Chungking Mansions – The Secret Curry House.
Want to freak out your friends with a really dodgy journey into the abyss that is CKM and then feed them a meal that will blow their socks off? Take them the wild way into the maze and get thee down to the Southern India Club Mess.
Most of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong have some kind of experience to go along with the meal itself. I like an element of surprise or laughter to treat my friends.
Southern India Club Mess is one such restaurant, mainly because people think I’m leading them into hell on the way there. It’s super low key, back to basics – homestyle food for Indian expats and visiting traders in CKM. However, it has the most sublime curry in the whole of Hong Kong – Ginger Chilli Chicken Tikka Marsala, and it serves huge dosas. Bring it on.
Food: We are talking as homestyle southern Indian as it comes. You HAVE to order the Ginger CTM – you may even have to order a portion per person as you just can’t stop yourself. Foot long dosas and lots of veggie dishes, thalis etc
Drinks: It’s a club and therefore doesn’t have a license to sell alcohol. If you have to have beer with your curry then ask nicely if you can go and buy your own. They have always been really accommodating, even putting us in a separate room when it was Ramadan so that we could still have a beer (they insisted when we said we didn’t need beer, in case you think I’m a complete cultural pig).
Ambience: Sits a max of 20. Basic (especially since they removed the super kitsch 70s wall photos of alpine meadows and tulip carpeted woodlands), don’t take anyone who’s too precious about their surroundings (unless it’s someone you want to torture), or in fact anyone claustrophobic (unless they really, really like curry and you are using this trip as therapy).
Cost: Soooopa cheap. Difficult to spend more than $100 a head. Frankly, the best value curry in the territory I reckons.
Location: D1, 3/F Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road, TST. Tel: 2366–1834.
Now here comes the tricky bit. I have only been here by what I would call the back way, so bear with me.
Enter Chungking Mansions and immediately turn right, walk to end of corridor and turn left, walk about 20m and you will come to the first fire escape stairs on your right (grey doors), walk to the third floor up the barely lit stairwell covered in bettlenut juice splashings, force your way through the really narrow doors on the 3rd floor and lo and behold Southern Indian club is opposite the Everest Club.
Of course if you don’t want to freak your visitors out, you can always get one of the PRs to take you to the Everest Club and then hop across the corridor (and if you are taking claustrophobic guests, using the terrifyingly tiny lifts will just add to the therapy).
Open: every day, lunch (11:30-15:00) and dinner (6:30-23:00).