Last Sunday we went with a few friends to try this new high-end Chinese restaurant in Bonifacio Global City called No. 8 China House located at the 5th floor of Grand Hyatt Manila. The hotel was in soft opening since in February 2018, and the Chinese restaurant started serving guests only a few weeks ago in April 2018.
Setting and layout
The restaurant uses a lot of dark wood and has a high class ambiance. Its most obvious feature is the existence of several open kitchen areas. You can see the roast duck area with its oven and condiments, the steamer section and another cooking area. All cooking can be seen by the guests.
The tables are sparsely distributed, making the place feel spacious.
Unlike a typical Chinese restaurant in which most tables are round, half of the tables in No. 8 China House are square / rectangular and half are round. Since all the round tables were reserved when we arrived, our guests were a little upset. Chinese food is best enjoyed by sharing, and round table is more suitable than square or rectangular tables.
They have several function rooms that are fitted with round tables (see featured photo for one of the rooms), but they have a high consumables requirement, and in any case, they were booked on that day.
We ordered several dimsum, like steamed barbecue pork buns, shrimp dumpling, steamed spare ribs, fried shrimp spring rolls and xiaolunbao. They were all very delicious. Even bony dishes like spare ribs were cooked just right.
Another plus point is the price. Even though some dimsums are over P200 per order, they have package prices for 3 orders, 5 orders and 8 orders, which averages out to be cheaper if you order the expensive dimsums.
I could not take photos fast enough because people were hungry and grabed the food before I could take a picture.
On the con side, the dimsum selection is quite limited. There were only about a dozen dimsums. No rice rolls, for example.
We ordered a whole Peking Duck one way. It costs just under P4,000. The duck was freshly roasted, as it should be in any respectable Peking duck restaurant, but this one is roasted in an oven just a few feet away from our table.
The chef also sliced the duck at the table. He did three types of slices: just skin, skin with meat, and just meat, so every one got what they wanted.
The duck was cooked well (maybe just a little under-seasoned), and we had good condiments to go with it. The cucumber sticks and spring onion stems to go inside the wrapper were also plentiful.
Photo above: fried prawn spring rolls
Cons: The wrappers for eating the sliced duck came only at least 15 minutes after the duck was served. It was a torturous wait since the meat looked so delicious in front of us. To add insult to injury, they charged extra for additional wrappers (P275 per order) after the first two baskets of wrappers were finished.
In Chinese restaurants that serve Peking duck, if you order a duck, you are supposed to get the whole duck. So after they slice the skin and meat off, the restaurant will give you the remaining parts of the duck, which includes bones and some meat. You can bring it home to make duck soup. However, this is not what happens in No. 8 China House. You need to pay P500 more to get the remains of the duck.
Photo above shows steamed spareribs. In the background is a plate of sliced duck meat.
The waiters were very polite and dressed well. However, they missed two of our orders even though the orders were marked on the ordering sheet. There were some employees dressed like managers of the restaurant. They roamed around the restaurant, but their attention was always somewhere else as if we were invisible, and did not stop to respond to our call for service. Or maybe we mistook someone's skinny bodyguards as restaurant staff. It was just a little annoying.
Since the food was good and the dimsum price was reasonable, we would probably go back, and hope that we can try the dishes that were missed, and get better service in the future.
To see other Chinese restaurants in the Fort, read this article.