Where Chefs Are Excited To Eat In Hong Kong: August 2021
Welcome back to Tatler’s monthly series where we ask chefs all about the restaurants they’re excited to eat each month.
For August, four of the city’s leading chefs and restaurateurs have shared with Tatler where they’ll be eating this month: Pearl Shek, Gen.T honouree and founder of Hong Kong’s hip Thai restaurants, Apinara, and Lady Nara & Nara; Oli Marlow, executive chef of British fine-dining restaurant, Roganic; chef Mick Bolam, executive chef of Feather and Bone, Hong Kong’s artisan butchers and steakhouse; and chef Chan Kai Ying of Chilli Fagara, Old Bailey Street’s Michelin-recommended Sichuan restaurant.
Pearl Shek, Founder of Apinara and Lady Nara & Nara
Wong Ming Kee
You know when sometimes you just crave and need a bowl of soupy noodles? Well, Wong Ming Kee in Kowloon City is definitely my go-to. I've been going there since I was young—so much so that the shop ladies already know my order! "Cuttlefish ball, flat noodles with seaweed" (墨魚丸河加紫菜 / 紫菜墨丸河), with their famous spicy oil always satisfies my cravings.
Wong Ming Kee, G/F, 40-42 Sa Po Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong, +852 2716 2929
Whenever I want to feel like I’m in Japan again, I visit Tempura Jiro for an amazing meal. As someone who loves deep-fried food, they make the best tempura in Hong Kong (in my opinion!). The last time I was there, chef Jiro and I talked about different types of tempura eggs and he promised to make me a special order for my next visit. I'm really looking forward to that!
Tempura Jiro, Shop E, G/F, World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2780 8666; facebook.com/tempurajiro
Grain of Salt
Finding a healthy meal is not too hard nowadays but finding a healthy and delicious meal is a different matter. For a meal that satisfies both requirements, I like Grain of Salt, Hong Kong's first dietitian-operated cafe. I have full trust in the nutritional value, as well as the tastiness of each item as each dish is carefully thought out and designed. They are just about to launch a new menu and I can't wait to try it. Side-note: They're a dog-friendly cafe, so you'll frequently find me and my Bernedoodle, Atlas, there!
Grain of Salt, G/F, 47 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2968 1083; grainofsalt.co
Dare I say, The Diplomat's burger is the tastiest burger I've had in a while. It was hot, juicy, cheesy and perfectly cooked. My bestie kept raving about it and insisted I must give it a try. It was the first time I re-ordered the same burger twice because it was just that good and one was simply not enough! My entire experience was elevated in the secret DJ room—I sipped on my favourite cocktails—Blinker Highballs and Whiskey Sours—all night long.
The Diplomat, LG/F, High Block, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3619 0302
Oli Marlow, Executive Chef at Roganic
I have currently been stuck in the UK for the past 6 months due to obvious reasons. I am really looking forward to returning to Hong Kong soon as I really miss it. I have seen so many great restaurants open recently and I am dying to get back and try them.
The first restaurant I’ll be visiting when I’m back in Hong Kong would be Batard. I have heard so many great things about this restaurant and I am hoping I can get a reservation somehow. The pigeon dish looks incredible and hopefully, it'll still be on the menu when I return.
Batard, Shop E1 & E2, G/F, Viking Court, 165-166 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2318 1802; batardhk.com
I have been fortunate to visit Chaat previously and I’m excited to go back again. I'm a big lover of Indian food and Chaat really showcases the best of what the cuisine has to offer. I don't have a particular dish that I'm looking forward to as I know it'll all be amazing. Chef Manav is a great host and never lets you down when making a big spread of food.
Chaat, 5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 5239 9220; rosewoodhotels.com
Mick Bolam, Executive Chef at Feather & Bone Group
I love pasta - love cooking it and eating it, so I was very excited when Pici opened. Pici is one of my favourite go-to spots for a plate of fresh, simple, unpretentious pasta. Simplicity speaks to me and the pasta should always be the hero instead of the sauce and I think that’s what they do well. I love their Vitello Tonnato too. For an element of surprise, I like to order their pasta of the day. I’ve never been disappointed and I love seeing them grow.
Locations across Hong Kong; pici.hk
From time to time I’ll go to Neighborhood by David Lai. He’s a talented chef who respects ingredients immensely, doesn’t overcomplicate things and works with lots of seasonal as well as local ingredients. His menu is always spot on and I have never had a bad time there.
I remember ordering a cold tomato dish once—I believe it was made with Fukuoka tomatoes—the flavours were just incredible. Not sure if it’s still on the menu, but if and when I go back next, I’ll definitely ask. Another favourite of mine there is his handmade pasta like the garganelli, so good!
Neighborhood, G/F, 61-63 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2617 0891; facebook.com/neighborhoodhk
For something a little more refined, I suggest Arcane by Shane Osborn. I learnt about him back in my London days where I tried some of his restaurants like Pied a Terre. I truly respect him for having conquered the London scene and now doing so well in Hong Kong. His food is clean and simple, but thought-provoking at the same time—I admire that. I really enjoyed watching him with Mark Best on Chef’s Table and I cannot wait to try his next restaurant, Moxie at The Landmark.
Arcane, 3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2728 0178; arcane.hk
Chan Kai Ying, Chef at Chilli Fagara
Mak Man Kee Noodles Shop
One of my favourite places to enjoy the feeling of a home-cooked meal is Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop. It’s a truly historic restaurant that attracts locals and tourists alike, and I am no exception. I love their iconic Cantonese wonton noodles and pork knuckle noodles.
Their authentic, homemade wontons are filled with jet-fresh shrimps which give the dish a rich flavour and their dried flatfish noodle soup base is so fragrant. It’s the perfect treat to cheer me up after a long day.
Chilli Fagara, G/F, 51 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong, +852 2736 5561; mmk.hk
Louise is another culinary gem in the city. I admire their expertise and passion for French cuisine and their unparalleled customer attention. There are too many dishes I would love to recommend, but the perfectly tender lamb that melts in your mouth or the frog legs perfected with parsley and fresh garlic crisps are two highlights that I believe everyone should try.
One of the most exceptional, memorable experiences I had at Louise was a casual lunch with friends. I was feeling sick on that day and didn’t have any appetite upon my arrival at the restaurant, so chef Laloum specially prepared a bowl of off-menu clear vegetable soup for me. He chopped a variety of fresh vegetables into small, delicate circles, creating a bowl of soup full of colourful, fresh vegetables that looked so beautiful it almost resembled a painting! For me, this was the epitome of attentive customer service that goes above and beyond.
Louise, G/F, JPC, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0300; louise.hk
For everyone who misses travelling to Japan, I highly recommend Kappo Rin. Serving up the freshest, seasonal ingredients, Kappo Rin offers sophisticated, modern Japanese cuisine. Every single dish I’ve tried boasts a unique texture and flavour, promising an element of surprise in each bite.
One of the best mains I recently tried was their premium Japanese wagyu beef served with baby corn. It wasn’t only the sweetness of the corn itself, but also the masterful preparation of the light green strands of the vegetable, giving it an unparalleled silky soft texture while highlighting its naturally sweet flavour.
Kappo Rin, 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2643 6811; kappo-rin.com
Amber is another highlight in Hong Kong’s restaurant scene. Chef Ekkebus combines traditional French and Japanese ingredients in his upscale menu with every dish prepared and presented to amaze the guests. Chef Ekkebus’ exquisite signature dish, Uni & Caviar is my favourite dish at Amber – it’s a true culinary masterpiece that reflects the chef’s unmatched skills.
Amber, 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong; mandarinoriental.com