Hong Kong’s December Bar and Restaurant Guide
Why is it that a month in Hong Kong feels like a week? It only feels like a few days ago I was writing my November recommendations now another 30 days have past, and a lot of meals have been consumed. It seems like there were more bar and restaurant openings in November than any other month this year! However, I still had time to visit some old classics, as well as the brand new ones; and here are my favourites this month.
The latest addition from JIA Group (Chachawan, Aberdeen Street Social, 22 Ships) goes by the name of Fish School. Tucked away on Third Street in Sai Ying Pun, it is a great ‘city escape’ kind of restaurant. Their mission: to source the freshest seafood from local fisherman, in order to sustain jobs and maintain high-quality products. Dishes are small tapas-style so you will need to order a few. My top picks: Cuttlefish Tagliatelle with shrimp paste (pictured), Australian Wagyu Bavette, and the Mango, Burnt coconut ice cream. You’ll struggle to find fresher seafood in such an intimate, trendy restaurant, however, prices are slightly high for the amount of food that comes to your plate.
100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong is distinctly lacking refined Indian food, but hopefully the opening of Bindaas on Aberdeen Street will change all that. The menu features some fantastic cocktails to kick start your evening, including the refreshingly zingy, Indian Ocean with gin, lemongrass, cucumber and fresh mint. For a taste of India try the Sheikh Chilli with vodka, coriander, fresh mango juice and a hint of chilli.
The food is a refined take on Indian street food with dishes including the moreish Bhajis and tasty Bombay style ‘Pao’ with minced goat masala and mixed herbs and spices. There are also a number of small plates, ideal for sharing, and our highlights were the slow roasted Mutton Shami Kebab and the Achari paneer Shashlik – cottage cheese skewers with mustard and mango pickle marinade. There’s a selection of curries, presented at the table in heavy bottom pans, so again good to share. The most notable of these were the Bindaas Chicken Tikka Masala and the Pork Vindaloo, but both would have benefitted from a little more heat. Finally, don’t miss the unusual Paan Cotta – their version of the Italian classic, but using the traditional paan flavour to deliver an aromatic end to the meal.
33 Aberdeen Street, Central
Now I am sure you’ve heard about Butchers Club (if not, have you been living under a rock?) and this is not a new restaurant to the group, but despite being a huge fan of Butchers Club Burger on Wellington Street, this was my first time in Steak Frites. We all live and learn because I should have gone in there along time ago! It was one of those days where you just wanted to eat everything on the menu, and although they are famous for their steak I wanted to try something else from their ever expanding menu (but of course I ordered the steak too). My must dry dishes, apart from obviously the USDA Angus Prime New York Striploin (aged 90 days), were the Wedge Salad with maple-glazed bacon, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese dressing and the classic baked Mac ’n’ Cheese. Their carrot cake is also out of this world. I would go back just to order this, take home and eat in front of a movie!
UG/F, 52-56 Staunton Street, Central (Entrance on Aberdeen Street)
Do you ever go to a restaurant purely based on photos you have seen on Instagram? Yup, I did with Yum Cha. Newly opened this week, this Cantonese Dim Sum restaurant puts a modern twist on some of our favourite dishes. Luckily the flavour wasn’t sacrificed for the cuteness of the pig pork buns or the bird pineapple puffs. In fact it may well have been some of my favourite Dim Sum of the year. Seriously Instagram #yumchahk and look at the custard buns.
3/F, 20-22 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
With only one thing on the menu steak and frites (okay, that’s two things, but you know what I mean) you should fully expect it go in and be blown away. The steak is to die for. Probably the best around. And the chips (fries, frites, however you refer to them) are the kind you just can’t stop eating, and luckily you don’t have to as they are free-flow. So you can just keep eating more and more. There is also something pretty special about their ‘secret steak sauce’ which I find myself ordering double each time I go in. A really good steak restaurant, with consistently high standards, that never lets you down. What more could you need?
48 Peel Street, Central
Another newly opened restaurant this month (how can we keep up?) Shiki-Zen, soaring high on the 29th floor of Soundwill Plaza in Causeway Bay, was a welcome haven from the business going on downstairs. Priding itself on its homemade udon, and fresh seafood, word had spread quickly about the hottest new Japanese restaurant in CWB. With the weather cooling down their homemade Udon with Seafood in Tomato Soup is a welcome addition to any cloudy afternoon.
Level 29, Soundwill Plaza II, Midtown, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Back Bar’s new menu is something to shout home about! Inspired by classic 80’s and 90’s films, each cocktail has a story of its own, with the menu made to look like an old school DVD case, you can nearly have as much fun choosing your cocktail as you can drinking it (I said nearly). For those of you that follow this food column, you will know I am already a fan of Back Bar, and I was a little upset to see some of my favourite cocktails no longer on the menu. However, it seems I have found my new vice in the form of the Crank it to Ten a blend of Tanqueray 10, Bianco Vermouth, grapefruit ice, and soda which comes sevred on a 45rpm vinyl record (pictured). All the new cocktails come with that added extra, whether it be a ‘secret’ letter, the vinyl record, or a ‘how to’ card. You’re in for a fun evening as soon as you open that hidden door.
1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai
Want a view with your cocktail? Then this is the place to be! With views spreading over Victoria Harbour, time it when the light show is on, and you’ll get a free show too. They have recently revamped their cocktail menu and it’s all very James Bond (try the Flaming Passionfruit Martini). The best part has to be the feeling of being among the clouds and watching the city turn from day to night. There’s no getting bored of that view whether you have been here four days or four years.
Level 27 & 28 Soundwill Plaza II – Midtown, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Sneakily hiding opposite Upper Modern Bistro is this cool Italian run bar in Sheung Wan. The atmosphere is lively, the drinks are good, and you can watch food being made right in front of you. Intimate and fun, this is a great date bar. But neighbourhood rules mean its doors close 11pm, so get in there early! The Negronis here are top notch – these Italians know how to do it!
1A Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan
4/F, 20-22 Granville Road, TST
Introducing their new ‘Optimist Hour’ this month, it would have been rude not to have gone down to see what it is all about. Drinks are served in glasses almost the size of fish bowls and bar snacks are a plenty! They also have a new cocktail menu, which thankfully is less overwhelming than many of its competitors.
G/F, 239 Hennessy Road,Wan Chai
Sarah is a 27 year old professional world wanderer. Four years ago, she left the UK and everything that offered security and routine in exchange for a life of constant excitement and adventure. Through working as a Scuba Dive Instructor, freelance writer and running her blog www.coffeewithasliceoflife.com she now leads a life as a full time digital nomad. Based in Hong Kong you will most likely bump into her typing away on her laptop in one of the city latest coffee shops.