Hong Kong is a city of constant change. Buildings rise almost as quickly as they are demolished and the rapidly evolving, blink-and-you'll-miss-it cityscape accurately reflects Hong Kong's frenetic energy. Yet, while this is undeniably true, the city does make some effort to hold on to parts of its heritage.
Tai Kwun transformed the site—a mid-19th century integrated law enforcement system with a police station, magistracy and prison—into a modern-day arts and culture centre in 2018. Today, Black Sheep Restaurants has taken on The Central Magistracy, one of the oldest surviving law court buildings in Hong Kong, to create a multi-storey venue with restaurants, bars and private dining rooms along with a sports room and old-world wine cellar.
Opening in three phases, The Magistracy is debuting with two new venues: Magistracy Dining Room and Botanical Garden which opens its doors and accepts reservations for its soft opening from September 16.
Inside The Magistracy's Dining Room
Helmed by executive chef Matthew Kirkley—whom you'll recognise from the restaurant group's Michelin-starred French restaurant Belon—Magistracy Dining Room is inspired by London's oldest traditional restaurants and offers classic British cuisine in a grand, slightly Edwardian, but contemporary interior that manages to weave heritage into its stylish setting.
Designed by Joyce Wang Studios, the dining room draws inspiration from bastions of Britishness, including Scott’s, Wiltons and J Sheekey in London. The restaurant's stately interiors bear the classic hallmarks of old-world glamour with high vaulted ceilings and lustrous wooden panelled walls while curved banquettes in rich reds alongside oversized armchairs provide comfort.
A spiral staircase leads guests to an intimate balcony for dining that overlooks the space, providing an elegant backdrop for the most momentous meals or, as the surroundings seem to encourage, the odd literary debate and philosophical discussions. The main dining room is also connected to Botanical Garden, an outdoor terrace with white parasols and green foliage that is an ideal space for guests to recline and enjoy gin and tonics.