For those looking for a way to spice up their dinners, look no further than Qi, which with its new branch Qi – Nine Dragons, has expanded from Wan Chai to cross the harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui.
Located on the top floor of Prince Tower on Peking Road, the restaurant has a fantastic view overlooking Wan Chai all the way to Western district – if only that pesky One Peking Road tower wasn’t in the way.
When we arrived at 6pm, the hostess wasn’t at her station and a waiter walked right past us as if we didn’t exist. That was soon remedied, but it was an awkward start.
The menu is all about Sichuan cuisine – chillies, chillies and more chillies. There are a few non-spicy items for a bit of respite from the heat, such as smashed cucumber (HK$55) with a lot of minced garlic mixed in with vinegar, and we liked the eggplant salad (HK$60) with a kind of hoisin sauce and garnished with coriander.
The flaky scallion pancake (HK$55) was on the oily side, but we still liked the lightness of it.
A signature dish is the braised mandarin fish fillets in chilli oil soup (HK$200 small, HK$300 large). The iron pot was a pond of red, and chock full of ingredients, including bean sprouts, mung bean noodles, spring onions, garlic and mushrooms. While the fish fillets were tender and very spicy with a mala numbness, some had odd small bones, which means you need to eat it carefully.
Another signature dish is the sugar-glazed ginger scallion chicken (HK$160). Chicken fillets were breaded, seasoned and deep-fried before being drizzled with chilli oil. We liked the sweetness, which added another dimension to the taste.
However, we were disappointed by the cumin lamb with roasted chilli (HK$260). It was made in a similar way to the chicken dish, but we couldn’t taste much of the cumin or the lamb.
We tried to cool down our mouths with two mocktails, Sichuan Cooler (HK$45), with lychee and Yakult mixed with Sprite, and Yuzu Cooler (HK$45).
Dining here is not a quick process – your palate needs time to recover from the spicy numbness so you can eat more.
Like the food, service was uneven at times; some staff were friendly and helpful, others aloof and not very attentive.
Hopefully these issues will be resolved soon, as the restaurant has the potential to draw in customers with its fiery hot dishes and cool views.
Qi – Nine Dragons, 20/F and Rooftop, Prince Tower, 12A Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2799 8899