Depending on your perception of British cuisine, it is either surprising or unsurprising that Hong Kong—a former colony—remains short on decent restaurants representing the nation. One of the best, in our opinion, was the now sadly closed Gough’s On Gough, last helmed by chef Cary Doherty, who truly reminded us of how dishes like crab on toast and sticky toffee pudding could be transcendental, if done right. Newcomers like Roganic, on the other hand, are rewriting the narrative for British cuisine by creatively showcasing both produce and technique in compelling new ways.
With 181 At Fortnum & Mason, the first restaurant in Hong Kong by British heritage brand Fortnum & Mason, the underlying story is less about pushing boundaries than it is about spotlighting what is inherently great about the classics. That much is reflected in the old world glamour of the brand, which extends into the plushness of the new flagship store at Victoria Dockside and pervades the medium-sized restaurant located up a curled staircase. Visit in the daytime and the space is undoubtedly a fine spot for afternoon tea with the splendour of Victoria Harbour rolled out for your enjoyment; in the evening, it’s low-lit and intimate, and the handsome bar with its emerald leather stools is a perfect spot for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail. The diminutive but expertly crafted Earl Henry Sour, with its reviving mix of cachaca, Countess Grey tea, banana preserve and lime was an ideal aperitif.