A restaurant review of The Chinese Library
Nestled in the colonial headquarters of the old Police station Tai Kwun, sits the elegant space The Chinese Library (which includes an adjacent bar)—another genius creation from its brainchild of aqua group. Celebrating the diversity of Chinese fare, the restaurant serves traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, combining the best of regional techniques for a menu of newborn flavour. Cha Siu Papers’ Faye Bradley visited the divine property for a tasting of the restaurant’s best dishes.
Boasting an expansive space of recently-renovated interiors, a sort of old-meets-new, Tai Kwun is home to a buzzing atmosphere and selection of sophisticated dining venues. The Chinese Library is no exception, offering a grande, banquette style setting with light embellishments of brass, jade-tones and sleek, dark wood. Enter the space which hosts colonial-style elements yet withholds its Cantonese roots in its façade and décor.
Founder David Yeo was inspired by his vast personal library of Chinese cookbooks, leading to the formation of the restaurant and sister property Dim Sum Library. We tried the dim sum here, starting with the Laksa Xiao Long Bao, a quirky blend of Malaysian spice with the traditional Shanghainese dumpling.
Next, we had the Garoupa Fillet with Spring Onion and Ginger Cheung Fun. I’m not usually a big seafood person (contrary to many food writers), yet there was something that worked so well with this dish that made me really appreciate and savour the taste. There was a slight kick of ginger which made the dish really tasty, with the soft, tender fish concealed inside. Served in a dim sum basket, the Sichuan Ma La Fish Bao was a take on the much-loved cha siu bao replaced with a regional twist.
The “Jade Flower” in Green Sichuan Pepper was one of my favourites, giving an unexpected, numbing taste as you chew—and arriving in a beautiful presentation. We also had Crispy Wuxi Eel with 15 Year Old Aged Vinegar which was crunchy and slightly sweet.
Arriving in a delicate, art-like display, the Chrysanthemum “Thousand Cut” Silken Tofu in Chicken Broth was a magnificent combination, showcasing the chef’s expert knife skills.
Lastly, the BBQ Pork Loin with New Zealand Manuka Honey, a succulent, moist piece of tender cha siu-style meat as the main dish.
For dessert, we had an indulgent Deep-Fried Chocolate Hazelnut Ball for a sweet touch.
The cocktails were divine—a blend of east-meets-west infused flavours. I tried the Dan Tart, which actually tasted like egg tart with a splash of alcohol. The Mango Tree was also delicious, a fruity blend of Asian-inspired favourites.
Our experience at The Chinese Library was nothing short of fine dining. The restaurant expertly combines flavours from regions across China and beyond for a menu of limitless flavours like no other—one that doesn’t compromise the traditional authenticity of Chinese cuisine.
Reserve your table at The Chinese Library
Location: Block 01, Tai Kwun, Police Headquarters, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central
Phone: 852 2848 3088
Looking for a dim sum card to surprise your recipient? Find yours with Cha Siu Papers’ Dim Sum collection
All photography credit to Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers
Written content by Faye Bradley for Cha Siu Papers