Above & Beyond

by Qian Leung
Above & Beyond Tea houses originated along the ancient silk route, where they served as lodging for sojourners. The rudimentary steamed buns evolved into the dainty bites of culinary dexterity we see today, known as dim sum. At Above & Beyond in Tsim Sha Tsui, these fascinating Chinese amuse-bouches are served not just with tea, but also praiseworthy lesser-known wines. 2009 Grace Vineyard Angelina Brut Reserve from Shanxi, China, dances on the palate with a lively fizz, and is quite compatible with a trio of steamed dumplings, while 2012 Chateau Lumière from Yamanashi, Japan, a blend of merlot, tannat, and cabernet sauvignon, brings depth and complexity to a dish of baked abalone tarts. “This is a traditional dish in Hong Kong, since it looks just like a gold ingot, which signifies good fortune,” says Chef Paul Tsui. From his experiences working in Japan, the idea to season deep-fried shrimp rolls with wasabi came about, resulting in an addictive munch. My favourite is the pan-fried rice flour rolls with XO sauce. Served hot, the rolls are fragrant and lightly charred on the outside, and plump and springy to the bite. Aside from reading cook books, Chef Tsui also exchanges ideas with fellow chefs, and experiments with new techniques. “The most important thing is to listen to the commments from guests,” says Chef Tsui.