Redefined Cantonese Classics at Woo Cheong Tea House

Following a three-month renovation, The Pawn's landmark location has resurfaced with a brand new concept and menu – a modern Cantonese tea house.


The Classified Group venture reimagines its three-storey occupation of the Grade II listed Woo Cheong Pawn Shop, previously a popular Western restaurant. The new concept pays tribute to the building's longstanding history – having opened in 1888 – serving nostalgic Cantonese cuisine with a twist, and a higher price tag. Beyond the glamourous interiors that may appeal more to photo opportunists, the menu was a pleasant surprise with most dishes ticking the right boxes between modern and traditional, inviting a mash-up of personalities.


woo cheong tea house
Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

The first thing you'll notice upon entering is the tropical wallpaper. Decked in rainforest green, the restaurant offers an immediate lively ambiance which, although feels a bit chaotic at first, gets easier on the eye after settling in with the more subtle surroundings and interiors, and over a pot of pu'er tea.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

Private rooms on the second floor include terraces.


The first floor focuses on offering premium tea, tea cocktails and dim sum by chef Eric Sun while the second floor, the main dining room, serves up refined sharing dishes reinterpreted by chef Edmond Ip.


Images courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times


We started with the dim sum specialties, the homemade daikon puff first. It's a refined update on the yum cha staple but feels less greasy, with its delicately layered pastry encompassing the daikon, a seasonal winter ingredient. Next to arrive is the pan-fried salmon formed with tea-infused homemade tofu. Its disposition sounded intriguing when we read the menu, but to our dismay, it lacked in flavour and was a bit bland even when dipped in the accompanying sauces. We return to familiar dim sum with the steamed fish dumpling, updated with a hint of pork and infused with jasmine tea. Again, we feel that the dumpling was missing something and needed a spiced ingredient to amp up the flavour.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

More compelling is the Woo Cheong premium barbecue pork, a juicy, succulent salute to the Cantonese dish, coated in a sweet and sticky glaze with a taste of charcoal from chef's cooking method. Hong Kong is at no shortage of char siu competition, but what we've learned is that when we find one that does it right, word goes around. And this one will be on your to-eat list this year, trust us – if the nearly HK$50 per slice pricetag allows.







Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

Every dish is a visual spectacle. We marvel at the next dish that arrives – sautéed prawn. Our waiter tells us that every morning, chef heads to the Wan Chai market to source prawns that most resemble a flower, and judging from the beautiful presentation, we can see why the extra effort is put in. But appearance isn't all that is offered, and although we at first refrain from ruining the elegant display, we eventually tuck right into the tender prawn which comes in a bed of concentrated shrimp gravy to further enhance its flavour.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

What arrives next seemed to us like your typical sweet and sour pork dish. The waiter explains to us that yes, the pork is the all-too-familiar household staple but on the side, to be dipped in crackling candy – something we certainly did not see coming. Some gourmands may shake their heads at this peculiar combination, but we actually quite enjoyed it, giving sweet and sour a totally new taste. We won't deny that it's more gimmicky than gourmet but found it tasty nonetheless, a curious concoction made up of two unrelated flavours from our childhoods.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

Pigeon is usually a crowd pleaser at Chinese restaurants and the Woo Cheong Tea House variation exceeds expectations. It's deep fried for that extra crispiness and served on an – note, inedible – replicated bird's nest with a tea-cured pigeon soft-boiled egg. This dish is eaten with gloves which arrive together for the best off-the-bone experience.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

Another addition to the floral-inspired presentations, the poached Chinese white cabbage is cut meticulously into the shape of a flower. It's served in a rich and aromatic matsutake mushroom broth and was the perfect palette cleanser we needed after the pigeon.


Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times

We're treated to an assortment of desserts which we had just about enough room for. The trio of sweet canapes included Bailey's baked egg tart, steamed red date cake with coconut milk and steamed sugarcane juice roll.


Woo Cheong Tea House is a divine establishment worth visiting if you haven't already. Opened in December, it's already attracted the likes of both neighbourhood locals and beyond and we look forward to seeing what it has in store for us this year.


和昌飯店 Woo Cheong Tea House, 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2866 3444, info@woocheongteahouse.com | facebook.com/woocheongteahouse | instagram.com/woocheongteahousehk