Away from it all at the table

City talk | Siu Sai-wo 28 Jul 2021

Privacy is taking on an increasing importance for business meals.

And hosts also need to take care not to run afoul of pandemic restrictions.

These concerns have prompted the wealthy and enterprises to set up their own private banquet halls.

The venues do not involve money transactions and the size of the party can be controlled, so guests may enjoy some worry-free good times together.

I was recently invited to one of these places, Yuk Kwai Lau, on Electric Road in Tin Hau. It is located at an old building with an unimpressive exterior.

But once inside I was wowed by its culturally-themed decor, which gave me the feeling of having stepped into an ethereal utopia like the one described in Jin poet Tao Yuanming's fable The Peach Blossom Land.

The host told us the place is run by Salenda Lau, an expert in marketing new residential projects. The "canteen," which adjoins her workplace and has a chef, only serves family, friends and close business associates. It is not open to outsiders.

Lau started out in sales and marketing at a big developer before striking out on her own a decade ago. She has since taken part in marketing 48 projects, with the latest being the The Henley in Kai Tak.

Henderson Land Development cochairman Martin Lee Ka-shing has high expectations for this major project, hoping it will earn acclaim and sell well too.

Just the name of the estate is itself a winning first impression. It takes three letters from "Henderson" and has the same name as a prestigious Thames-side residential area in the United Kingdom.

As for the banquet venue, Lau said it used to be a table tennis saloon. She bought it in 2017 in a foreclosure sale and converted it.

Apart from the ambience and food, the venue also has remarkable acoustics, created by renowned local musician Andrew Tuason. The sound-absorbing surroundings subdue sound from conversations even if they are very animated.

And when your ears are not overwhelmed by noise, your taste becomes more acute. That is, in turn, conducive to talking business without any distraction.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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