Old Bailey: High-end Jiangnan cuisine coming to Tai Kwun Centre

Photo: Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage & Arts (left) and Chinese pickles courtesy of Old Baily (right)

Hong Kong’s Tai Kwun Centre, recently born-again as an arts hub, just announced its next big opening in the historic building: Old Bailey, a high-end Chinese restaurant.

It will specialize in the regional flavors of Chinese cities south of the Yangtze River, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuxi, Yangzhou, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. Currently, plans are set to have the restaurant open later this month, on June 21.

Jia Group, the company behind Old Bailey, says that the restaurant’s placement in the heritage arts center, formerly a Central police station, is symbolic, since the cities represented on their new menu are those known for the arts, creativity, and hospitality.

Photo: Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage & Arts

Their CEO, Yenn Wong, says that it’s a part of her mission to try and elevate Chinese foods in the greater world of F&B, with the hope that one day the cuisines of China will be as highly regarded as those of Japan or France.

Food from the Jiangnan region is not known for being spicy, like that of Sichuan, or prominently salty, like dishes from Shandong. Instead, food from this southern region has a sweeter taste with an emphasis on using healthy, seasonal ingredients — not unlike the values in traditional Japanese food.

Apparently Old Bailey’s head chef, Wong Gwan Man — a native of the region — went heavy on the pickles, vinegars, and fermented foods on the new menu, with many complex dishes that few home chefs would attempt.

A pickle selection from the new restaurant. Photo: Old Bailey/Facebook

Some other dishes that will feature in the new restaurant’s menu: Longjing tea smoked pigeon, Mala Iberico pork xiaolongbao, ten treasure duck, double-boiled lion’s head pork meatballs, and hairy crab roe — though prices have not been finalized yet.

To celebrate another aspect of life and the tastes of Jiangnan, the restaurant also plans to offer tea-pairing menus, which can be had indoors, or on the balcony that overlooks the courtyard of the arts center.

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