After a hiatus of two years, our Best of the Year Awards returned in the eighth edition of the Tatler Dining Awards, highlighting the grit and tenacity of Hong Kong's F&B industry

As Hong Kong finds itself in the fifth and most severe wave of the COVID-19 pandemic yet, Tatler Dining pressed ahead with our annual awards ceremony this month, albeit safely in an all-new virtual format that continues to stay true to the founding mission of the awards programme—to celebrate the achievements of Hong Kong's F&B industry at large.

The 2022 edition of the Tatler Dining Awards was live-streamed on YouTube at 7pm on Monday, 21 February 2022. While current government restrictions prevented our marquee event of the year from being held amidst the company of friends, colleagues and industry leaders, we have nevertheless endeavoured to capture the travails, camaraderie, reflection, and perhaps even glimmers of hope that everybody involved in the food and drink trade is collectively feeling at this most challenging time in recent memory. 

Reflecting the creativity and tenacity of the F&B industry, this year's winners and nominees have demonstrated daring and resilience to earn a spot in the running for each of our awards. Also new to this edition is the Impact Award, given to a group or individual who has made a real impact on Hong Kong's dining scene in the last year, while the Best Sommelier award makes a return to recognise an individual who not only knows their wine, but elevates the dining experience with their curation and recommendations.

Without further ado, read on to find out the full list of winners and nominees for the Tatler Dining Awards Hong Kong 2022.

Related: Tatler Dining's Best Of The Year Awards 2019-2020

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Best Service: Caprice

A venue that consistently goes above and beyond to create a memorable dining experience

People may come to Caprice for the exceptional cuisine, but it’s the service that makes them feel right at home. From the moment guests arrive at the restaurant, they are greeted by name: a rule which remains for the rest of the meal. Under the watchful eye of restaurant director Samuel Vouilloux, dishes are served with detailed and knowledgeable introductions, difficult diners are handled with discreet aplomb, and no request is ever too large. The perfect summary can be found in the requisite cheese course: hoisted tableside on a hefty wooden board by two waiters, the cheeses are curated and carved by the table’s captain with a degree of pride that would make even the cheese makers blush.

Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Belon
  • Chaat
  • Roganic
  • Whey

Best Interior Design: Estro

A venue that makes the best visual impact and unforgettable first impression

André Fu has designed many of the most photogenic restaurants in Hong Kong, but for his latest project with JIA Group, he went fully left-field with a design brief that tasked him with recreating an Italian salotto (sitting room). What ensues is a whimsical sojourn into the aesthetics of Neapolitan nostalgia, where intricate wallpaper patterns in burnt amber and turquoise contend with mahogany panelling, pink Calcutta marble, and murals by artist Elsa Jean de Dieu. The result is a totally transportive experience, big on the visuals but the intimate proportions of which simultaneously uplift rather than outshine the cooking of Antimo Maria Merone and his team.

Estro, 2/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • The Aubrey
  • Belon
  • Chaat
  • Man Wah

Best Pastry Chef: Joanna Yuen, Ando

Someone who has stunned with their technical skill as well as their innovation in the world of desserts

In 2019, Joanna Yuen was identified as one of Tatler Dining’s Rising Stars and subsequently took home the Best Pastry Chef award for her work at Nobu in The InterContinental Hong Kong. Since then, Yuen has only gotten stronger and even more determined to push the boundaries of dessert and pastry; as part of the founding team of Ando, Yuen has been able to complement chef Agustin Balbi’s gastronomic narrative with her own perspective, creating desserts rooted in nostalgia and presented with an almost avant-garde aesthetic. Her sugar work is meticulous and ethreal, and the entire architecture of her dessert—not only how it looks on the plate, but how the light might hit it, perhaps—is considered endlessly to create a sense of awe. Yuen’s secret ingredient above all? It’s pure and simple: grit. 

Ando, 1F, Somptueux Central, 52 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Cyrus Yan (Ecriture)
  • Graf Kwok (Tate)
  • Holger Deh (Essentia)
  • Ringo Chan (Four Seasons)

Local Champion: Danny Yip, The Chairman

A group or individual who has made a real contribution to promoting or championing local Hong Kong food culture

The Chairman has been quietly building its singular vision of what Cantonese cuisine could be since 2009, but the past year has been a watershed, bringing the humble restaurant all the recognition, all at once. The man responsible for bringing Cantonese gastronomy under the global spotlight is, of course, founder Danny Yip, whose obsessive approach towards evolving the cuisine has created dishes that land squarely at the intersection of history, technique, and imagination. That his creations evoke acute nostalgia without ever having been made outside of The Chairman’s four walls speaks to Yip’s mastery of his craft—and the unbridled for the future of Cantonese food at large.

The Chairman, 18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Gigi Ng (Ser Wong Fun)
  • KC Ho (Ping Yuen Chicken)
  • Shane Osborn (The Arcane Collective)
  • Vicky Cheng (VEA and Wing)

Sustainability Champion: Zero Foodprint Asia

A group or individual in the F&B industry who has made significant contributions towards bettering the environment

Peggy Chan launched Zero Foodprint Asia last June as a natural continuation of her lifelong mission to transform our dining habits for the better. Utilising her experience running sustainable food consultancy Grassroots Initiatives, Chan’s newest venture goes even further to effect systemic change—namely, to create a renewable food system to draw down carbon emissions and address the climate crisis. The initiative builds on the work of the original Zero Foodprint in the US, extending the 1% pledge—where member restaurants pledge 1% of every bill to fund regenerative farming practices—to Asia. It’s early days yet, but with heavyweights like Ando and Mono on board, the future is looking a little bit greener already.

Nominees

  • Amber
  • The Arcane Collective
  • Meraki Group
  • Roganic

Best Sommelier: Victor Petiot, Caprice

An individual who not only knows their wine, but elevates the dining experience with their curation and recommendations

For a restaurant that represents the pinnacle of fine dining, it comes as a pleasant surprise that French-born Victor Petiot isn't interested in crafting a typical wine list made up of heavy hitters and expected bottles. "There are no small wines, only small wine-makers. There are no big wines, only big bottles," he says, and Caprice's menu includes intriguing pét-nats as well as large format Château d'Yquem sauternes, available by the glass. And, perhaps, because he initially endeavoured to become a chef, that his understanding of the marriage between food and wine is that much more nuanced.

Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Bernard Chan (Lung King Heen)
  • Dicky Chau (Otto e Mezzo)
  • Wallace Lo (Somm's Philosophy)
  • Yulia Ezhikova (Brut)

Rising Star: Aven Lau, Bâtard

A newcomer or underrated individual working in the dining scene that has impressed with their potential and contributions to the industry

Only in his late twenties, Aven Lau assumed the position of chef the cuisine at Bâtard after six months—and the world took notice. Prior to joining the restaurant, Lau had cut his teeth and Singapore's Odette and Hong Kong's Belon (during Daniel Calvert's tenure) and Le Pan, influences which carry through in his cooking. And yes, the roast chicken recipe remains a talking point, but there is so much more to this powerful modern French restaurant than the poulet, and Lau is making great strides when it comes to putting his own stamp on the modern European cuisine at Bâtard. One to watch, certainly. 

Bâtard, Shop E, Viking Court, 165-166 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Leonard Cheung (Cultivate)
  • Michael Smith (Moxie)
  • Sam Lui (Wendy's Wok World)
  • Steve Lee (Hansik Goo)

Best New Restaurant: Whey

The most exciting restaurant to open between September 2020 to October 2021, one that we would go back to again and again

There was a huge shock when Barry Quek shuttered Beet, his debut restaurant, in April 2020. Thankfully, after spending two short stints as a pseudo laksa hawker with Basehall (by launching Return of Lemak) and J.A.M. (with Uncle Quek, offering more street food flavours), the young Singaporean chef has made a bold statement with his modern interpretation of his home cuisine. Whey, opened in collaboration with ZS Hospitality, is a restaurant offering an entirely different culinary education when it comes to Straits flavours, where they meld and combine with Quek's modern European training for dishes that are understated yet incredibly complex on the palate. Huge successes that get people talking are the housemade brioche and buah keluak emulsion, tender New Territories pork with bak kut teh aromatics, and a divisive but no less creative Mao Shan Wang durian ice cream with Kristal caviar. It's this culinary verve that has cemented Quek as one of the city’s most innovative chefs and Whey as a hotspot for adventurous diners. 

Whey, UG/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Bâtard
  • Estro
  • Moxie
  • Wing

Restaurateur of the Year: Yenn Wong, JIA Group

A restaurateur who has made significant impact on the dining scene with their vision. They can be a newcomer on the scene making waves, or a veteran who has made great strides in moving the dining scene forward

The last three years have been crushing for the Hong Kong F&B industry, but the resilience and determination shown by Yenn Wong of JIA Group can be seen as a beacon of hope for restaurants. Impacted by the devastating toll of the pandemic early on, Wong made quick, smart decisions to pivot the business with JIA Everywhere, a successful takeaway and delivery division, and launching the wildly successful Between Coffee brand. She didn’t decelerate either, utilising the power of JIA Group to support several of the city’s most talented chefs to help them launch their own restaurants, which they co-own. These include three of the most exciting venues to open in recent years, including Mono by Ricardo Chaneton, Ando by Agustin Balbi, and Estro by Antimo Maria Merone—each distinct and bringing something entirely new to the table. Despite the real challenges that have threatened to dim the light of Hong Kong's dining scene, Wong has shown what is possible—and that her gamble has paid off. 

Nominees

  • Elizabeth Chu (ZS Hospitality)
  • Gerald Li (Leading Nation)
  • Manuel Palacio (Pirata Group)
  • Syed Asim Hussain and Chris Mark (Black Sheep Restaurants)

Chef of the Year: Manav Tuli, Chaat

A chef who has made significant impact on the dining scene in the past year with their culinary vision or initiatives outside of the kitchen

The humble chef behind one of Hong Kong’s most exciting openings in 2020 is not one to rest on his laurels—and so decorated they are, too. Prior to moving to Asia, Tuli was based in London, where he took fine Indian restaurants Tamarind and Chutney Mary to new heights; in Hong Kong, the sheer volume of enquiries for a table at Chaat is testament to the impact he’s made on the dining scene in the past 18 months. In 2021, he turned things up a notch by introducing diners—already curious about discovering more about the diversity of Indian cuisine—to the nuances of the continent through an exciting series of fortnightly Friday curry feasts, where he would be able to educate palates in a direct way. Tuli has also been committed to community, supporting initiatives such as Help India Breathe, Eat Give Revive, and even hosting a Cook For India charity dinner at Chaat to support India during their heartwrenching 2021 Covid outbreak that affected millions. “I believe there is no better way to do this than through the universal language of food,” he says.

Chaat, 5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Antimo Maria Merone
  • Ricardo Chaneton
  • Shane Osborn
  • Vicky Lau

The Impact Award: Black Sheep Restaurants

A new award recognising the group or individual within the restaurant industry who has made significant impact on Hong Kong's dining scene in the last year

In a year marked by a torrent of new openings, Black Sheep Restaurants has kept up the pace, reopening crowd favourites Belon and Ho Lee Fook with new chefs, menus and interiors, and bringing cult gelato brand Messina, dive bar The Last Resort, a Butter Cake Shop flagship and a new La Vache! location to the mix. The group’s impact, however, cannot be calculated simply in terms of total venues—as its most ardent fans know, there is a je ne sais quoi quality to dining at Black Sheep that is more than the sum of its parts. With marquee openings planned for 2022, the party is far from over for the most talked-about restaurant group in town. 

Nominees

  • F&B Run Club
  • Food Made Good HK
  • JIA Group
  • Twins Kitchen

Best New Restaurant (Reader's Choice): Kushiro

The most exciting restaurant to open between September 2020 to October 2021, as chosen by our readers through a public vote. (The five nominees below have garnered the most votes from a shortlist of 25 venues)

The Peninsula isn’t the first place one thinks of when it comes to Japanese cuisine, although newly arrived Kushiro is set to change that. A sleek, tastefully decorated interior casts a glow over the practised movements of the veteran chefs at the sushi bar, who between them share decades of experience at the likes of Nobu, Sushiyoshi, and Shinji by Kanesaka. Bringing refined, inventive omakase to the historic hotel, it's easy to see how Kushiro has impressed our readers at large.

Kushiro, Shop BW1, BW3 & BW5, B1/F, The Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Nominees

  • Censu
  • Cultivate
  • The Sixteenth
  • Bâtard
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