Tong Le Fang is one of those old, old restaurants in Hangzhou. We have seen that funky white building at the corner of Xueyuan and Tianmushan roads for years. Recently, though, it got a little facelift, with a new touch from the famous interior designer Chen Lin, who’s well-known for his masterwork Yee Chino. When we say little facelift, it’s is because the interior has kept its original design but with just a touch more colour – still maintaining its relaxed atmosphere that makes you forget about how hard life is.
As for the food, the taste and presentation are very traditional. The cold dishes are all typically Hangzhou, with the only surprise being the Ice Grass Salad (浇汁淋冰草 26RMB), which is a nice touch for the summer. We really liked Qiantang Mossbunker (钱塘大步鱼 298RMB) and the Steamed Chicken in Rice Cooker (电饭煲吉祥鸡 128RMB). It didn’t look all that pleasing to the eyes when placed on the table, but it tasted sooo good – flavourful and tender. The Roasted Beef Ribs with Fresh Ginseng (鲜人参烤牛肋骨 138RMB) was a mediocre dish, but the Soy Sauce and Red Chili with Large Prawn Balls (豉油皇焗大虾球 158RMB) was our favorite, with its big prawns in a spicy sauce that paired quite nicely with the yams. We splurged for the Alaskan Crab (阿拉斯加蟹 298RMB); it was simply steamed with spring onion and oil so that the pure taste of the meaty crab really comes through. For drinks, we went for the Pear Juice (雪梨汁 68RMB) and were not disappointed. It makes for a nice, cooling summer drink.
We like that some of the oldies are revamping and giving us new stuff to try. It gives us hope for some of the other places around town that need revisiting.