Alicia Walker, Editor-in-Chief
It’s unbelievably difficult to choose a favourite meal when Hong Kong is teeming with some of the finest restaurants in the world. So since I had a once-in-a-lifetime trip with my mum and sister this year, I am going to have to choose a meal abroad this one time. I had the rare pleasure of visiting Paris in October and the even rarer pleasure of dining at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée. Under the preparation of Chef Romain Meder, Chef Ducasse’s visionary new Naturalness menu highlights the vibrant colours, textures and flavours of natural foods with a lightness that still maintains a special haute-cuisine application. The dishes were incredibly precise and artfully executed and created a variation on elementary ingredients that was completely unique. There are many exceptional reasons for the enduring three Michelin stars at Plaza Athenée, and two of them are the cauliflower gratin with chestnut butter and Jessica Préalpato, the head pastry chef and winner of The World’s Best Pastry Chef award this year. It is not an embellishment to say that this was not only my most memorable meal of 2019 but also my meal of a lifetime. Chef Ducasse is not content to rest on his laurels; he continues to innovate, adapt to the changing times and be at the front of change.
Jeniffer Chiat, Events & Communications Associate
It’s a tough choice to pick a favourite meal in what has been a truly delicious year, but my fondest food memory of 2019 has to be my summer meal at La Petite Maison. The restaurant is vibrant and elegant, with crisp white tablecloths and quirky art adorning the walls. The service is truly exceptional – friendly and attentive without being overbearing. As for the food, I couldn’t fault a single dish. From the warm prawns in olive oil and incredibly addictive, garlic-heavy escargots to the creamy burrata and tender rack of lamb with spiced couscous, every dish was packed with fresh, high-quality ingredients and flavour. I consider myself a bit of a cocktail connoisseur, and LPM has one of the best cocktails around: the Tomatini. Not usually one for tomato-based drinks, I only tried it because it was described as “the essence of La Petite Maison”, but I immediately became obsessed with its perfect blend of sweet and savoury. A meal with drinks at La Petite Maison can easily set you back around HK$1,000 per head, however, the price tag comes with no pretension but what is sure to be a dream come true for your taste buds. All I want for Christmas is another meal at LPM! Read my full review.
Celia Hu, Editor-at-Large
Sometimes, the best meals are the ones you go in blind with no expectations. There hadn’t been much fanfare or hype around Ryota Kappou Modern (which is now a Michelin 2020 winner), so the stylish, modern venue in the same building as culinary greats like Arcane was a mystery to me. We sat down with minimal pretence and were blown away by Chef Ryota Kanesawa’s culinary masterpieces. Each dish shows its roots in traditional Japanese cuisine, yet has innovative twists that aren’t pretentious or OTT. Highlights include the delicate foie gras rice wafer dotted with red fruits, shiso and aged mirin and the silky-smooth matsuba crab chawanmushi. A tasting menu here costs a few thousand bucks, but it’s well worth the splurge. It was so delicious that I went back with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Read my full review.
Dale Foo, IT Specialist
Without a doubt, my best meal this year was at Zuma for the eatery’s Baikingu brunch. At $548 for food only or $688 for the cheapest drinks package, it is too extravagant to be a regular occurrence, but Zuma’s brunch is an event in itself and never disappoints. Along with the buffet of Kumamoto oysters, sashimi and Japanese delectables, you are able to order a main. Whilst the grilled rib-eye with truffle sauce is difficult to go past, the real star of the mains is the salted grilled hamachi kama with lemon – fall-apart tender, moist, with a salted crust. Oh, also look out for one of the most crowd-pleasing dessert spreads ever.
Angela Wong, Events & Communications Associate
Who says the best meal of the year has to be related to fine-dining or high-end eating? To me, the best meal this year was at Santorini, a restaurant that brings back the authentic flavours of Greece. All the memories of the trip I took to Santorini appeared in front of my eyes the moment I had a taste of the restaurant’s Greek salad. Make sure you also try the kolokithokeftedes (courgette and feta fritters) and gyros. Oh man – they are just as good as the ones I had in Greece.
Shirin Ong, Chief Operating Officer
Photo credit: Feather & Bone
Nothing stereotypically fancy, but I discovered Feather & Bone’s Wagyu tenderloin at their Wanchai outpost this year, and my new favourite meat holds a very special place in my 2019 calories (and memories). Incredibly lean yet tender, perfectly charred and served with a smidgen of salt and a dab of peppercorn sauce, I washed it down with a glass of red. Deliciously simple, yet simply delicious – and reasonably priced. Still, you say, steak was your best meal of 2019? More fundamentally, I’ve also come to better appreciate that steak – in our climate-changing, doomsday-clock-ticking, global-warming times – will and should increasingly become a luxurious occasional treat and not an everyday experience. Becoming flexitarian is still a personal struggle (and a likely resolution for 2020), but I’ll venture to say that a mental shift is as good a place to start as any. Meat is a treat – eaten in moderation, with respect for quality and provenance and mindful appreciation of these dining luxuries that future generations will hopefully still have a chance to enjoy in the years to come.
Stephanie Pliakas, Digital Editor
Also named our Foodie Forks 2019 Editors’ Choice Best New Restaurant, British chef Simon Rogan’s farm-to-table Roganic is where I had my best meal this year, and the critics agree – it’s now been crowned with one Michelin star. Fine dining that’s a bargain – we had a whopping 15 courses in the full tasting menu, which is priced at $980 – I love the “bespoke” aspect of the restaurant, where each element of each seasonal dish is either made or grown in-house or sourced specifically, many times locally, for the restaurant. I first tried Roganic back in March, but Chef Oli Marlow’s truffle pudding amuse-bouche – an indulgently savoury take on the traditional British bread and butter pudding – remains my best bite of 2019! I returned recently to the restaurant for lunch, and my experience was just as stunning as the one I had there nearly nine months ago. In addition to the premium ingredients, culinary innovation and flair, the charming, knowledgeable staff are what make Roganic my winner. Read my full review.
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