Header image: Butter Cake Shop’s red velvet candy cane cake
In light of COVID-19, we encourage diners to take precautions when going out. You can also support your favourite restaurants by getting takeaway and delivery.
Opening on Saturday, 19 December, Baked’s Zahir Mohamed is expanding his SoHo presence with the debut of Middle Eastern eatery Acme, a tribute to the chef’s heritage.
59 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, 2885 6066, book online
After You Dessert Cafe pop-up
Travelling may be a distant memory by now, but this winter, get a taste of Thailand at the After You Dessert Cafe pop-up in Causeway Bay. The wildly popular gourmet brand still inspires long queues in Bangkok and is well known for its chocolatey cookies and cakes as well as its pancake mixes. We can’t wait to try the salted egg nuggets! The pop-up will entice shoppers from 19 December– 10 January, opening daily, 11am–6pm. As their slogan goes, “There’s always room for dessert!”
52 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Ask for Alonzo (Happy Valley)
The third eatery in Alonzo’s repertoire, Ask for Alonzo is now open and serving in the Valley. This laid-back trattoria features authentic Italian favourites such as Roman meatballs, rigatoni amatriciana, spaghetti carbonara and tiramisu. Weekend brunch is particularly recommended, where diners can dig into inventive plates including breakfast carbonara, Uncle Tony’s Benedict and Breakfast in Tuscany (puttanesca mix, Parma ham and eggs atop toasted bread). Open daily, 11:30am–10pm, with brunch served from 8am at the weekend.
Butter Cake Shop pop-up
We’re fans of just about every cake and pie baked up by Black Sheep Restaurants’ online bakery Butter, so we’ll be making a mad dash to this extended pop-up, on from December until May 2021. All of Butter’s most popular goodies will be available by the slice ($80/pie slice or $90/cake slice), which means the likes of apple pie, banana cream pie, triple chocolate cake, cheesecake and more for festive feasting. Especially tempting is the launch of the red velvet candy cane cake (pictured top) in mid-December for the holidays. For the first time, two special drinks – strawberry limeade and a homemade root beer float – will be up for sipping. Whole cakes can be pre-ordered at the pop-up with 48 hours advance notice. Open daily, 10am–8pm.
Shop 239, 2/F, LANDMARK, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central
We think it’s quite brave to open C45 right now, a 10,000-square-foot club spanning the first and second floors of California Tower in Lan Kwai Fong. Featuring massive LED feature walls, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, a “cocktail cove” offering tapas and the largest private club suite in Hong Kong, seating up to 25 people, C45 is big in every way possible. Follow their Facebook page for opening details, even though you’ll have to be patient until social-distancing measures are eased before you can join the party.
1–2/F, California Tower, 30–32 D’Aguilar Street, LKF, Central
Dab-pa (Sha Tin)
With restaurants in TST, Kwun Tong and Tung Chung, modern Chinese restaurant, Dab-pa has now opened up a brand-new location in Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza. Dab-pa’s head chef, Kung Ping, aims to introduce diners to more diverse Sichuan flavours, highlighting balance rather than focusing solely on heat. However, chilli- and spice-laden dishes are still on the menu for those who can’t resist that fiery tingle! Signature dishes include Nanjing-style sweet-and-sour fish, California sea bass with pickled cabbage and chilli and a unique sweet wine soup.
Shop 112, 1/F, Phase 1, New Town Plaza 1, 18–19 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, 26213233
Dang Wen Li pop-up (ifc mall)
For a limited time, now those Island side can more easily get a taste of master baker Dominique Ansel’s textbook-perfect traditional viennoiserie, stunning HK-inspired pastries and fun festive treats at this Dang Wen Li takeaway-only pop-up at ifc mall. Will Chef Ansel’s elusive cronuts make an appearance? We’ll have to wait and see when it opens at 1:30pm on Friday, 18 December.
Shop 1025B, 1/F, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central
Date by Tate
Date by Tate offers a selection of gastronomy box sets, desserts for gifting and seasonal ready-to-eat takeaway creations by Vicky Lau’s Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room, now in a brick-and-mortar shop after having launched online this past summer. Beautiful homeware and lifestyle accessories are also up for grabs. Highlights for the winter season include chocolate brioche, almond madeleines, elaborate cakes, DIY frozen cookie dough and Chef Lau’s signature gastronomy boxes – takeaway meal sets made with zero-waste packaging, this time with a festive twist. Limited-edition Christmas hampers are also available. Open Wednesday–Sunday, 11:30am–7:30pm.
210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 6730 2494
Some of you may recognise the gorgeous entranceway above, where sustainable Chinese restaurant John Anthony once stood – except now it’s new Chinese gastrobar Duckee. We don’t have a lot of info as yet (now we do – read our review), other than seeing shots of their artfully presented signature dishes on Instragram, which run the gamut from xiao long bao, to crispy Japanese crab claw, to Sichuan simmered fish slices. And the star of this show? Peking duck, of course. Open daily, 11:30am–11pm.
Flakes & Layers pop-up (LANDMARK)
For the next three months, model-turned-patissier Amanda’s Strang’s oonuts – the millefeuille-doughnut hybrids that have taken Hong Kong by storm – will be available at the LANDMARK Flakes & Layers pop-up along with other limited-time treats (we have our beady eyes on the chestnut log cake with mandarin filling). Open Monday–Saturday, 11am–7pm, and Sunday, 12–6pm.
The Grand GELINAZ! Shuffle
UPDATE: due to the increasing cases of COVID-19, The Grand GELINAZ! Shuffle will be postponed until January/February 2021.
Held annually, this year’s The Grand GELINAZ! Shuffle sees cutting-edge chefs’ collective GELINAZ! organising a unique worldwide food performance where 130 chefs from 15 cities swap their recipes for one day. But it’s a little different this time around – chefs who have lost their restaurants owing to the pandemic have anonymously sent their menus to teams in cities where their restaurants are currently operating. The chefs are encouraged to riff and reinterpret the dishes with their own personal philosophy and approach. For the 2020 edition here in Hong Kong, the chefs shaking things up with their creative culinary interpretations are May Chow of Happy Paradise (team leader), Agustin Balbi of Andō, Ricardo Chaneton of MONO, Matt Abergel of Yardbird and RONIN, Menex Cheung of China Tang and Stephanie Wong of Roots Eatery. The one-night-only eight-course dinner menu on Thursday, 3 December ($2,888/person) includes drink pairings and performances by local talents. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local charity Principal Chan, which provides learning support to underprivileged children.
The Hari Hong Kong
Lucciola’s veal Milanese
Harilela Hotels’ eagerly anticipated luxury bolthole The Hari Hong Kong opens this month, and with it comes two restaurants. Lucciola Restaurant & Bar is the elegant Italian offering, led by Piedmont-born chef Francesco Gava, whipping up Italian classics with a modern twist alongside a cocktail bar that oozes old-world glamour. Sleek Japanese restaurant Zoku Restaurant & Terrace is split into a lounge area, dining room and terrace bar. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Phillip Pak, who has worked alongside celebrated Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
330 Lockhart Road, Wanchai
A brand-spanking-new bakery slap bang in Central, Homebake’s signature is its low-temperature fermentation loaf, inspired by Japan’s oh-so-soft and fluffy shokupan. These loaves come in a wide range of flavour options, from rich cheese, to maple coconut walnut, to sesame red bean Kyoto matcha. Other baked goodies are omsubi bread stuffed with rice and various fillings, baked-to-order millefeuille and ever-trendy Basque cheesecake. To balance all those carbs, Homebake also offers a selection of SuperBowl salads as well as freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Open weekdays, 7:30am–9pm, and weekends and public holidays, 8:30am–8:30pm.
Shop B, G/F, Melbourne Plaza, 33 & 33A Queen’s Road Central, Central
Fusion gastropub Ita Meshi melds Japanese and Italian flavours in a relaxed, urban-chic setting. The menu presents intriguing signature dishes such as watermelon burrata with matcha sea salt, tsukemen soba alla carbonara, Hokkaido scallop, Japanese crab roe and mushroom risotto and US Black Angus hanger steak tagliata with green tea soy sauce matched with a bevvy program focused on beer, sake and shochu. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch available at the weekend.
Short for Joint Asian Market, J.A.M. is a unique contemporary food hall focused on authentic cuisines from around Asia. A project by ZS Hospitality Group, J.A.M. will open in late December showcasing four concepts by award-winning chefs (pictured left to right): Uncle Quek (Singaporean faves by Chef Barry Quek), SiFu (dim sum with a twist by Chef Cheung Kin-Ming), Moi Moi (Vietnamese classics by Chef Dinh Dinh-Tuan) and Mamalee Market (Korean dishes by Chef Song Ha-seul-lam). Opening details TBC.
Lobby, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central
Peak Galleria has recently undergone a big transformation in its F&B offerings, and the latest addition is DON DON DONKI offshoot Jonetz Market, opening on Friday, 18 December. Designed like the Japanese yatai-style food markets (yatai = food cart) that are popular at festival fairs in Nippon, Jonetz Market’s USP is Japanese street food in all its glory – takoyaki (grilled octopus balls), yakitori (chicken skewers), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), dorayaki (red bean pancakes) and oh so much more! Open daily, 10am–10pm.
Shop 112–113, 1/F, Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak
Meat the Sea
Premium European deli Meat the Sea is set to open a flaghip store – deli and restaurant – in Sheung Wan mid-month (in Grassroots Pantry’s former space, to be exact), after having earlier launched a brick-and-mortar shop in Sai Ying Pun last year. Meat the Sea is founded by husband-and-wife duo Anne and Patrick Verhoeven, who are also the founders of Sheung Wan favourite 238 restaurant and European seafood importer Holland Seafood Trade.
Mövenpick x Interval pop-up
It’s never too cold for ice cream! Throughout the month of December, Interval Coffee Bar is partnering with beloved ice-cream brand Mövenpick to bring customers a range of festive desserts. There are three enticing treats to choose from: Boxing Day, which features cold-brew coffee-chocolate ice cream with salted caramel and coconut, Thanksgiving, with its bright pink raspberry sorbet, hand-picked raspberries and herb oil, and the indulgent Alba’s Winter, which combines creamy vanilla ice cream with fragrant white truffle cream, mint, blueberries and edible flowers. Sounds like a magical way to step into winter. Open weekdays from 8am till late (Saturdays from 10am).
UG/F, 33 Wellington Street, Central, 2570 7568
NINETYs Roastery (Causeway Bay)
Aussie-style cafés are all the rage, and now NINETYs has opened a third branch in very swanky Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay – the café’s first franchise project. As its name suggests, this shop has its own roasting room, with two main types of coffee featured: bespoke espresso blends from Zest in Melbourne and pourover single-origin coffee courtesy of Taiwan’s Taster’s Coffee. NINETYs’ popular brunchy food menu has been transformed to showcase different options for daytime and nighttime noshing, to include fine-dining dishes. Open daily, 8am–10pm.
Shop 116, 1/F, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, 2167 8684, book online
Oookie Cookie pop-up (LANDMARK)
Online bakery Oookie Cookie recently debuted their second pop-up store at LANDMARK, offering a beautiful selection of creative cakes, cookies and other treats. For cakes shaped like instant ramen, meringues shaped like poo emojis and a whole range of personalised Christmas treats, look no further than this sweet spot! Open daily, 10:30am–7:30pm, until 28 February 2021.
Shop 109A, 1/F, LANDMARK, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 9220 9622
Self-dubbed street-food pizzeria PALA’s claim to fame is that its artisanal pizza dough is fermented for a whopping 72 hours, making for a fluffy yet thin and easily digestible crust. Run by a chef who was raised in Rome, PALA serves both classic 12-inch round pizzas and smaller pizza alla pala, which are pizza squares originating in Rome that come with a wide selection of toppings, vegan and vegetarian included. The pala carbonara and pala arrabbiata (pictured) are popular pizza alla pala options. There’s a great little al-fresco patio too. Open daily, 11am–10pm, with a daily happy hour from 5–7pm offering buy-one-get-one-free beer, wine and cocktails plus complimentary mini pizzas.
7–10 Amoy Street, Wanchai, 6979 1332
Passepartout Brunch & Coffee
A new all-day brunch spot has just opened up in Causeway Bay. Passepartout Brunch & Coffee presents international fusion dishes using Hong Kong culinary elements. Inspired by all-day Canadian cafés, some of the creative dishes include the Calcutta (pictured), their signature butter chicken waffle. The tea and coffee offerings sound just as unique, with drinks like the naked yuenyeung (traditionally a blend of Ceylon tea and coffee), which skips the milk and replaces the Ceylon tea with pu’er. Open daily, 9am–6pm. Read our review.
Shop 2, G/F, Chung Wai Commercial Building, 447–449 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, 2882 0828 (no bookings)
We love the charming outdoor space at Tai Kwun newcomer PAZTA, an Italian pasta bar reminiscent of those found in piazzas throughout Italy. The affordably priced eatery has something for everyone – lunch and dinner set menus, a kids’ menu, Italian-style afternoon tea, daily happy hour and, our favourite, Aperitivo Tuesday Treat, which includes a complimentary antipasti buffet from 6–9pm (when COVID restrictions ease). Open daily from 10am.
Rise by Classified
No stranger to quality baked goods, Rise by Classified is Classified Group’s new artisan bakery and café concept, opening its doors on Monday, 21 December. From a selection of pastries to savoury bites like the signature Rise burger, this sounds like another great all-day dining spot from Classified. Rise has also partnered with local brands such as PÜRA VÏDA, Alive Food and Nicole’s Kitchen to offer products with wellness in mind – these include the likes of pumpkin spiced granola, blueberry cashew cream cheese and grapefruit rose kombucha. Open weekdays, 9am–8pm, and Saturday, 8am–5pm.
Shop 313, 3/F, Exchange Square Podium, 8 Connaught Place, Central, 2147 3454
Opening on Tuesday, 22 December, SAKImoto Bakery, originating in Osaka, will bring its beloved shokupan to bread-loving Hong Kongers. Known as Japanese milk bread, SAKImoto’s natural shokupan actually doesn’t use any milk or eggs, making it ideal for those with dietary intolerances. Another bread signature is the indulgent milk butter shokupan, made with milk and cream from Hokkaido combined with butter and honey. To slather on your bread, SAKImoto has developed its “jewel jam” series, with three categories of jams – fruit, milk (made with Hokkaido milk and cream infused with sugar and condensed milk) and Japonisme (milk jams inspired by traditional Japanese desserts) – featuring 15 flavours. We had an early media treat and got to dig into the shokupan jam set, with the shokupan in question coming with nine grid marks, allowing us to put different flavours of jam in each grid – how fun! Open daily, 9am–8pm.
Shop 3208, 3/F, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST
Today Is Long (TIL)
Sai Ying Pun Aussie-style café TIL has taken over the ‘gram with its bright and airy shop in eye-catching burnt orange and white. Either head to the bi-fold window for a takeaway coffee by sustainable roaster Small Batch in Melbourne or step inside to take your pick from a menu curated in two sections: Short Day (black or white coffee) and Long Day (combo shots, pourover or cold brew) – all with plant-based milk options available at no extra charge. We’ve also heard rave reviews about TIL’s made-to-order croffles (croissant x waffle), served with a range of sweet and savoury toppings. Open daily, 7:30am–6pm.
G/F, Kin Hing Building, 172–180 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Marking Italian chocolatier Venchi’s 12th shop in Hong Kong, this latest branch at apm mall in Kwun Tong is the first to feature a lounge area where shoppers can enjoy their gelato – 16 flavours and counting – and brand-new gelato dessert creations (pictured), on the menu from late December. Open daily, 10am–10pm.
Shop C-16, C/F, apm, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, 2117 8935
The first overseas outpost of the famed yakiniku restaurant founded in Kobe, Japan, Yakiniku Ishidaya features over 20 selections of premium beef cuts, from Kobe Wagyu to other top-of-the-range Japanese cattle breeds, for grilling. All meat options are directly imported from Japan, hand-picked by founder Kiyonori Ishida. Open daily from Friday, 11 December for lunch and dinner.
3/F, Century Square, 1–13 D’Aguilar Street, Central, 2983 6838
Quite a different yakiniku experience from the restaurant above, Yakiniku Like from Tokyo is all about solo grilling, perfect in these times of social distancing. Opening in late December, this fast-casual yakininu concept, with 50 outlets across Asia, features smokeless private grills for one and a contactless ordering experience (as well as shared grills when group dining becomes a thing again). Opening details TBC.
New Town Plaza, 18–19 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin (exact shop information to come)
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