Travel to any major city in the world these days and you’re likely to come across a “food hall”, the contemporary answer to the distinctly untrendy food courts of yesteryear. It’s where gastronomes congregate to forage for dishes and drinks that are of the zeitgeist, rather than shuffle listlessly through a crowded space with a plastic tray heaving with fast food from the big corporations. Visiting a modern food hall—be it Market Hall in London’s Victoria for baozi and salt beef sandwiches or The Deco in New York City for pão de queijo and chicken mixian—gives an overview of the city’s independent food scene as well as a simple way to sample its cross section in a single meal.
Hong Kong has many food courts, but few food halls of note. Basehall may be the answer, taking over the basement space of Jardine House that formerly housed the beloved Grappa’s Cellar. The mezzanine level layout lends itself well to the “see and be seen” vibe of the food hall, where diners hanging out at the bar can keep tabs on tables on the level below; the colour-shifting lighting and live DJ tunes adds to the “food hall or nightclub?” mood. Local food lovers may also recognise that the copper rods that previously hung from the ceiling of Amber have been repurposed as decorations for the bathroom walls and cubicles—just one of the little nods to iconic culinary legends by Linehouse, the design team behind Basehall’s look.
From June 15, Basehall will be open Monday to Saturday from 11am until late, and is designed to be a convivial space targeting the Central community—will it become a dining destination for those outside of the CBD? Time will tell. Below, we give the low down on the ten featured F&B brands, many of them familiar but with a twist:
Experience rotisserie chicken by Yardbird, masters of bird cookery in Hong Kong. The menu offers enticing sides as well, from sesame ponzu coleslaw to “Ro-tater tots” with nori, sesame and bonito. Sauces deviate from the usual as well, with highlights including miso onion gravy, Yardbird’s Flagrant Hot Sauce, and Green, a spring onion, ginger and coriander condiment inspired by the classic Cantonese accompaniment for poached chicken.