It is the end of the story for the famous Jumbo floating restaurant in Hong Kong.
In the dramatic final chapter, the floating eatery, which was a must-see for most travellers to the island, now lies 1,000m below the South China Sea where it sank while being transported to a location where it was to be viewed by potential buyers.
The restaurant that has been anchored at the Aberdeen Harbour typhoon shelter since 1976, was towed away last Tuesday only to be hit by adverse weather near the Parcel Islands on Sunday.
Here the iconic floating restaurant met its end.
Jumbo floating restaurant, with its high maintenance costs, succumbed to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, closed in March 2020 until its license expired in June this 2022.
My first encounter with the restaurant was in May 2017.
Sadly, despite its fame and allure, I was turned-off by the scruffy view of the back portion of the restaurant, which I caught a sight of during a visit to Aberdeen Harbour.
As I was on a tight schedule, I didn’t stop for a meal then, but decided to see what all the hype was about when I visited with the family about a year later (the restaurant was a part of most tour packages anyway).
As I wrote in my Trip Advisor review following this visit, the novelty of this floating restaurant dissipated the moment we tasted the food. It seemed to have been prepared with not much thought, effort or culinary creativity.
The service was nothing to write home about either.
In short, you pay premium for the experience of boarding a boat for a short ride to the restaurant, and for the allure of eating in a floating restaurant anchored at Aberdeen Harbour.
The price of the food was on the higher end, as one would expect for a place which is supposed to offer a unique and rare dining experience. However, the quality of the meal and service did not commensurate with the price.
The food was tasteless and seemingly prepared without much though and effort. Our prawn dish was dry and tasteless, our cabbage seemed like was thrown into some soya sauce and dished out, while our beef with capsicum was covered in tomato sauce sautéed in a bit of garlic. The only thing that tasted nice on our table was the omelette – and there’s no point paying premium rates for an omelette.
The view and ambience depended on the table you are seated at (and you usually do not get to pick your seat as the tables are usually allocated to various tour groups beforehand). The tables close to the window got a view of docked yachts. It’s a closed-up air- conditioned restaurant so it’s not like you are on an open balcony. Once you are seated, the feel is like any other restaurant.
It gets a lot noisier during lunchtime depending on which tour group enters. We were sorely disappointed not just with the food but the poor service too, thus the closure of the restaurant did not come as a surprise as the whole operation seemed to be very mediocre and run-of-the-mill.
It was however surprising that refurbishment to the floating structure was not explored and a change of management did not happen (or pan out); because despite the poor service and dull dishes served up, the restaurant did have a draw and potential in terms of its location – the scenic Aberdeen Harbour and floating village.
Well, that’s water under the bridge now or rather underwater now.
More on Jumbo Floating Restaurant’s final chapter: https://www.thevibes.com/articles/world/63922/hong-kongs-jumbo-floating-restaurant-sinks-in-south-china-sea
Jumbo Floating restaurant being towed away: https://www.voanews.com/a/victim-of-pandemic-hong-kong-floating-restaurant-towed-away-/6616679.html
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