VICTORIA CITY SEAFOOD
‘ISAAN-STYLE CHICKEN IS SO FIERCE THAT CROWDS GATHER TO WATCH YOU EAT. IT’S THE EDIBLE EQUIVALENT OF NIPPLE CLAMPS’
Unflattering lighting of industrial strength, hideous, overwrought décor and curt Cantonese service, in a restaurant halfway up a tower block. What’s not to love? I was first taken to Victoria
City Seafood (now known as the East Ocean Seaview Restaurant) by the late, great Sir David Tang, as he reckoned it one of the finest Cantonese places in Hong Kong. That’s some praise. I fell in lust with the steamed flower crabs, impossibly subtle and silken, in Chinese wine sauce, and whole lacquered chicken, cut into pieces and dipped in lemon juice and salt; classic slow-cooked pork, the skin brittle, the flesh softly seductive. Milky soups with noodle and spring onion, flawless dim sum, and steamed fish of sublime freshness. This is true Cantonese food, the best, most seasonal ingredients, allowed to shine.
One of the more memorable dinners (of many) was with another late great, Esquire’s
AA Gill, formerly of this parish, and historian David Starkey and publishing chairman Nicholas Coleridge. We were sitting in the private room picking on steamed clams and crab and lobster, when my wife, Sara, disagreed with something both Adrian and David were saying. About women, at a guess. And told them so, in no uncertain terms. Now these two men make a formidable, opinionated pair. Nick and I shrunk down in our seats. Even Tang went quiet. But Sara argued her point, eloquently and elegantly, and won. She then carried on taking apart her flower crab, albeit with the faintest of smiles. It will be odd going there
without David, but his spirit will dwell there still.
Esquire | April 2018