While you can get nearly every cuisine imaginable in Hong Kong, sometimes it’s nice to have good ol’ Asian food with a twist. Asian fusion is not a new concept, but it feels like it’s been awhile since a new restaurant has done it well. When we heard of a new opening that was focusing on just this, we couldn’t wait to check it out and see if it would satisfy our cravings.
Fang Fang is located in LKF Tower on the 8th floor. Like many restaurants in the building (such as Cassio and Buenos Aires Polo Club), the interior design is well executed. Keeping in line with the restaurant’s contemporary Asian vibe, everything from the jasmine incense in the check-in area to the Chinese-style door knocker on the back of every chair reflects the theme.
We visited on a Thursday night, and the restaurant had quite the energetic party vibe going on, with dim lighting, loud music and the smell of incense drifting through.
At Fang Fang, the bar and restaurant are neatly divided. The bar area is quite spacious, and guests can choose to sit in booths, at high tables or at the lit-up bar counter. Looking at the menu, the cocktails section is based on the Five Elements theory in Chinese philosophy: water, wood, earth, fire and metal. In essence, this theory describes the natural cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth. Gagan Gurung, previously of Zuma and one of DW Magazine’s Top 25 Bartenders of 2017, has done a great job in creating dramatic cocktails, two from each element, that live up to the dramatic theory.
The Wu Shing ($110), from the Metal section, had a tropical vibe, with banana, lime, yoghurt and pineapple rum, and was given an Asian twist with the addition of Sichuan pepper and chilli. It was a refreshing combination that was more sophisticated than sweet. The Trai Dat ($110), from the Earth section, was another hit – a very Instagrammable and arguably healthy option – with pineapple, lemon, ginger, coconut milk and turmeric gin. While intrigued by the Black But Pure ($110), from the Water section, which included smoked tea, coffee and squid ink, this one was quite intensely flavoured; some may enjoy it as a dessert drink while others may find it too rich to stomach. For those interested in mocktail options, there are two to choose from: Southern Flavours ($80), which is apple juice based with kaffir lime leaf and basil, and Avocado Crush ($80), with coconut, avocado, mint and matcha.
There is also a decent-sized selection of spirits (including aged Japanese whisky) and wines.
Executive Chef Kent Lee, formerly of Hakkasan Mumbai and Kai Mayfair, has focused on blending spices and herbs into new combinations that work. Most of the sauces are made in house.
While waiting for our table, we snacked on crispy kale ($55) and prawn toast ($125) from the Posh Bites menu. Our bowl of kale chips came topped with fish floss – these were absolutely addictive. We also loved the prawn toast, where juicy and sizeable shrimp balls were coated in a sesame crust and placed atop small fried toast rounds. Both were awesome. We’d definitely come back just for these little numbers.
Then we tried a number of main course dishes. Our favourite main of the night was the Fang Fang–style paneer ($125). This was stir-fried and had the flavour of Southeast Asian carrot cake chunks (but with cheese!), with a moreish, spicy-sweet sauce and yellow chives. We also liked the char kway teow ($115), though it wasn’t anything like our favourite Singaporean version with cockles, Chinese sausage and lard. Fang Fang’s version is less heavy but has great wok hei and uses fat rice rolls instead of the usual combination of flat rice noodles and yellow noodles.
Most of the fish and meat dishes were also good. The jasmine-tea-smoked ribs ($125) were lightly smoked, and the meat was tender without being too fatty. The forest-honey-grilled Chilean sea bass ($275) came as a large portion to justify the price and was very moist with a sweet crust. There was a lot of oohing and aahing when the Fang Fang roasted duck ($495) was brought out. It was huge and came with the usual cucumber and spring onion accompaniments. What we especially loved, however, were the house-made wraps; egg is included in the batter, giving them a homey, comforting fragrance.
There were a few dishes that we hope will be refined for our next visit. The olive leaf stir-fried French beans ($85), stir-fried Wagyu tenderloin ($350) and soft-shell crab with curry leaf ($125) were all too salty. While we liked the size of the American-sushi-style king prawn and cucumber roll ($125), the flavour was a bit underwhelming.
Fang Fang is a promising new restaurant for Asian fusion, especially for those who like bold, trendy places. We feel the drinks and food are quite good overall, though some dishes could be slightly adjusted. Perhaps what will keep people coming back are the prices, which are quite reasonable for the quality, portion size and location.
Update (September 2017)
Fang Fang has recently unveiled the new Sin-Tok-Ho (a taste of Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong) lunch menu, priced at $158, $198 and $218 for one, two or three courses. On a recent quiet lunchtime visit, we sampled just about all of the offerings. The starters – a selection of soups including miso, prawn and pepper and veggie, plus a mixed green salad – were light and healthy, a nice precursor to the heartier mains. Of the mains, we liked the crispy-skinned Singapore-style roast chicken with gingery rice and homemade chilli sauce and the moreish char kway teow the most. For dessert, the passion fruit and pineapple sorbet was the standout: tart and refreshing. But the highlight of the lunch, perhaps surprisingly, was the signature pretty-as-a-picture iced teas, included in the set. Our favourite was the yuzu oolong for its citrus tang.
8/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, 2983 9083