A single dish can occasionally be enough to make it worthwhile to go to a restaurant. In the case of Happy Paradise, a contemporary Hong Kongstyle diner by award-winning chef May Chow and Aussie transplant John Javier, it is the deboned slow-cooked chicken, swimming in a luxurious broth of shitake mushroom, glutinous rice wine and Shaoxing wine, topped with a scattering of chrysanthemum flower petals. It’s a desert island dish, and an example of how Chow and Javier have mined classic and forgotten Cantonese recipes and given it a twist of their own, putting them at the forefront of modern Chinese cooking in Hong Kong. The drinks list is also different, with wines secondary to the exotic cocktail list, which includes easy options like the Bison Lemon Tea made with vodka, and more challenging Durian Painkiller, made with, for some, the gag-inducing fruit. The retro-inspired interiors, with its mosaic tiles and surround neon lighting, may not be to everyone’s taste either, but the place, like the music and flamboyant crowd, is upbeat and fun.
Happy Paradise’s scallop roll