Cover The interior of Margo (Photo: Leading Nation)

The two-in-one culinary concept pays homage to the history of the area in subtle ways

Leading Nation, the hospitality group responsible for the likes of The Diplomat, Elephant Grounds, La Rambla, and Wagyumafia, is due to open Margo, a modern European brasserie, and Kyle & Bain, an American martini bar, on Central's Ice House Street later this month. The ambitious two-in-one culinary concept is helmed by chef Mario Paecke, formerly chef de cuisine at Somm and sous chef at Amber at Landmark Mandarin Oriental; and beverage director John Nugent, most recognisable as the face behind The Diplomat, which recently placed 20th on Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021, as well as winning London Essence’s Best New Opening Award 2021.

Flanked by luxury fashion boutiques, the restaurant space takes various design cues from Elephant Grounds upon first glance, from the terrazzo tabletops and wood-dominant interior, to the moss installation that acts as the centrepiece of the main Margo dining room. Kyle & Bain is located on the mezzanine floor, preserving the same speakeasy atmosphere as The Diplomat.

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Bringing 23 years of experience with him, chef Mario Paecke will be serving a menu of modern European fare, no doubt inspired by his time at the Mandarin Oriental Group as well as a formative stint at two-Michelin-starred Luce d'Oro in Elmau, Germany. Expect German and pan-European flavours to dominate, as evidenced by dishes like grilled tilapia with grilled peaches, chanterelle mushrooms and Verbena-Champagne sauce, Paecke's own take on popular Berlin street food, currywurst, and Königsberger Klopse, a traditional German dish made with veal meatballs, Norwegian langoustine and creamy caper sauce. Complimenting the dishes is a wine list curated by head sommelier Elvis Lo. 

Meanwhile, martinis are the order of the day at Kyle & Bain. In a nod to the history of Ice House Street—as well as to one of the most important ingredients to making an ice-cold martini—the bar takes its name from two Scottish engineers, William Kyle and John Bain, who brought ice-making technology to Hong Kong in the 1870s, bypassing the circuitous, months-long process of shipping lake ice from New England by establishing Hong Kong's first ice house on the very location the bar stands today. With mixologist John Nugent behind the bar, guests can expect Gibsons galore, alongside other tipples inspired by that bygone era.

Margo, Shop 6, 9 Queens Road Central, Central, Hong Kong

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