The Chairman opened in 2009, with Kwok Keung Tung in charge of the kitchen. He had previously been cooking in an Australian restaurant group called Birlingham Company (owned by the same entrepreneur, Danny Yip, who owns The Chairman) before moving here. Because of its very limited land area, most food in Hong Kong is imported, but the Chairman uses quite a lot of local produce. Its chickens and pigs are raised in the New Territories, and the restaurant has its own farm in Sheung Shui where they grow organic vegetables as well as cure meat and make pickles.
The restaurant is tucked away down a cul de sac in central Hong Kong, at one end of a quiet street, not far from Queen Street. If coming by taxi then make sure you either have a working sat nav system on your phone or a printed map, as the taxi may well drop you nearby rather than taking you to the door of the restaurant, even though there is road access. The front of the restaurant is unassuming, as is the dining area, split over two levels and plainly decorated, with white padded walls. There was a slight whiff of disinfectant in the air when I visited at lunch.
The menu is extensive, with a three course set menu at HKD 198 (£19). Portion sizes are large, but as I was on my own the waiter kindly offered to do half portions so I could try a few dishes. A starter of fried crab dumplings had crisp batter and fresh tasting crab supplemented by peas, with a sweet chilli sauce in the side. This was very enjoyable and served piping hot (14/20).
Sichuan chicken came as pieces on the bone, resting in a pool of spicy oil, topped with spring onions and coriander. The chicken was decent enough if a bit fiddly to eat, but the sauce was excellent, full of green Sichuan peppercorns with their distinctive, slightly numbing, spicy kick (14/20). Gai lan was steamed with ginger and was carefully cooked, the shoots tender and the ginger flavour really coming through (15/20). Prawn fried rice was also good, the shrimps pleasant and supplemented with tender broad beans and onions (14/20).
Service was friendly, with my tea refreshed at intervals without my having to ask; the atmosphere is quite casual, with several large, chatty groups in the full dining room on the day of my visit. The bill came to HKD 514 (£49) with just jasmine tea to drink. If you drank alcohol then a typical cost per head would be rather more, and could bump up if you ordered some of the more exotic dishes, but I suspect that £70 or so is a reasonably typical cost per person all in. I liked the Chairman, which seemed to me to offer authentic dishes with plenty of flavour. It would be interesting to come back another time in a larger group to try a wider range of dishes.