Cover Find out what taco dish reminds chef Shane Osborn of his creation for The Final Table's taco challenge (Photo: @chinohk/ Instagram)
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Chefs Shane Osborn, Matt Abergel and Braden Reardon tells Tatler where they’ll be celebrating the holiday season throughout the month of December

Welcome to a very special holiday edition of Where Chefs Are Excited to Eat in Hong Kong. This December, we’ve invited them to share where they’ll be celebrating with friends and family during the holiday season. If you haven’t got Christmas celebrations planned out yet, take inspiration from the following chefs that we spoke to for this article.

From award-winning chef Shane Osborn of one Michelin star restaurant, Arcane; all-day dining concept, Moxie; and Soho’s casual bistro, Cornerstone; Matt Abergel, chef-owner of the city’s hippest modern izakaya spot, Yardbird Hong Kong; and finally, executive chef Braden Reardon of Percy’s, Soho’s newest opening that spotlights responsibly sourced seafood and creative dishes.

Don't miss: 15 Best Restaurants for Special Celebrations in Hong Kong

Shane Osborn, chef-owner of Arcane, Moxie, and Cornerstone

The Continental

My friend Graham Long has recently taken over the helm at The Continental in Pacific Place. Graham and I used to work together in London, so our history goes way back and unsurprisingly, we have similar tastes and styles when it comes to cooking. 

The food at The Continental is based on modern French cuisine but uses both British and Asian influences. Being Australian myself, there is an Australian lamb loin on the menu served with delicious smoked aubergine that I really enjoy. For Christmas at home, I will often make a slow-braised Shoulder of Lamb with mountains of seasonal veggies, so lamb always reminds me of this time of year.

Don’t miss: The Continental, Now Headed By Chef Graham Long, Unveils Sophisticated New Look

Chino

Chino to me really exemplifies the spirit of a neighbourhood restaurant, which can be hard to find in Hong Kong. They combine Mexican and Japanese cuisine—for example, a tostada filled with maitake mushrooms or wagyu beef and shishito pepper taco.

On the first episode of The Final Table, the challenge was Mexican food, specifically to make a taco—my teammate Mark Best and I made a corn tortilla taco filled with sea urchin, trout roe and Salsa Roja. They have a scallop and uni tostada at Chino, which reminds me a bit of that. I had never cooked Mexican cuisine before the show, but I have always loved eating it.

Chino

Western District
$ $ $ $
3
'rating'

Islam Food in Kowloon City

Islam Food is one of my favourite local spots, which I make a special effort to venture to every couple of months. The food is delicious, extremely good value and it’s such a unique spot that sums up the best of the Hong Kong dining scene to me—multicultural and diverse. I would happily go there on my own for a plate of their veal goulash—there’s nothing like them anywhere else in the city. I also love that it’s been going for more than 60 years and is still operated by the same family.

Islam Food, G/F, No. 1 Lung Kong Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong, +852 2382 2822; Islam Food, G/F, No. 33-35 Tak Ku Ling Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong, +852 2382 1882, islamfood.com.hk

Don't miss: Neighbourhood Guide: What To Eat, Drink And Do In Kowloon City

Rex Wine & Grill

I have always been a fan of Nate Green and what he is doing at Rex looks really exciting. I haven’t had a chance to get over there yet but when I do, the shepherd’s pie is what I want to try—those kinds of dishes remind me of my days off in London when my wife and I would go for a pub lunch. Especially whilst it’s a bit colder right now, we can take advantage of eating heartier dishes like this.

REX Wine & Grill, B/F, One Chinachem, 22 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2857 7157, rexwineandgrill.com.hk

On Christmas traditions…

My wife and children live in France, so Christmas for us means sitting in front of a roaring fire with several bottles of Bordeaux, cheese and charcuterie sourced from our local area. This is the beauty of French life. In Australia, it is oysters and beers on the beach.

Matt Abergel, chef-owner of Yardbird Hong Kong

Mono

Ricardo [Chaneton, chef of Mono] recently invited me to eat at Mono for a dinner series called “Unplugged,” where he and his team dove headfirst into cooking incredible food from all over Central and South America. The combination of cooking foods that they grew up with with the precision, passion, and technique that they possess made for an incredible experience. He featured some foods from Venezuela that are only served during the holidays. I am looking forward to eating those again one day!

Mono

Central
$ $ $ $

Frank’s Records

I have known Todd [Darling], Josh [Chu] and Vinny [Lauria], [the founders] of Red Sauce Hospitality, since I moved to Hong Kong [in 2009]. We have grown together in this city as friends and peers in the industry. I’m really excited for their new record bar to open, which is going to combine so many of my favourite things in life: vinyl, seafood, booze and friends. 

Hop Sze

I am lucky to have a very tight crew of friends and family in Hong Kong, and we have an ongoing tradition of eating at Hop Sze in Sai Wan Ho every few months. We ask for a reservation on our way out which usually puts us back at our same table every two or three months. 

The smoked soy chicken, steamed fish, and “king of stir fry” dishes are always a must-order, but the super warm and friendly staff are always there to recommend something new. We have never been disappointed. Hop Sze is just another reminder of why Hong Kong has the best Cantonese food in the world.

Hop Sze, G/F, Lai Wan Building, 39 Shau Kei Wan Road, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong, +852 2569 0862

On Christmas traditions…

Working every day in the restaurant world makes home-cooked meals taste even better. I'm looking forward to inviting my circle of friends and family to hang out, eat at my house, and get deep into whatever culinary theme we choose for the night. I love cooking Israeli foods, or even just simple roast chicken and sides, I guess that’s where the inspiration for Roti Tori came from.

Braden Reardon, executive chef at Percy’s

Neighborhood

It’s very rare as a chef, when you go out to dine, that there isn’t a single dish on the menu that you go ‘eh’ to. Every dish at Neighborhood was really tasty, innovative, and balanced. I could see and taste David’s personal touch on classics. He truly uses exceptional products.

Dishes I really look forward to having again are the salt-baked chicken with all the offal, and the Kinki fish paella. Though I don’t recall any minor details of the other dishes, I do remember it all being really damn good.

See also: Percy's Opens In Soho With A Focus On Sustainable Seafood

Ronin

Ronin has definitely been at the top of my list since I moved to Hong Kong. I would love to seek inspiration from Matt’s seafood flavour combinations in particular how he uses Japanese techniques and flavour profiles to bring out the best of local ingredients.

I really look forward to trying the flower crab & uni, and the shrimp scallop ball. The bamboo, fava bean dish sounds really interesting and tasty too.

Ronin

Sheung Wan
$ $ $ $
4.5
'rating'

Loaf On and local seafood joints

I think Hong Kong does seafood incredibly well. I have visited several seafood spots around Hong Kong such as Lei Yue Mun and Lamma Island. One of the best experiences was my visit to Loaf On, whilst I was searching for inspiration for Percy’s.

The salt & pepper mantis shrimp, egg white and flower crab, black bean clams and the salt & pepper abalone were the standout dishes. Oh, and of course, the Cantonese classic - steamed grouper in soy.

Loaf On, G/F, 49 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2792 9966

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