BaseHall, soft-opening on Monday, 8 June, is the concept that will take over the much-loved former Grappa’s Cellar location at Jardine House in Central, showcasing 10 different artisanal F&B vendors – tasty burgers from Honbo, plant-based sourdough flatbreads from TREEHOUSE, Vietnamese street food from Cô Thành, modern Korean by MOYO, nasi lemak and more hawker-style eats at Return of Lemak by Chef Barry Quek of Beet, authentic Mexican from 11 Westside, giant cookies and cookie cakes from Cookie DPT, locally brewed ales from Young Master Brewery and cocktails at BaseHall Bar, operated by the Mandarin Oriental.

Along with all of the above comes Japanese-style rotisserie chicken master ROTI TORI. Co-founder of Yardbird, RONIN and Sunday’s Grocery Lindsay Jang has given us all the details on the team’s latest concept.


How long have you been planning ROTI TORI with BaseHall?

We’ve been planning a version of ROTI TORI since we incubated the concept at Taste of Hong Kong a few years ago. When the BaseHall project came up, we liked the team behind it and their vision, we aligned aesthetically, and we decided to go for it!

What were your first thoughts on the space when considering opening a concept there?

We have been working very closely with the BaseHall team since the beginning and were sceptical about what could be done in the basement, but we are all very excited about the property and how it’s turned out.

What kind of dishes can punters look forward to?

We’re doing Japanese-style rotisserie with all kinds of sides. Easy, delicious, healthy.

What will the team behind Yardbird be bringing that customers will recognise and in what ways will it be completely new?

We’re bringing chicken (obviously!), a few members of our core team and a fresh brand that will be built out in a lifestyle way the same way that Yardbird and RONIN have grown into other categories.


What will the format be like at Basehall? Is there currently anything like it in the city?

It’s a beautiful food hall. I, personally, have never been to anything like it in Hong Kong.

Launching during corona times, were there worries about the project not going ahead given the issues facing Hong Kong right now?

There is always worry, stress, concern, etc. F&B is a really hard business, even in the best of times. I believe the opportunity to build a new brand is what keeps us sane. We need the outlet to keep creating and keep pushing ourselves to do better.

What are your feelings on Hong Kong’s handling of COVID? Do you feel pride that the city has got back on its feet?

I am happy that I feel safe and that my family and friends are healthy. I don’t feel pride because I don’t think COVID-19 is nearly over, even if we’re moving on like it is. I never want to take safety and health for granted, so I want to keep building with conservative optimism and hope that we can globally work together to figure this out.

Have you and your team found any positive effects to have come out of the epidemic amidst the incredible difficulties?

We have been spending a lot more time together. Working, building, creating, having fun. We’re usually all travelling around the world, so it’s been such a pleasure to be grounded with each other.


Are there other outlets within BaseHall that you’re excited to experience yourself?

All of them! I’m super excited that BaseHall and BaseHall Bar will be operated by the Mandarin Oriental team – they’re pros.


We also got the low-down from Christian Mongendre of TREEHOUSE on his new opening within BaseHall.

What were your first thoughts on the historic space when considering a concept there?

It’s actually an interesting question because I know it’s a historic space and Hongkong Land is a really important landlord here, and we’re very excited to work with them. But on a personal level, my dad’s office used to be located in Jardine House when I was born here in Hong Kong. So I’m actually very excited to open a TREEHOUSE where my dad used to work a long time ago. That’s a nice ode to to him.

What will TREEHOUSE be bringing that customers will recognise and in what ways will it be completely new?

I think the format is a really exciting one because it’s a true partnership between the operator and the landlord. It’s a true synergistic relationship, so I find it’s much more of a win-win and a very good way for operators like me to operate directly with the landlord and the landlord wanting the same results. This style of high-end food court I think is going to develop more and more, allowing more creative and innovative projects to be able to shine and open. So we’re really excited, and I think this is a model that, if it works, we’ll definitely be scaling around different cities around Asia.

What dishes will you be serving up?

We will be having our traditional signature dishes and essentially the TREEHOUSE experience, but we’ll be introducing some different special dishes like the mapo tofu grain bowl, which will act as a donation bowl – we will provide six meals for people in need via Foodlink here in Hong Kong for every bowl purchased – some different signature flatbreads, some exciting new additions as well.

Launching during corona times, were there worries about the project not going ahead given the issues facing Hong Kong right now?

We were obviously very concerned about the corona situation and whether or not something like a food court, which obviously is meant to attract and welcome a lot of people, as there are quite a few operators; we were very concerned. But also as we saw how Hong Kong handled the situation, and now currently seeing Hong Kong people going out again, the city being very vibrant and feeling like the energy is kind of coming back, so we’re being very hopeful. Once we got to see the space and the other operators, we decided to trust it and give it our all, and hopefully it will be a successful project for us, that people will come and enjoy the wonderful place that Hongkong Land has designed and the large food offerings from all these operators together under one roof.

How has your team adjusted during COVID-19?

The COVID situation was actually very stressful for us at the time because we did get a visit from a confirmed case, and that was not declared by the government but just by a friend of the guest himself. This forced us to take the drastic decision on the day we learned this to close for five days in order to test our whole team, sanitise TREEHOUSE and make sure that everyone was okay. Luckily, we all came back negative, and we were able to reopen our service. Obviously, losing five-and-a-half-days of operation was very difficult for a small business, but we’re back. We’ve abided by all the government regulations of having separators between guests for tables for up to four, maintaining a safe distance, temperature checks upon entering the premises and wearing a mask when in the premises, but you can take it off for eating – and just overall doing everything we can. Basically abiding by every rule and regulation from the government, but also doing extra on our side to make sure that we’re not putting anyone at risk, our team especially.

Have you and your team found any positive effects to have come out of the epidemic amidst the incredible difficulties?

During this hard time, the positive effect is that we were able to keep our full team. We just wanted to be able to maintain our balance so we did not have to reduce our labour at all, which was very important to us to not put anyone in the streets at such a difficult time, when we wouldn’t know if they would find a job or not. We were very proud that we were able to keep stable jobs for our team and also feel the positive help from our customers to support us and to know how difficult things are and how we need to adapt.

Which outlets within BaseHall are you excited to try?

I’m very excited to try any and all vegetarian dishes from all the other partners in the food hall. I was actually talking to the guys from Cô Thành about them wanting to create some vegan or vegetarian options, so we may even collab. It’s a very exciting place to be in terms of having close proximity to other operators, other teams, and potentially helping each other and collaborating and seeing how we all work in one space.

BaseHall, LG/F, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central

To learn more about BaseHall, click here

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