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SHEX Reviews: Loonfung House

 

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Sonia Su

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SHEX Reviews

Located inside a beautiful courtyard off Julu Road is the extravagant, traditional Cantonese-style restaurant Loonfung House, serving mostly Hong Kong cuisine. But the ‘house’ in this restaurant’s name is quite an understatement, as the mansion-like space includes three floors of dining areas and a roomy balcony overlooking the courtyard.

Owner Xu Zhenzhong opened the restaurant on Julu Road on September 29, 2013, just months after opening its first location on East Mengzi Road, General Manager Philip Ng told me.

On a recent weekday afternoon visit, I tried the dim sum dishes that Philip said are favorites among foreigners, who mainly visit the restaurant on weekends when it’s open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or dinner from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Lunch is shortened to 2 p.m. on weekdays.

I started off with a refreshing iced milk tea (20 RMB), a deliciously light drink that is not very sweet—fitting for all ages and especially when seated outside on the balcony under a sunny yet cool May day.

Next came the popular honey BBQ pork puff (19 RMB), a slightly chewy pastry with tasty, warm filling. Have a drink and wet towel on hand, though, as it can get messy trying to eat this.

One of the most famous Cantonese dim sum dishes is the crystal dumplings with shrimp (32 RMB), served with a side of red vinegar sauce. Not all, however, are as plump with shrimp as Loonfung’s. Two big bites should do the job.

Not everything on the extensive menu fits under Hong Kong cuisine. In fact, among the Shanghai-style appetizers is a new dish that has not even been added to the menu yet. Philip introduced a dish he translated as South African wheatgrass, a surprisingly light dish drizzled in a light and sweet peanut butter sauce. Philip owed the addition to the fact that many Shanghai restaurants offer a similar dish.

I finished off my filling meal with a sweetened pomelo and mango with sago in mango purée (27 RMB). An excellent refreshing dessert for a warm day, it was paired with a deep-fried crispy durian cake. If you don’t dare to try such an infamous fruit, feel free to switch it out with something else, such as the popular pan-fried sticky rice powder wrapped with almond and coconut.

Return for dinner for larger, family-style dishes, including the spicy crab topped with mashed garlic, Hong Kong-style (258 RMB), stir-fried sliced turbot fish on a bed of crispy bone of turbot (185 RMB) and pan-fried prawns in megi sauce (118 RMB). You are also free to order these dishes for lunch.

In addition to the popular favorites such as traditional sweet and sour pork (55 RMB) and pan-fried lotus roots stuffed with preserved sausages and pork meat (65 RMB), Loonfung House also offers the classic stewed chicken feet in brown sauce (49 RMB). For those who have never tried chicken feet, prepare for a chewy, slimy texture.

At about 2 p.m., wait staff began clearing tables, as lunch service had ended and dinner resumes at 5 p.m.

If you’re looking to make a trip, Philip recommended making a reservation by phone (the restaurant has no website or email address). Otherwise, numbers are given out to accommodate drop-ins and canceled or no-show reservations. For larger parties, ask for one of the small, medium or large VIP rooms on the second and third floors—where I thought what was even more impressive than the lavish chandeliers, red carpeted staircases and golden décor were the touchless sensors that open the doors to these rooms.

Shanghai Expat says:

Location: Located in building 7-8 on 889 Julu Road (near Changshu Road), Loonfung House’s second location is a short walk from the Jing’an Temple metro station. The first location, at 75 East Mengzi Road, near Mengzi Road, is about a five-minute walk from the Madang Road metro station. 8/10

Food and menu: Those looking for authentic Hong Kong cuisine will not be disappointed, but those unfamiliar with Cantonese food may find the extensive menu overwhelming. 8/10

Environment: Decadent décor, three floors, a balcony overlooking a peaceful courtyard and VIP rooms accommodate parties of any kind and size. 9/10

Value for money: For lunch, expect to spend about 150 RMB for two people. Dinner may cost at least double, depending on the number of guests. 7/10

Find Loonfung House in our listings.

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