Best new restaurants and bars to try in Hong Kong
Wagyu Vanne by Gosango is the brainchild of celebrity chef Vanne Kuwahara, founder of Tokyo’s Ebisu. And if the name didn't give it away, the focus here is on high-end beef. That includes the uber-special kuroge wagyu from Hiyama, one of Japan’s oldest and finest meat suppliers (note: you can also get your paws on this wagyu at Gosango's other new joint, J Pot). Grilling is the preferred method of cooking here, and professional yakiniku consultants – which is evidently a real career — are on hand to guide diners through the grilling process. Choose from a ten-course tasting menu, featuring dishes like wagyu sushi and the cut of the day prepared shabu shabu-style with shaved truffle, or pick to your heart's desire from the a la carte menu.
This small, independent bar brings great craft beer to Tai Kok Tsui. Eight taps pour out pints from some of Hong Kong’s most interesting craft breweries, like Young Master, Yardley Brothers and HK Lovecraft. Doppelbocks, sour ales, gose, a house-brewed IPA and more – there's an impressive range of styles on the tap list here. Considering the space is just barely big enough for you to order your beer from the bar, expect the action to spill out onto the street quite frequently. If you’re looking for a cool keepsake, pick up one of the individually designed and painted t-shirts.
Star chefs Chris Grare (Lily & Bloom) and Arron Rhodes (Gough's on Gough) team up to open their first joint venture, Kinship. The two are set to serve rustic and soulful cuisine with a New World edge in a relaxed atmosphere centred on family and relationships. The relationship angle goes beyond dining, though. The chefs are working with a farm-to-table concept that places importance on forming sustainable relationships with local farms and suppliers. (Opens late May)
One of Thailand’s most popular and beloved tea brands, Cha Tra Mue, has finally launched a flagship store in Hong Kong. Renowned for its addictively smooth and sweet Thai milk tea and green tea, Cha Tra Mue brings over 70 years of tea-making history to the table here, using imported ingredients straight from Thailand to give us a taste of Bangkok. Don't pass on the pandan-flavoured bubble tea, either – it's incredibly chewy and photogenically green, with that familiar vanilla-like aroma to boot.
By day, this space caters to members of Maggie & Rose, the private family club from the UK that operates a couple of branches in Hong Kong. After 7pm each night, however, it transforms into The Leah, where 'British food done right' is the M.O. in the restaurant and the tucked-away outdoor bar offers sanctuary from the city's helter-skelter rhythm. Expect classics like beef Wellington and scotch eggs with soldiers on the food menu, as well as a clever riff on the Pimm's Cup and several iterations of the Tom Collins from the bar. (Opens late May.)
This Japanese restaurant brings the art of omakase to TST. Tucked away on the third floor of an office tower, Nomu goes the discreet route, serving only 18 people at a time and requiring reservations at least 24 hours in advance. It should be worth the wait. The meals feature largely seasonal ingredients and lots of fresh seafood. The blowout experience here would be the chef’s table ($1,880), but there’s a range of options that cater to different budgets, including a six-course omakase lunch ($580) and create-your-own options that start from $280. There's an impressive selection of over 100 sakes, too, including by-request-only bottles.
Your classic hotpot experience goes upscale at this new spot in Causeway Bay's Tower 535. Unlike other hotpot joints, you can opt for a la carte or a tasting menu. Both allow diners to pick from international or Chinese hotpot dishes. Basically, take Chinese hotpot traditions and throw in housemade sauces, foreign culinary influences and high-quality ingredients — including kuroge wagyu from one of Japan's longest-standing suppliers, Hiyama — and you've got J Pot by Gosango.
From May through July, Sai Ying Pun is getting a proper Burmese pop-up, courtesy of Hong Kong-born restaurateur Ivan Pun. The Pansodan, an outpost of the same restaurant in Yangon named after the city's bustling street, brings the vibrant flavours of Myanmar to Hong Kong — a rarity in these parts. Expect a range of tangy, funky, spicy and bright dishes, from salads to noodles to grilled meats and seafood plates. Top it off with botanical-driven cocktails, and you've got a meal unlike any other you'll have in Hong Kong.
The latest project from Black Sheep Restaurants goes south of the border, serving up street-style tacos with the group's well-known flair. Expect lots of seafood (fish tacos, anyone?) that you can wash down with an ice-cold margarita or three. (Opens mid to late-May.)
After a four-month hiatus, Amber recently reopened with a radical new concept. In a nod to the needs and expectations of today's health-conscious diners, chef Richard Ekkebus has done away with dairy and cut down on sugar and salt. If you were wondering what a French restaurant will do without butter and cream, the answer is utilising soy, rice, cereal and nut milk in place of dairy; fermentation and products like seaweed instead of salt; and agave, maple, honey and raw sugar in lieu of the white stuff. Ekkebus has created a whopping 50 new dishes with this clean and natural culinary ethos and cut down on the formality, too.
Fresh pies, of both the sweet and savoury variety, and the full range of Gweilo beers — what's not to love? The Pie & Beer Shack is a new venture by Hong Kong’s favourite piemaker Tai Tai Pie Pies. Now, instead of ordering wholesale or having to hoof it over to the Great Food Hall in Admiralty, you can pop into a brick-and-mortar shop for a slice of pie or cake and a craft beer.
The Pirata Group expands its Pici empire with a fifth branch of the beloved Italian restaurant out in Lai Chi Kok. Expect all-time favourites at the latest Pici, from homemade meatballs and arancini to dangerously good ravioli and tagliatelle. For those living in New Kowloon, this is a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood. (Opens mid-May.)