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What’s the key to a good mac ’n’ cheese?
Obviously, cheese is the most important ingredient, but not any old cheese will do. Using lighter cheeses such as mozzarella or ricotta result in subtler flavours, while using stronger Cheddars or blue cheeses sharpen a mac’s taste.
When it comes to texture, creaminess is next to godliness – no one likes a dry mac!
What about toppings? Sometimes additions like truffle or bacon can elevate an mac, while at other times, simple truly is best.
We’ve scoured Hong Kong to find the macs with the best balance of all these elements.
Best Homestyle: Brut!
One of the things we love most about beloved Sai Ying Pun eatery Brut! is their focus on locally sourced ingredients and healthy, veggie-loaded dishes. However, we’re not thinking about our health when we order the Roquefort mac and cheese ($98). Traditional macaroni is replaced with pasta shells that really soak up that sharp blue cheese sauce. The way the cheese and pasta crisp at the top reminds us of mac ‘n’ cheese like Mum makes.
Best Truffle: MEATS
Truffle mac ‘n’ cheese has recently become quite popular, along with many other truffle-loaded food trends. In mac and cheese, truffle can often be overpowering and distract from the cheesy goodness. However, the truffle mac ‘n’ cheese ($90) at MEATS perfectly balances both the truffle and cheese flavours, with the result being a subtle, extremely creamy treat.
Best Side: Smoke & Barrel
While mac and cheese can easily be an entire meal, in true Southern BBQ style, Smoke & Barrel offers mac and cheese as a side to their hearty, meaty dishes. The sharp taste of their mac & cheese ($88) comes from the addition of British Cheddar, while the mozzarella makes for a smooth texture. We also enjoy the shallot-dust topping, which becomes nice and crispy from the grill.
Best Fusion: Second Draft
Some foodies are mac and cheese purists, while others find the classic version far too boring. Stepping outside the box as usual is Second Draft. Available as part of the restaurant’s weekend brunch menu, this May Chow–designed mac & cheese ($88) offers a strong umami-laced flavour owing to the smoked cheese sauce, inaka miso and bonito flakes used. The impressive smoky flavours manage not to overpower the dish while creating a distinctly savoury and satisfying mac and cheese.
Best of All: FINI’S
Photo credit: @audrey.eats
We saved the best for last! Our favourite mac ‘n’ cheese on the Hong Kong cheese scene has hands down got to be the SNT mac ‘n’ cheese ($99) at FINI’S. When Stone Nullah Tavern closed back in 2019, we were genuinely concerned that their glorious mac would be gone forever. However, the SNT folks knew they had a good thing going, and when they rebranded as FINI’S, the mac ‘n’ cheese remained on the menu. Topped with chopped scallion and a glorious egg yolk, which is mixed in after serving to add an extra layer of richness, there is no mac ‘n’ cheese as decadent, cheesy or satisfying in the 852.
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