The Chili Club has long been our “go-to” place for Thai. Throughout the 90s, my friends and I would embark up the narrow staircase to the second floor to eat here at least once a month. In 2003 when I visited Hong Kong, the Chili Club was on the dining itinerary and so, in 2011, why should it be any different?
My lunch with BFF Robert and our friend May started with hugs and chatter which delayed the ordering process. The restaurant has had a make-over in the last 8 years but since my pals still frequent it, I was confident the quality of the food has remained true. I just didn’t realize how much the portions had shrunk until May told me what I had ordered wasn’t going to be enough. At the end of the day, we ordered the following, which, in America, would be WAY too much food for four people.
Tod Mun Kung or deep fried prawn patties (HK$36/US$4.60/3pcs) were quite lovely and had a light panko crust covering the minced shrimp patties. Light and perfectly textured, they were a delicious start to our meal.
Por Pia Tod — vegetarian spring rolls — (HK$38/US$4.90/3pcs) were average. Though flavorful, the bean threads inside were a bit overcooked, but on the whole it was a decent vegetarian offering.
One of my “must-haves” is Yum Nuer Yang or Thai beef salad (HK$58US$7.45) was stunning but unfortunately, so small I could’ve eaten two plates on my own. I was really shocked at how small the dishes were, all served on bread-sized plates. May kept telling me the portions had been small for years now, but I guess it was really noticeable after 8 years while they’ve been getting a slow steady shrinkage.
If I order curry at a Thai restaurant, I will usually pick Kaeng Kiew Warin (HK$78/US$10) or green curry. You choose your meat — we opted for chicken — and it was just the way I liked. It was thick and not too sweet although I would’ve liked it to be a bit spicier and again, the only problem was the miniscule little bowl in came in.
My son wanted more Thai beef salad since the little plate wasn’t enough for us. May suggested Nuer Yang Jim (HK$58/US$7.45) instead. Charcoal grilled beef with spicy sauce was a huge hit and the small portion was a fight between the kid and I. Each piece of meat was tender and the sauce had a hot-tart flavor which enhanced the beef even more.
Robert ordered Pad Thai (HK$60/US$7.70) which was just okay. The noodles were bland, not that I’m a huge fan of pad Thai to begin with but flavorless makes them even less appealing.
I’m not a fan of savory foods which lean heavily on the sweet side and Pla Sam Rod (HK$95/US$12.20) fried fish in 3 flavors was a bit too sweet for me. The fish was flaky and moist but the sweet and sour sauce with julienned peppers was not a good match for me.
To round our meal off, stir fried morning glory (HK$48/US$6.15) was the greens of the lunch and it was tasty indeed. I would’ve wanted two more plates but six bucks for an appetizer portion of vegetables was just highway robbery!
Desserts have never been my thing, but one of my favorites here is the coconut jelly wrapped in banana leaf. It is a two-layered dessert with a clear coconut jelly on the bottom and a coconut milk topping.
We also tried a water chestnut dessert which was very interesting but also delicious. None of the desserts are overly sweet. This particular one comes in soup style with sago swimming throughout and chunks of water chestnuts coated in a toothsome tapioca shell. You get the chewy and crunchy in one bite. Very unique indeed.
The food is still stellar even though the portions are shameful. It is good to know that something dear to my heart has been consistent in taste for the last 20 years and I can come back again and again knowing I’ll have a great, but expensive, meal.
88 Lockhart Road, 1/F
+852 2527 2872
JULIE LIM says
I would pay an arm and a leg for authentic Thai food, especially the last dish, Tap Tim Krop, which I can’t get here, not even in Thai town!