Some good things never happen twice, and so it is with Three Guizhou Men reopening as Three Guizhou Men Repulse Bay. The new owners’ mistakes began with a name that desperately hangs on the coattails of their forebears’ glory. Its allusions to Hong Kong are misleading when you consider the largely-Sichuan menu.
Upon asking our server what we should try, she suggests huang la ding (17RMB/jin) then presents a tub holding a slick-skinned yellowhead catfish, flopping about desperately. The catfish is whisked away, then returns in a sour, spicy broth that bobs with cherry peppers and is more delicious than the silt-flavoured fish floating within. Catfish often has a muddy taste and this is no different.
A dish of stir-fried sweet pea shoots (qing chao doumiao, 20RMB) meets the palate too salty at first, but the chef corrects the error with a second plate of tender shoots, sweet and per fect. Pao la niuwa (58RMB), a large bowl of fleshy bullfrog legs, is served in a piquant broth that could borrow a few notes from the tasty accompaniment to the catfish. Perhaps the highlight of this lunch is ganguo chashu gu (38RMB), stir-fried tea tree mushrooms with slivers of pork and the gentle heat of chillies.
Beautiful jujube cakes (hongzao gao, 58RMB) with hints of cinnamon, and filled with walnuts and sesame, show us the good side of Sichuan. But a finale of jiang zhi gao (ginger cakes, 58RMB) resembling the strata of pork belly makes a disappointing end to the meal. The novelty of the pork-belly resemblance wears off after a third bite of what tastes like slightly sweet, subtly gingered calf’s foot jelly.
This underwhelming restaurant might be better as a late-night stop for the inebriated tastebuds of clubbers flowing in from the Gongti nightspots below. Shanti Christensen