Header photo: Bengal Brothers’ first-class rice bowls
UPDATE: since Friday, 7January, restaurants have not been able to provide evening dine-in services from 6pm, as announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and from Thursday, 10 February, all dine-in services have been restricted to two people per table. These restrictions are on the cards for the foreseeable future.
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After You Dessert Café
Following its huge success as a pop-up here last year, Thailand’s world-famous After You Dessert Café has opened a permanent spot in Causeway Bay. We lucky Hong Kongers can head to this cosy white and wooden space for a taste of the brand’s iconic honey toasts, kakigori (Japanese-style shaved ice, in flavours from Milo to mango sticky rice) and Thai milk tea. This luscious-looking salted egg toast is exclusive to the 852. Open daily, 12–6pm.
52 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, 2117 0665
Bengal Brothers (BaseHall)
Food hall extraordinaire BaseHall has a fab addition to its line-up with the opening of another branch of Indian street-food vendor Bengal Brothers. We love the bros’ kati rolls (grilled meat, veg, salad and chutney stuffed inside freshly made paratha) and “first-class” rice bowls. The BaseHall location features an exclusive low-carb grill set that includes poppadom, salad, a choice of grilled chicken tikka or paneer and a bevvy. Open Monday–Saturday, 8am till late.
LG/F, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, 3643 0865
Cookie Smiles’ Matcha Moon event at The Upper House (27 February, 2–6pm)
Home-grown social enterprise Cookie Smiles is celebrating the publication of their first children’s book, Matcha Moon, which tells the story of a trio of cookie-loving kids who help the less fortunate, by hosting this special family-friendly event on Sunday the 27th at The Upper House. Kids aged 6 and older will be able to enjoy a storytelling session, cookie-decorating workshop, mini nail and foot massages and lots more fun activities. Tickets ($150) each include a copy of Matcha Moon, and all funds raised will be used to offer training opportunities and jobs to the disadvantaged and physically impaired. Book online.
The Lawn, The Upper House, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2918 1838
K11 MUSEA’s garden pop-up (7–28 February)
Spring is in the air! K11 MUSEA’s latest pop-up sees the sixth floor of the shopping paradise transformed into an art-filled English garden estate that’s perfect for the ‘gram. Fortnum & Mason has also created a very special takeaway afternoon tea set ($1,500 for 2) that’s perfect for picnicking. It includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, tea cakes and a bottle of sparkling tea. In addition, various eateries throughout the MUSEA will be offering strawberry-themed treats throughout the month; we love the sound of Baekmidang’s strawberry milk ice cream ($72) and Gontran Cherrier’s strawberry danish choux ($38). The highlight of this pop-up, however, is the HK debut of Brooklyn-based Korean artist Stickymonger’s giant surreal strawberry creations at the ground-floor Opera Theatre and on the second floor at the Gold Ball.
Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 3892 3890
The team behind Mizunara have added another cool-cat Japanese cocktail lounge to their portfolio. Located in the M7 heritage building in Wanchai, Kuromaru is one of four experiences opening at the venue this month as part of an experiential Japanese-Western F&B concept dubbed Maison Meij. The bar’s shochu and awamori cocktails are uniquely complemented by a collection of rare vinyl records. Open daily, 12–6pm.
1/F, M7, 7 Mallory Street, Wanchai
Liu’s Chong Qing Hot Pot (ELEMENTS)
Global brand Liu’s Chong Qing Hot Pot has opened its second HK location at ELEMENTS, having debuted at Festival Walk last October. This Sichuan spot is sure to be just as popular with spice- and hotpot-loving Hong Kongers. Read our review of the Festival Walk branch. Open daily from 11:30am.
Nagamoto is the eponymous restaurant of Chef Teruhiko Nagamoto, a Kyoto native who has over 30 years of experience in Japanese fine dining. He’s the former head chef of three-Michelin-starred Kashiwaya in Osaka and its two-starred outpost in Hong Kong. Dining at Nagamato will be a very personal experience, with the chef and his team adjusting the seasonings, ingredients, cooking time and even the pace of serving through observations and interactions with guests. The restaurant is both kappo style, utilising an open kitchen and live cooking stations, and an embodiment of the shun philosophy of seasonality. Open Monday–Saturday from 6:30pm for dinner (currently open 1–3pm while COVID restrictions are in place).
8/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, 2520 5218
Orka Wellness Concept
Sustainable and health-focused menus are the name of the game at Orka Wellness Concept, with great options for both vegans and non-vegans alike. Meaning “energy” in Swedish, Orka was founded by functional medicine health coach Nobin John, and Chef Ching Tso, formerly a sous-chef at Michelin-starred Arcane, leads the kitchen. Signature gut-healthy à-la-carte dishes include Beet This Soup (a vegan soup made with beetroot, lime, coconut, pumpkin seeds and galangal), Aqua Spark Salad (seaweed, organic chives and gochujang, finished with applewood-smoked salmon or vegan herb-marinated jackfruit) and Bibimbap ZEN (a Korean-inspired rice dish topped with veg, kimchi and either beef tartare or soy-marinated jackfruit). There’s also a “quickie menu” featuring healthy sarnies and more, as well as a three-course set lunch menu. Open daily, 8am–6pm.
36 Wyndham Street, Central, 3489 1217
Once Discovery Bay is deemed safe for visitors, we’ll be heading to contemporary Chinese restaurant Peony. Serving both classic and creative Cantonese cuisine by Head Chef Chu Ting Kwok and Dim Sum Head Chef Tony Chan, who both boast years of Michelin-starred experience, dim sum and siu mei (barbecued meats) are the elegant restaurant’s specialities. Just take a gander at that crispy pork belly! Open daily from 11:30am on weekdays and 10am on weekends.
The Place Cake Shop
This gorgeous Japanese hojicha white peach mousse cake is one of a selection of signature sweet offerings at Cordis, Hong Kong’s new cake boutique, The Place Cake Shop, an extension of the hotel’s popular buffet restaurant, The Place. Supporting the community, Pastry Chef Roy Ma and his team use only premium flour produced by local icon Kowloon Flour Mills for selected cake items. All signature cakes – fresh fruit cream cake, hazelnut chocolate mousse cake, strawberry cream roulade and more – can be ordered online with 48-hour advance notice or purchased in person at The Place. Open daily, 11am–9pm.
Level L, Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, 3552 3200
Changing things up when restrictions hit bars, The Pontiac (currently 26 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list) is now known as The Ponty Café, serving up Ponty Melts (ham and cheese or triple cheese), coffee-based cocktails and more before sundown. Let’s give this fab bar our full support! Open daily, 11am–6pm.
13 Old Bailey Street, SoHo, Central, 2521 3855
The Roastery Academïcs
Home-grown coffee brand The Coffee Academïcs – which boasts 40 branches in the 852 as well as shops across SE Asia – is trebling its bean-roasting capabilities with the opening of The Roastery Academïcs, a 12,000-square-foot facility in Tuen Mun showcasing three state-of-the-art Dutch coffee roasters. The brand can now roast up to 800kg of beans a day, sourcing from 30 different single-origin beans worldwide. To celebrate the opening of The Roastery, The Coffee Academïcs is offering a few fab promotional offers, available until 14 February (just in time for V Day!), that include buy-one-get-one-free coffee capsules for new members, a 15% discount on 18 boxes of capsules for all members and a very special offering of 18 boxes of capsules to go along with The Morning Machine – the world’s first Nespresso-compatible capsule machine with 10 barista-designed controls – for $3,880 (the machine + 2 boxes of capsules usually retail at $3,280).
Sonia Coffee Retro Kissaten (H Code)
We somehow missed the opening of the first HK branch of this Kyoto-based coffee destination, at MOKO in Mongkok, but we’re pleased to here about this new opening at H Code in Central. Sonia Coffee Retro Kissaten’s siphon coffee made with house-roasted coffee beans is a signature, but this new shop also offers a wide range of tempting desserts – think handmade Japanese-inspired mochi by justformochi (made fresh each day), hot cakes in flavours of mixed berry, chestnut and chocolate brownie and an intriguing caramel latte pudding that sounds akin to a caffeinated crème caramel. If you’re in the mood for something savoury, check out the yōshoku (Western-influenced) lunch menu and order up the likes of mentaiko smoked salmon pasta or Japanese scallop pasta with wasabi soy sauce. Open daily, 8am–6pm (from 9am at the weekend).
Shop 2, G/F, The Steps, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, 3709 9275
Stecco Natura (Tai Kwun)
This gelato-on-a-stick brand started off in Hong Kong with a shop at The Peak, and they’ve now expanded to Central, landing at the historic site of Tai Kwun with a quintessentially Italian design (we’re loving that tiled fountain). Stecco Natura was founded in Sicily in 2012, and its gelato and sorbet flavours are 100% natural, vegan and gluten free. Open daily, 12–6pm.
Shop 10 & 13–G02, Block 10 & 13, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, 2320 2312
Probably the star of Hong Kong’s F&B openings this month, ZS Hospitality Group will debut modern Milanese trattoria Testina on Wednesday the 9th, an exciting collaboration with acclaimed eatery Trippa Milano in Italy. Classic regional Italian dishes made with a refined nose-to-tail approach are the focus of the compact menu, brought to life by Chef Marco Xodo, who was previously the chef de cuisine at two-Michelin-starred 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana Shanghai. Highlights include fried tripe (naturally), homemade pappardelle with lamb ragu and roasted bone marrow, staying clearly on the meaty side of the spectrum. Open Tuesday–Sunday, 12–6pm.
Test Kitchen’s omakase pop-up with Chef Tomiya Yu (19–20 February)
Next up for Test Kitchen, Japanese chef Tomiya Yu, the former chef de cuisine at Mizutani at ALVA HOTEL BY ROYAL, has crafted an innovative seven-course omakase menu ($1,380/person) that’s available at two lunch seatings (12pm and 3pm) on the 19th and 20th of the month. The menu features bean-curd skin with snow crab, seasonal sashimi, slow-cooked monkfish liver with ponzu sauce, A4 Kagoshima Wagyu with kombu, Wagyu and mushroom truffle rice with salmon roe, whisky ice cream and more modern Japanese stunners.
This multi-concept Japanese culinary space has quietly hit Kennedy Town. The four concepts spanning the 5,000-square-foot venue include Toge by Jyungin, a Hokkaido-inspired izakaya overseen by renowned Japanese chef Shimoji Atsushi where French-influenced robata cuisine is the focus. At all-day diner Eclipse by Luna Cafe & Bar, get yourself some yōshoku (Western-influenced) dishes such as uni carbonara and double cheesecake, while Osaka import Painduce is a bakery offering a selection of founder Masahiko Yoneyama’s famous baguette toast recipes. Before you leave, check out 81Station, which stocks Japanese merch and is the pickup location for online marketplace go81.com.
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