Openings of the month
Joining his Michelin-starred Arcane is Chef Shane Osborn’s pared-back, contemporary all-day-dining eatery Cornerstone on Hollywood Road. We were there for a preview and were blown away by the high-quality dishes at don’t-break-the-bank prices, including this sensational Wagyu bavette (read our review). Following Chef Osborn’s philosophy of clean, healthy eating, many plant-based dishes are showcased, and other dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan upon request. Also of note, Cornerstone will only serve filtered water, with the filtering done on-site, at a charge of $18 per person for unlimited still or sparkling water. Open Tuesday–Sunday, 11:30am–11pm.
49 Hollywood Road, Central, no bookings
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the debut of Louise, the first restaurant outside Singapore for Chef Julien Royer, whose two-Michelin-starred restaurant Odette in the Lion City was crowned Asia’s best this year by the 50 Best gurus. On a daily basis, Louise’s kitchen will be overseen by Executive Chef Franckelie Laloum, who has relocated from Michelin-starred Azure 45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo.
Taking over the space vacated by Aberdeen Street Social at PMQ, two-storey Louise is a passion project for the chef and JIA Group’s founder, Yenn Wong, and its design is inspired by the chic colonial home of a fictional Frenchwoman called Louise. Seasonal, ingredient-driven French cuisine will be served from 18 June, with bookings taken from 1 June for both the all-day-dining, laid-back Parlour on the ground floor and the Dining Room upstairs, open for lunch and dinner.
In the Parlour, with its tropical greenhouse feel, indulge in wines by the glass along with artisan cheeses and charcuterie and elevated homestyle dishes like pâté en croûte, a decadent croque Louise (made with Saint–Nectaire cheese, Brisson ham and black truffle – pictured above), homemade gravlax made with Ōra King salmon, Polmard beef tartare with fries and Prat-Ar-Coum oysters. On the sweet side, expect homemade French pastries, freshly baked madeleines and cannelés.
One floor above, in the bright, elegant, ivory-hued Dining Room, the dishes served have a more fine-dining approach but are still inspired by the dishes that Chef Royer has loved since his childhood – dishes like la truffade, a side of sautéed potatoes, young Cantal cheese, garlic and parsley, heirloom tomato tart with burrata and basil sorbet, Black Angus beef tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce and grenaille potatoes, pan-seared veal sweetbread with lemon confit, brown butter lettuce cream and potato gnocchi and Maman Royer yoghurt cake with ice cream and confit lemon. Local flavours also get a look-in with dishes such as sautéed Hong Kong frog legs with parsley and garlic crisps and roasted Hong Kong yellow chicken with Niigata rice en cocotte.
Black Sheep Restaurants are on a roll, with not one but two openings this month. Named after a senior regiment in the Indian Army, Rajasthan Rifles is helmed by Chef Palash Mitra – winner of our Chef of the Year award at this year’s Foodie Forks – whose stupendous Indian-Pakistani grill New Punjab Club was bestowed a glittering Michelin star this year. This time we travel back in time to an officers’ mess hall in the British Raj for Anglo-Indian dishes with a twist. Open for dinner until 10pm from Tuesday–Sunday, with breakfast and lunch on the menu soon, expect the likes of club sandwiches made with chicken tikka chaat, masala omelette, tomato chutney and English Cheddar, Soola Salmon Sizzlers and Minted Pimms Cups.
Shop G01, G/F, Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak, 2388 8874
Taqueria Super Macho
¡Cervezas y tacos aqui, papis chulos! The second project cooked up by the clever clogs at Black Sheep is Taqueria Super Macho, a laid-back, two-storey eatery inspired by the roadside taquerias of coastal Mexico (for those in the know, it’s the former Yardbird space). For us, Mexican food is at its best when it’s chilled and unpretentious, and Taqueria Super Macho’s no-frills (but still plenty cool) communal tables, Valentina hot sauce, plastic cutlery baskets and whitewashed walls make it all the more authentic.
The dishes here have a seafood focus, with traditional lime and chilli (not cheese and sour cream) at the forefront. Chilean-born chef Billy Otis (who worked under Mexican-cuisine superstar Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago) is the man bringing some justice to the Mexican food scene in Hong Kong with his DIY crispy shrimp tacos – some advice: 1) one taco, one lime and 2) white onion and cilantro for life – Baja-style ceviche and range of homemade salsas. The freshly fried tortillas chips with guac and pico de gallo are the bomb. We’re loving the holiday-esque pina coladas and margaritas too.
By the way, “super macho” has nothing to do with masculinity on steroids, but instead translates to “super awesome”. We wholeheartedly agree.
33–35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, 2333 0111
Related: New Restaurants May 2019
More exciting openings
Japanese farm-to-table “per person” hotpot brand Bijin Nabe makes its Hong Kong debut in Kwun Tong, joining its sibling eatery Tsukada Nojo at Harbour City and Shatin. Its signature is its collagen-rich chicken “beauty stock”, popular at its hundreds of branches throughout Japan and Singapore. Generous dinner sets are priced from just $168 per person, with 20 kinds of free-flow drinks for an extra $88 (lunch is priced from $78).
Shop L3–13, 3/F, apm, Millennium City 5, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, 3596 3909
From the team behind Sai Ying Pun faves The Den and Pete’s Place comes Bingaz – the childhood nickname of the owner’s son (bless). Serving up good-value street food, everything at Bingaz is homemade and the ingredients are high quality. The menu is divided into sections – from skewers like Wagyu beef and tandoori chicken, to marinated wings (we can’t wait to check out the rendang style), to noodle and rice dishes. With three restaurants in the ‘hood, it’s the start of a SYP food empire for these folks.
64 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, 2872 6808
Backed by Chef Marco Sacco of Italy’s two-Michelin-starred Piccolo Lago, fine-dining Castellana has a niche focus on the cuisine of Piedmont, an Italian region known for its richer flavours and use of butter as opposed to olive oil, with truffles and wine playing starring roles. Both à-la-carte and tasting menus will be offered as well as innovative truffle-based cocktails at the bar.
10/F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, 3188 5028, book online
Coconuts Thai Bar & Grill
Reincarnated Coconuts is back at Deep Water Bay Beach, bringing a taste of Thailand to our shores by French chef Jean-Paul Gauci, who knows a thing or two about running successful beachside concepts – Cococabana at Shek O is also his brainchild. There’s a lot to love here: grilled and roasted meats are a highlight (with “asado to go” an option), there’s a “spice on the side” kids’ menu, deckchairs and beach umbrellas are available and Gin O’ Clock runs every day from 5–7:30pm, perfect for catching the sunset. Happy hour is kicked up a notch with DJs spinning on Saturdays for Sunset Sessions (from 8 June). Is this finally HK’s very own Phuket-style beach club? We’ll be settling down soon with a beach cooler in hand to let you know.
G/F, West Block, Deep Water Bay Beach, Island Road, Deep Water Bay, 2869 9631
Winner of a Foodie Forks 2019 award for Best Dessert, local artisan gelato maker Igloo Dessert Bar – of White Rabbit Candy gelato fame – has opened a second, much more spacious location in San Po Kong – Insider Scoop – expanding into the wholesale biz with a central kitchen, workshop and party space. Nostalgic, creative gelato flavours launched this summer include pandan kaya toast, mango sticky rice and lychee rose.
Room 14, 13/F, Laurels Industrial Centre, 32 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong
The US and UK take their “special relationship” one step further with the opening of Kinship, a collaboration between American chef Chris Grare (Café Gray Deluxe, Lily & Bloom) and British chef Arron Rhodes (Dot Cod, Gough’s on Gough, Statement) where farm-to-table dishes, traceability and forging relationships with local family-run farms and suppliers are the focus. From starters of sustainable hamachi crudo and chicken liver mousse, to sharing mains like spiced seafood stew and NY strip for two with blue cheese potato, mustard cream and sauerkraut, to desserts of Mr Whippy ice cream and chocolate and coconut tart, Kinship’s dishes have a whole lotta heart. There are also dual American and British brunch menus – think fried chicken and waffles vs roast Devonshire beef with Yorkshire pud.
3/F, LL Tower, 2–4 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central, 2520 0899, book online
It looks like Tai Hang is having a bit of a renaissance of late. Kappa-style Japanese restaurant KONA is the latest cool-cat newcomer to the ‘hood. The intimate zen-inspired interior is matched by the contemporary Japanese dishes served up by Chef Yip Chun Ki, who has almost three decades of experience at Japanese restaurants around the world, including Ginza Shimada in Tokyo. The refined dishes include sea urchin with lobster broth jelly and egg sabayon, monaka wafer with foie gras and cheese, sukiyaki-style Wagyu beef bowl with truffle and pork belly and Wagyu skewers.
16 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang, 2881 6339
NOC (Tin Hau)
23 Mercury Street, Tin Hau, 3619 7500
The only izakaya in Hong Kong to specialise in Saga cuisine, SARA has reopened in Causeway Bay with both a new look and a new chef, Kohei Tomita, formerly of Fukuoka’s Michelin-starred Shiranata, who has crafted an expanded menu featuring regional specialities such as Saga Wagyu, Mitsuse chicken, Ariake seaweed and Kinboshi Sagabuta pork. A wide range of premium sake accompanies these Japanese delicacies.
12/F, OLIV, 15–21 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, 3620 3491, book online
The men behind fun and freewheeling (and fiercely independent) wine bar Shady Acres are Ryan Nightingale (Aberdeen Street Social, Ham & Sherry, Back Bar) and Mike Watts (208 Duecento Otto, Fish School), offering us a carefully curated selection of vino, creative cocktails (with names like The Retrograde Lemonade and Deniable Plausibility), Aussie-inspired coffee drinks, tempting bar snacks and sharing plates and – the jewel in the crown – two happy hours: 5–7pm for post-work imbibing and 11pm–1am for the night owls (with beer priced from just $20). In their words: “fine wines, stiff drinks, good times and general mayhem”. With Shady Acres shaking up this city’s bar scene, we see a Foodie Fork in the future for this one…
46 Peel Street, SoHo, Central
SHAKA Rolls by Pololi
HK’s OG poké specialist Pololi’s latest concept is SHAKA Rolls, presenting American-style high-protein, low-carb customisable sushi rolls to the masses. Offering both large and small (Lil’ SHAKA) rolls, standouts include the Dragon Bomb (shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, cucumber, spicy tobiko mayo) and the Crazy Philly (salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, tobiko). We haven’t even tasted them yet, but we already want to say mahalo to Pololi!
Sip Song Thai Eatery & Bar
At the end of the month (update: the opening has been moved to Sunday, 7 July, with booking lines opening from the 1st), burger bar Hotshot is set to be replaced by Maximal Concepts’ Sip Song Thai Eatery & Bar, setting the scene for a beachside Thai competition with Coconuts at Deep Water Bay Beach (see above). Joining Maximal’s popular Limewood eatery at The Pulse, Thai chef Nuch Srichantranon (formerly of Mak Mak at LANDMARK) will be serving up signatures like whole steamed mullet with Thai herbs in a chilli-fish broth, chargrilled pork neck skewers with dark soy and coconut cream, jungle curry clams and banana roti pancake with condensed milk and chocolate. To whet your whistle, sip away on creative cocktails and mocktails, Thai iced teas and shaved ice drinks. For us, Thai makes for the perfect beachy eats, so we’ll be welcoming Sip Song with open arms (and bellies) – and our kids will too, what with Sip Song’s fab children’s play area, with giant Jenga, chalkboard art and beanbags aplenty.
G/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2328 8285 , firstname.lastname@example.org (bookings only for parties of 6 or above)
Situated next to the newly reopened Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is casual restaurant SOMM led by Chef Mario Paecke, featuring French neo-bistro dishes and Hong Kong’s largest selection of over 1,000 bottles of champagne, wine and sake. The former sous-chef at Amber, Chef Paecke has created a seasonal menu presenting predominantly Japanese ingredients crafted using French techniques. Expect dishes the likes of crispy white asparagus and tarragon sabayon, grilled Japanese pork with Jakarta cabbage salad and salmon confit with ikura and vinegar rice cream. A team of sommeliers under the guidance of Wine Director John Chan will pour the widest range of wine and sake by the glass available in Hong Kong to match guests’ dining experiences. A Sommelier’s Lunch is offered at the weekend. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 2132 0188, book online
Photo credit: Wingman
Following its successful PMQ incubator and Deliveroo experiences, Wingman has now flown the coop and opened a stand-alone 30-seat eatery in Central. Its USP is finger-lickin’-good chicken wings in a variety of flavours – from classic Buffalo style to Singapore “Zing”, with chilli crab as its inspiration – but the restaurant also serves up other dishes made with pulled chicken meat like the chipotle avo wrap.
6/F, Cheung Hing Commercial Building, 37–43 Cochrane Street, Central, 3426 2418
Nectar + Pollen Lab
There’s no need to shed a tear for the shuttering of Peggy Chan’s pioneering vegetarian eatery Grassroots Pantry (with its last service planned for 10 July 2019) now that we know that the chef is set to debut several new concepts later that month. Nectar elevates the Grassroots Pantry dining experience (in the same GP space), featuring holistic seasonal vegetarian tasting menus using locally grown ingredients. Another new concept is Pollen Lab, offering educational programmes, interactive workshops and cooking lessons and acting as a hub for R&D into plant-based and raw foods. Chef Chan’s The Collective’s Table initiative, which encourages local chefs to use plant-based ingredients and minimise waste, will also be expanded.
108 Hollywood Road, Central, 2873 3353
After more than a decade in a the biz perched atop LANDMARK, Bonnae Gokson’s drinking and dining destination SEVVA will be temporarily closing its doors (and amazing terrace) this summer for a full facelift. SEVVA is set to reopen in September – follow @sevvahk for updates.
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