There’s something about ducking into a back alley that makes you feel like you’re onto something. You’ll also have to hop over an industrial pipe while you artfully dodge suspicious drops of water from above, but that’s beside the point, hidden venues give you the feeling that you’re in on the secret. And these days, a bar that throws it back to the Prohibition Era doesn’t quite cut it for us Hongkongers. No, we need more. We need cracking good food with outstanding cocktails and an adequate distraction from reality in the form of live entertainment. Located down the staircase that sits at the corner of Hollywood Road and Lyndhurst Terrace is Quality Goods Club, the live music restaurant we never knew we needed. It’s also a sibling to Peel Street’s boisterous sons Shady Acres and Honky Tonks Tavern, so even before you enter you’ll carry some expectations. Fortunately, it exceeds. As a late night and walk-in only restaurant, Quality Goods Club opens at 6pm on most days – Sundays they do brunch from 2pm. And when I say 6pm, please don’t be an eager beaver (ahem) and turn up at 5.50pm because you’ll be turned away and have to stand in the alley like a naughty child. When we are welcomed in, we’re greeted with a request for vaccination records which makes sense since they are a performance venue. Plus it’s pretty intimate inside with high-top bar and booth seats dotted around the stage with pink spotlights. At dinner time, urban walls meet dim lights and sexy lounge vibes. We sat
Hong Kong restaurant reviews
The newest restaurants and cafés reviewed anonymously by our critics
The secret to a long life, aside from genetics of course, is a nutritious diet and a robust social network that is more meaningful than your Instagram following. Or at least that’s what Okinawans live by. The balmy Japanese island was dubbed ‘the land of immortals’, where residents – many of which are silver-haired centenarians – are said to be some of the world’s happiest and healthiest. While I’m sure many of us wouldn’t mind living a little longer, it was the pursuit of happiness and, obviously, good food that led us to Hong Kong’s very own exuberant island to check out Okinawa-inspired restaurant and bar Awa Awa. Opened by the team behind Sake Central, the idea is to introduce Okinawa’s ancient distilled spirit awamori (there's a good collection of awamori to try here and they'll keep adding more) and its unique cuisine, which is internationally influenced by a long history of trade, to Hong Kong. Think interesting combinations and punchy flavours inflected by Chinese, Southeast Asian, and American culture. The interior is as playful as the Hawaiian-style summer jams it plays. Neon lights, fun wallpaper, Japanese lanterns, and spoof movie posters make a lively backdrop for the high top bar tables and chairs, some of which surround the bar while others face Peel Street for live nocturnal wildlife-watching. It’s the kind of buzzy place where suits can be seen decompressing after a long day of work, much like they do in Tokyo’s izakayas, with a beer in hand and where friends
Upon entering Exchange Square, a complex that houses a ton of offices, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the odd cafe or coffee shop, you wouldn't think there'd be much to eat in here, let alone something good anyway. Well, think again, as The Square offers great Cantonese cuisine that boasts both tradition and innovation that you need to try if you haven't already done so. We're talking about a menu backed by the experience of seasoned chefs and a constant flow of locals and Cantonese food connoisseurs proving that this restaurant is doing something right. The most recent menu we tried is the Ocean Premium menu (currently offering a special rate of $2,480; original price: $3,980; blackout dates apply) made up of the finest seafood paired with sommelier-selected wines. The menu, which is designed for four people, begins with luxury in the form of lobster dumplings and barbecued Iberico pork along with sauteed lobster with ginger and spring onion and fish noodles, served with Champagne no less. This is followed by a brilliantly grilled and crisp pan-fried scallop, which is soft in the middle, topped with crispy deep-fried shallots and caviar that comes plated with the thinnest pancake so you can wrap it almost Peking duck style, which is fun to make and even better to eat, complemented by a glass of Billaud Simon Petit Chablis. The main event, however, is the incredibly fragrant Spanish red prawn simmered in Hua Diao and chicken oil atop the silkiest steamed egg which absorbs a
You may have heard of high-speed sushi, but have you tried 'bullet train' Japanese BBQ? Well, now you can, kinda, thanks to the new restaurant and Japanese BBQ grill brand Wagyu Yakiniku Ichiro in Jordan. While there were no actual trains involved, the new dining destination does offer unlimited Wagyu set menus (yes, that's right, you can keep eating meat for 120 minutes) with so-called 'Shinkansen bullet trains' bringing food from the kitchen to our table. The contactless service is programmed to deliver our order directly, which basically means it makes a stop at our dining station before we press a door button to access it. The menu offers a choice of six unlimited sets (A to F) which range from $348 to $1,048, with the latter featuring exclusive Odagyu A4 Wagyu from the Oda Chikusan ranch on the remote southwestern tip of Japan. This award-winning meat benefits from rich marbling and gave us some of the best, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth yakiniku moments we've ever had. One of the highlights in set F is Today's Special which includes the special cut of the day and comes in a smokin' treasure chest. Set menus also include US and Australian Wagyu, with grill selections including premium cuts and beef tongue, alongside selected fresh seafood, beef sashimi, sushi, and much more. But the free-flow doesn't end there. We opted for all-you-can-eat and drink (range from $48 up to $78) which gives us unlimited salad, dessert and drink at the bar, so you can graze on a variety of salad
As we all know, Hong Kong is a renowned culinary city, with a good mixture of East meets West eateries alongside the local Cantonese ones. Relatively easy import and immigration laws mean chefs and restaurateurs can come from all over the world to try their luck in our dining scene. However, all this action does mean there’s something of an identity crisis when it comes to defining a homegrown Hong Kong flavour that’s encapsulated by at least one standout restaurant. Of course, there are certain products that scream Hong Kong, like Pat Chun vinegar and Tai Cheong Bakery’s egg tarts – but an eatery that fully represents our city’s cuisine like Noma does Copenhagen or Jiro does Tokyo is still lacking. Until VEA, that is. VEA stands for Vicky Et Antonio – Vicky and Antonio in French. Vicky is Vicky Cheng, the visionary chef formerly of Liberty Private Works, and Antonio is Antonio Lai, the legendary bartender behind Origin, The Envoy and Quinary. The establishment takes up the top two floors of The Wellington. VEA’s lounge is on the 29th floor, while the restaurant occupies the level above. The eatery’s space is comprised completely of counter seating, so you can watch the chefs preparing your meal right before your eyes. Brass fixtures with exposed filaments in pretty cut crystal bulbs and white leather-backed stools give off a chic rather than an industrial vibe. As for the food, there are tasting menus available (six courses for HK$1,680 and eight-courses for HK$1,980) which
National pride and Old World Hong Kong is what The Chairman restaurant is all about. The exterior is a homage to Hong Kong in the 1940s, with half-curtains, dynasty chandeliers, and a waiter with silver hair greeting guests on arrival. The split-level dining room, meanwhile, provides the option of either public or private dining. Well-edited, the menu is brief by the standards of Cantonese restaurants. A few items appear as both an appetiser and a main. The pan-fried minced pork cakes with salted fish were nicely salted by the dried fish and flavourful by the pork fat, and made a great meal opener. A wonderful dish followed in the braised, layered beancurd with morel and Chinese mushroom. The bean sheets had been stacked high like mahjong tiles, then cut into blocks, to give a meaty texture. This “meat” was drenched in brown sauce, which also coated the soft morels and rehydrated Chinese mushrooms. This will be a dish appreciated by both vegetarians and meat-eaters. Next, we got our fingers dirty, gnawing the crispy, deep-mahogany mess of bones and sweet-sticky meat that were the braised spare ribs with preserved plums in caramelised black vinegar. The soy sauce half chicken was bog-standard by comparison. We enjoyed the silky meat on the bone, with its layer of fat and soy-sauce-dyed skin. While good, however, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Not sure why they call this a signature dish. The pigeon with Longjing tea and chrysanthemum is a classic dish that never goes out
This Wan Chai restaurant focuses on a highly edited offering of roast goose and char siu, a variety of soy-marinated ‘lo shui’ meats and offal. The goose here has a wonderful aroma that comes from the fatty, roasted skin with a unique savoury taste and meaty texture. The roast suckling pig rice plate also fares well, with a balanced combination of fat, meat and crispy skin. Another highlight is the preserved egg with pickled ginger, which cuts through all the richness perfectly.
Carbone brings the ‘bada bing’ of New York-style Italian food to the city. As an extension of Mario Carbone’s New York restaurant, Hong Kong's own outlet is run by head chef Jack Carson. The interior is decked out like a retro dining room straight out of a The Godfather’s set, with waiters decked out in pressed tuxedos. Highlights include a perfectly tossed Caesar salad, the crowd-pleasing spicy rigatoni vodka, and the Italian-style desserts which are huge and come out on a trolley for you to choose. Go for ample-sized tiramisu or carrot cake and you're in for a great night filled with the vibes and nostalgia of Italiano Americana.
Neighborhood’s Hollywood Road address is misleading. You can pace back and forth between the art galleries and antique stores and be none the wiser to the fact the entrance to the basement French-and-Italian restaurant actually sits in discreet Man Hing Lane off Peel Street. This lane houses cool-as-cucumber eateries like Les Fils à Maman and Neighborhood joins a little courtyard area as a congenial eatery with minimalist interiors alongside dominant white and grey slate tones. Like the decor, the cuisine also follows this concept of simplicity. The weekly menu is just one page long. We can only imagine how much toil chef and owner David Lai – of Michelin-starred Bistronomique – puts in to come up with a different food and drink list every week. We launch into our meal with a wagyu tartare garnished with fourme d’Ambert ($98) and we’re surprised how well the fatty meat works with the strong cheese – but, unlike usual tartares, it’s not served with any dough or starch to cut the richness, so we ask for extra bread, which helps us savour the finer notes of the traditional cheese. Next we plump for the wild boar garganelli ($135). It’s superb. The al dente pasta enhances the flavours of the fragrant game meat and is balanced well with fresh coriander. We can taste the raw quality of the ingredients. The bone marrow and kale risotto ($145) is also a winner. The creamy risotto encapsulates the equally smooth bone marrow perfectly and the Chinese kale stalks add interest to the tex
Frantzén’s Kitchen is celebrated Swedish chef and restaurateur Björn Frantzén's first venture outside of his native land. The restaurant sits on Upper Station Street in a sleepy nook of Sheung Wan and triumphantly melds Nordic and Asian cuisines into a niche Scando concept. A simple and sleek interior has all the benefits of Scandinavian-chic without any DIY furniture. Menu highlights include French toast with truffles, balsamic vinegar and aged cheese, as well as a fresh green asparagus dish made with split pea purée and fermented white asparagus sauce, morels and pistachio.