In the 13th edition of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau edition, there were both winners and losers as the list of Michelin-starred restaurants in the two SAR cities were announced via a virtual event today (27 January, 2021). The virtual presentation kicked off with a video highlighting the various initiatives undertaken by restaurants and chefs around the world, from food drives to charity menus—highlighting exactly the tough times during which the guide has been released.
In a time when the restaurant industry is in dire straits, opinion on the relevance of dining guides and rankings remains divided. On the one hand, the rationale for going ahead is to continue to highlight the work done in the hospitality sector; on the other, Michelin has been criticised for charging ahead during a serious pandemic, during a time when restaurants are struggling to stay in business, never mind maintain the strict standards favoured by Michelin inspectors.
With the release of the Michelin Guides in France and the United Kingdom earlier this week, the debate has been reignited. Headlines buzzed over the crowning of ONA restaurant in Arès, France, the first vegan restaurant to be given a star, while in the UK, chefs Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze celebrated their new three-star rankings amid an ongoing lockdown in London. Some restaurants suffered a fall from grace, with their star ratings downgraded or even eliminated all together, adding insult to injury. Still, this year’s guide is an edition that Michelin hopes will encourage you to discover and rediscover restaurants, said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides.
This year’s guide features no new three-star restaurants, two new two-star restaurants, and eight new one-star restaurants. Notable additions include Vicky Lau’s Tate and Olivier Elzer’s L’Envol, both graduating from one star to two. The Chairman finally received its long overdue star (after receiving multiple awards from Tatler Dining as well as Asia's 50 Best over the years), while other new entrants include Ando, helmed by Agustin Balbi. The Araki, the ultra luxe sushi restaurant by Mitsuhiro Araki at House 1881 in Tsim Sha Tsui, also entered the list with one star—he was previously known for his three-star restaurants in London and Tokyo. In Sheung Wan, Zuicho and hip yakitori restaurant Yardbird received their first Michelin stars as well. Man Ho at JW Marriott, headed by Jayson Tang, has also joined the club of one star restaurants after a big renovation in late 2019.
Among losses this year were Belon, following the departure of chef Daniel Calvert; there was no indication of whether or not the restaurant's plans for relocation impacted on the guide's decision. Other restaurants that were stripped of star ratings include King and Lei Garden in Mongkok, while restaurants that closed in 2020—including Pierre, Tenku Ryugin and The Tasting Room—were also removed.