Quite often, I was rejected, with a passion, by the ladies with my dining proposals. "The food is great but the toilet bloody awful (D野食好味，但係個廁所好鬼污糟), " they always say vociferously.
Right. I see. But what exactly is wrong with a restaurant with an awful loo? A washroom, where people drop their pee pee and poo poo, is destined to be awful. Check that out with your own excrement and tell me it isn't.
Anyway, not to be taken as a laggard, I set to begin my search for the best restaurant WC in town from a woman's point of view:
Lilac wall paint, check.
Lullaby at play, check.
Stockings-friendly round-shaped bowl, check.
Fresh roses from Holland by the sink, check.
Door handles that don't break nails, check.
Velvety paper towel that wipes arse as gently as silk clothes, all check.
"But you forget a dry floor to lay down my Pilate mat," they add.
What. A. Pile. Of. Shi*.
Apparently, the search is getting me nowhere. The ladies are insatiable. I'd better call this thankless task off before I could ever tamed their jaded palate with a restroom on another planet in our solar system or I dejectedly died of old age, whichever is sooner.
But really and truly, when was the last time you find people dine IN a WC? And since when had we place the importance of the end of meal higher than the meal itself? Yes, fancy bathroom is always a bonus to all we food lovers; but is the lack of it in a big minus in any sort of way?
Unfortunately, the ladies won't understand, nor care about this. So, with a fruitful search for the most gorgeous restaurant toilet in town doomed an impossibility, I must turn my attention to other easier alternatives. And this brings me neatly to designer chic places like the South Beauty 俏江南 in Causeway Bay.
Holy mother Mary and sweet Jesus. It's really a humongous beauty to behold. The ostentatious chandeliers on top, the cushioned chairs, great views of the outside world as well as the culinary sorcery inside the kitchen; and the sky-high ceilings. The latter is no wonder once you knew this place was a theatre before the multiplying South Beauty franchaise from PRC segued it finely into an oversized modern Chinese restaurant. Now, beauty beyond...
The kitchen is swift. An array of appetizers arrived shortly after we got settle down. Spicy chicken juliennes and jelly green bean rolls was followed by spicy fish skins. The piquancy of the tenuous two did a well job to wake up our palate.
The Salad Shake and Roll was a great show. The ladies loved it. They appreciated the creativity. They love the waitress's mandarin chanting to the shake-shake. They loved this salad because it makes Nigella Lawson's old school salad-tossing endeavor look plain silly. Men thought someone in the kitchen was taking a French leave.
The idiosyncrastic "hanging" cold ham (rump portion) enraptured the ladies. So far as I could tell, it reminded them the Marin Margiela collection they wanted so badly last season. The cut was lean and unblemished; espoused nicely with the garlicky and spicy emulsion that came along.
Platter of Four was a filler in between, but a great one notwithstanding to coursed through from starters to the lineup of mains. The smoked fish and fresh wild yam in particular were exceptionally well done. The award-winning sweet and sour fried fish followed was spectacular. Freshwater fish carved and fried with dexterity to suggest blossoming flowers -- which explained why the Chinese name of it says chrysanthemum fish with honey jus -- was an ode to Spring. An excess of tenderness and moisture.
The Dongpo trotter, a faithful reincarnation of the dongpo pork, was gracefully opulent. One of the best I've had in years. It was an unleash of all the flavors we knew. The whole piece was simply ephemeral. The skin outside was creamy and rich; adding a nice contrast to the lean and juicy pork it enshrouded.
Spicy crispy duck breast was a bit dry but flavorful nonetheless while the sesame pancake with pork belly was excellent -- if you can stand the fat. We went light on the dessert and ordered only the steamed taro dumplings with red beans. The flavor of taro was pleasantly muted, allowing the sweetness of red beans come to the fore. A stellar finale for the whole theatrical dining experience.
Before we took off, the ladies went to the loo and came back smiling from ear to ear. "The powder room is funny. We almost miss it because of the puckish sliding door."
Is it funny to miss the loo when you really need one? Argh, how would I know? I'm just a dirty man who wants to eat good.
South Beauty 俏江南
Address: 5/F, Lee Theatre, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 1130 am to 1130pm
Services: Very good with English menu
Seats: Over 300
Fare: HK$200 to HK$500 (with seafood deluxe or not)