SCMP: First impressions of Happy Paradise in SoHo – who pimped that Hong Kong cha chaan teng?
Award-winning chef May Chow's latest project, Happy Paradise, has a name that could describe where your taste buds will be after some brilliant food.
The SoHo bar and restaurant, located near Chow's first venture, Little Bao, looks like a pimped-up cha chaan teng, with neon lighting and retro chairs and tables. The pop music - a bit too loud - is from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The drinks menu features classic cocktails reworked with Chinese ingredients. We savoured Double Pear Happiness (HK$128), a smooth drink with cognac, rye whiskey, pear, lemon and five spices. Pink Flamingos (HK$108) was a heady concoction with Jamaican rum, passion fruit and Campari, with black lime powder on the glass.
Chow spotted us as we came in and ran us through the menu, which consists of traditional Cantonese dishes made with modern cooking techniques. A complimentary appetiser of pureed scallops was steamed like rice rolls - although these don't have flour in them - and then placed on a bed of chilli oil. The delicate flavour is fantastic.