitchens at Aqua’s popular Dim Sum Library. This includes both traditional and black truffled versions of har gao, as well as siu mai enhanced with black garlic
The Chinese Library is part of a trilogy of three landmark new spaces which together evoke the story of Hong Kong’s colourful history, alongside British restaurant, Statement, and an atmospheric lounge and bar, The Dispensary.
The stunning spaces occupy the whole floor, an expansive 7,500 sq foot, of the grand Police Headquarters Block and features the original spacious colonial style verandahs and original wooden floors.
The Chinese Library commences its first chapter in September, delivering the best loved dishes from the various Chinese cuisines that were brought to Hong Kong by the different waves of migrants who have made Hong Kong such a vibrant and successful city.
Address & Booking Information:
Tai Kwun, East Wing, 1/F Headquarters Block, Central Police Station, N.10 Hollywood road, Central
T 2848 3088|www.chineselibrary.com.hk | FB @thechineselibrary| IG @thechineselibrary