Giving New York a run for its money, Hong Kong
is climbing the ranks as one of the world’s most diverse food capitals. As it begins to draw in culinary talent from around the world, not a month goes by without a new restaurant unveiling. Whether it’s the best seafood flown in by chartered plane or an art collection personally curated by Turner Prize winners, Hong Kong restaurants don’t do things by half. Here are some of our favorite to visit when in town.
Residing on trendy Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, Bibo is packed with just as many famous names as its namesake street. If you’re looking for an eating experience rather than just a dining destination, look no further than Bibo. Stepping in through the inconspicuous automatic doors, it’s immediately evident Bibo’s interior has no intentions of being subtle, especially when it comes to its dual gallery meets restaurant personality. Kaws’ imposing wooden sculpture, a controversial take on Mickey Mouse, takes centre stage as the heart of the restaurant. Diners are surrounded by walls featuring the iconic scrawls of some of the world’s most provocative street artists, including iconic British-born Banksy and the unmistakable Space Invader-inspired art of the eponymous Invader. If patrons can spare a minute to take their eyes away from the art offerings, then Bibo has fast become a household name on the Gourmet French scene in the city and its food is not to be overshadowed by its décor.
Bibo, 163 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +2956 3188
One the Black Sheep Restaurant Group can lay claim to, Carbone was set up by New Yorker Mario Carbone looking for the next best thing in the Big Apple’s gastro scene. With its Mothership restaurant in New York commanding a furor in the press in recent years for celebrity clientele, Michelin-starred Carbone now occupies the foodie-friendly LKF tower in the heart of Hong Kong’s party district. Mario Carbone, in collaboration with the team at Black Sheep, dishes up hearty and comforting Italian grub with a homely New York twist. All this is served in front of a backdrop of captivating contemporary modern art, handpicked and collated by acclaimed curator Vito Schnabel.
Ho Le Fook
Not all of Hong Kong’s so-called Art Restaurants boast a who’s-who menu of familiar names. Some, like Ho Lee Fook, draw in the crowd simply for their eccentric and somewhat flamboyant décor. Firstly, the restaurant is a lesson in never judging a book by its cover, as the seemingly crude name translates literally as ‘good fortune for the mouth’. Expect traditional eats by Chef Jowett including delectable dumplings and every imaginable fried vegetable combination. To complement the food, the feature back wall boasts a striking, light-infused dragon mural and a detailed stencil-esque bar made up of Chinese characters. Ho Le Fook’s interior is masterminded by Sean Dix of Dix Design and Architecture, one of the city’s most notable restaurant designers.
With the tagline ‘honest about art, serious about food’, Duddell’s is a social and cultural hangout which was founded with the intention of becoming a meeting place for art aficionados, so that they may appreciate their surroundings as much as their food. The setting at Duddell’s encourages creative discussion and imaginative thinking, all stimulated by the laid back vibe that simultaneously oozes stylish sophistication. A melting pot of design, in both the architecture and the unique pieces on display, Duddell’s has the surprise factor which is discovered with each room explored. What’s even more surprising is despite its emphasis on art, Duddell’s proudly holds two Michelin stars. Signature dishes include crispy salted chicken and fried lobster with scallions and shallots.
Aberdeen Street Social
Restaurant, Wine Bar, British, $$$
Aberdeen Street Social
Chef Jason Atherton is renowned world-over from London to Singapore and, of course, now in Hong Kong. Having come through the ranks alongside Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey, Atherton branched off to find success in his own right and it seems he has the Midas touch. Housed on the trendy PMQ site alongside a warren of over 100 design and creative units, Aberdeen Street Social fits right in. As a design hub, PMQ houses exhibitions and gallery space, whilst Aberdeen Street Social provides the refreshments for exhibitors and visitors alike. This multi-dimensional space functions as a shop, café, restaurant, private dining venue and cocktail bar. The a la carte menu is unique only to restaurant patrons where sampling the Wagyu Ribeye for two with truffle mac, cheek and cheese is a must. Abderdeen Street Social is designed by award winning duo Neri & Hu and has their trademark clinical yet chic lines written all over it.
Abderdeen Street Social, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0300
Hong Kong restaurants are partial to a wall mural, as is Mama San with its nod to local Balinese life and culture. The man behind its concept, Will Meyrick, is an Aussie who calls Indonesia home. Through larger than life art, Meyrick has brought Indonesia to life in this light and airy space. As one of the few establishments in Central with an open-air dining terrace, Mama san brings the outdoors in in true Balinese style, complete with quirky alfresco mirrors. The menu infuses flavours from eight different Asian cuisines, including Malay and Thai. As long as you’re prepared for the Asian kick, the menu is varied enough for all palates, featuring the best seafood, meat and vegetables of the continent.
Mott 32 opened with a bang in 2014 as one of the most talked about restaurant unveilings of the year. In a city saturated with choice, Mott 32 had a premise steeped in tradition and has made a promise to pay homage to local Cantonese fare in all its glory through a fine dining experience. Complementing the sought-after menu is the aesthetically intriguing décor of Mott 32, having won the award for World Interior of the Year 2014 for its unusual, eclectic feel. Designer Joyce Wang can take credit for the New York loft-style high ceilings which are fused with intricate metal and rope detailing that serves as a nod to the local fishing culture. Wang uses mirrors and artificial skylights to feign natural light in this basement location, which gives the restaurant its light and airy composure.
Kee Club is a pleasant surprise in the usual repertoire of Private Members Club in the city. Not all that private, Kee Club combines art and food like no other. Muted primary colours of red, blue and green and traditional grand furnishings and chandeliers sit alongside an eclectic collection of modernist paintings. A household name in Central for almost 15 years, Kee Club houses an impressive collection of original artwork from the likes of Picasso, a collection nearly as remarkable as the list of trendy DJs who have played sets there. Visit at lunchtime for Dim Sum delights or in the evening for a Mediterranean feast. Butter up a member, or just try smiling on the door and you’ll find Kee Club earns its badge as the least pretentious private members club in existence.
Visitors to the dark side of Hong Kong, or Kowloon as it’s also known, are welcomed by an impressive 16 page menu at Ming Court, the fine-dining destination of the Langham Place Hotel. In keeping with the local and very traditional food preferences of Mongkok, Ming Court has a lengthy list of Cantonese favourites such as Abalone, with a few more highbrow ingredients thrown in for good measure. The real treat of Ming Court however, is the decadent interior of the main spherical dining room. Marvel at the modern Chinese ink paintings or the Chinese ceramic ware hailing from the Ming Dynasty.
Occupying a four-floored food oasis in an old pawn shop, The Pawn boasts the youngest chef ever to gain a Michelin star. After a stellar and speedy refurbishment in the latter part of 2014, The Pawn has now reopened and is an edgy, stark contrast to its former self. Long-gone is the old-world colonial décor, dark wood and emerald green colour palette and it’s in with the pastel colours, bold prints and quirky light fittings. Sticking with a tried and tested method, Pawn continues its long-established collaboration with local artist Stanley Wong, showcasing his specially commissioned artwork. As for the cuisine, Chef Tom Aitkens brings his experience of British home cooking to the table with a gourmet twist. Try one of four takes on Macaroni Cheese or splash the cash on his specialty venison.