Tucked away on the corner of Wellington Street lies 1935, a contemporary Sichuan-Canton restaurant. Named after the birth year of the founder’s grandmother –a renowned master chef in Sichuan – the restaurant is a tribute to her signature Canton and Sichuan cooking techniques and her gastronomical adventure.
Located on the 19th floor of Wellington Place, diners will be immediately welcomed with floor-to-ceiling sweeping views of the city. A warm and welcoming ambience is met with an air of unassuming sophistication.
The Art Deco-inspired interior boasts hues of royal blue and white with wooden décor and a touch of metallic, reminiscent of the grandmother’s home. While the seats were inspired by her train journey to Hong Kong, the Artisan-made pendants diffuse soft lights and create the perfect setting for an intimate dinner with family or friends.
At the quaint but cosy bar, we were treated to some signature cocktails, carefully curated with local ingredients. Named after the beautiful Sichuan village of Danba, the light and refreshingly sweet Danba Garze is comprised of gin, elderflower, lemongrass, lemon and fruit tea. Subtle and smooth, the lemongrass marries perfectly with the gin and fruit tea.
Second up, the Japanese-inspired Yomeishu, complete with tangerine peel infused gin, goji berry, lemon, apple, egg white and osmanthus, a yellow-gold flower native to Southern China. The tangy bitterness of the orange peel contrasts perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the goji berry and apple. I immediately scribble the cocktail down on my ever-growing “must-have cocktails” list.
As we moved over to our plush table, I was initially overwhelmed by the wide variety of dishes on the menu. The biggest conundrum of all – it all sounds delicious! Luckily though, we had general manager, Mitchel, on hand to offer us his recommendations.
Up first was the Chilled cucumber bites covered in delicious balsamic vinegar. Though traditionally this dish would be served with Chinese vinegar, the cool and refreshing cucumber was a welcome addition alongside the sweet-tart hints of balsamic vinegar.
The Chilled Chicken with truffle and coriander was a delightful contemporary surprise but for those that prefer their food spicy, the pork-filled Poached Homemade Wontons are the perfect pick. Made with grandma’s very own recipe, the dish follows the Sichuan cooking style with a spicy and slightly numbing taste.
Moving on, we tucked into the Shanghainese-style Branzino Fish. The fish was delicate and mild while the sauce made of vinegar, soy sauce and Chinese wine, left me hankering for more. This was by far, one of the standout dishes of the night.
Around this time, I was ready for another tipple and opted for the Carnation Says. Spotted in the hand of sundry diners, I came to the conclusion that this was one libation not to be missed. And true to form, it didn’t disappoint. Made with gin, umeshu, yuzu, sake, lime and ginger beer, this tasty tipple was fruity and fresh, not to mention distinctive.
To mark the last of our savoury dishes, we were treated to a traditional Sichuan favourite – Wok fried free-range chicken with cashew nuts and Sichuan dried chilli. This dish oozed a plethora of flavours thanks to three different types of chilli peppers – traditional dried red chilli, (orange) king of chillies and peppercorns. The crunchy texture of the nut against the mouth-wateringly spiced chicken was simply mind blowing (and equally tongue numbing!)
The pièce de résistance was served to us in the form of a contemporary take on Sichuan iced jelly. A strawberry enclosed in a barely sweet jelly was served alongside dried hawthorn and raisins with a serving of homemade lemongrass syrup. Traditionally this heavy but cooling dessert is served after a spicy meal and though the modern take is lighter in texture, it confidently cools down the palate while leaving a suitably sweet aftertaste in the mouth.
Whether looking to impress a date or planning a family-friendly gathering, 1935 hits the nail on the head with ambience, customer service and of course, tantalising cuisine. What’s more, the dishes contain no-artificial flavouring. No MSG and incredible flavours – this hidden gem is definitely somewhere I will be returning to, and this time with a group of friends in tow.
Price: Average spend of HK$200-$400
Where: 1935, 19/F, M88, Wellington Place, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central
Book: Visit Facebook or call (852) 2156 1935
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Hira is a British freelance lifestyle, food & travel writer currently living her best life in Hong Kong and blogging about her experiences here