And just like that, the New Year is upon us. For all us foodies out there, it means very little. We will still eat too much and overindulge in the latest, hip cocktails. That’s just what we do. No New Year’s resolutions for us (the Hong Kong food and beverage industry just breathed a sigh of relief). So, I, the professional food eater that I am (can I give myself that title?) continue to please my ever-expanding waistline for a good cause—to keep Hongkongers up-to-date with the latest, best and tastiest food and drink being served up in the city each month. Here’s where I’ve been frequenting:
217A, Level 2, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central
The newest creation from Yenn Wong (Aberdeen Street Social, Duddells, 22 Ships) comes in the form of a Central Thai-inspired restaurant located in The Landmark. With a distinctive lack of Thai restaurants in Central (apart from Chachawan, which I also tried this month—more about that later) I was excited to see what was in store. As with all of Yenn’s concepts, Mak Mak is creative in its design and is a welcome addition to the designer shops it surrounds. Overall the food is good, the desserts not so, although I feel with a few tweaks, they could rise to the rest of the menu’s high standard. Some dishes you have to try: Lab tau hoo (spicy salad of crispy tofu, roasted rice and mushroom, green lettuce), pork omelette, and the yum som o (spicy pomelo salad, prawns, chicken, roasted coconut, ground peanuts, sweet and sour sauce with lime and palm sugar). They have a killer vegetarian menu, which could pave the way for them to become one of Hong Kong’s best vegetarian options.
22 Hollywood Road, Central
You may already know that I am a regular at this American diner on Hollywood Road! I just can’t get enough burgers—I’m an ex-veggie with a lot of meat eating to make up for—however, this time, I wasn’t ordering burgers, I was there for the chicken wings. Every Tuesday, Burger Circus is doing a bucket of a dozen spicy wings with blue cheese sauce and two beers for $98! (Don’t tell them they are probably not making a profit on that). But, I can’t lie. I definitely ate a burger and an apple pie too. For lunch. When in America hey… oh, wait.
206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
January was a Thai kind of month. After trying Mak Mak, I felt inclined to try Yenn’s other Thai restaurant—Chachawan. With a much more accessible location (Hollywood Road) and a much more relaxed atmosphere, I have to say I prefer Chachawan. Concentrating on northern Thai cuisine, the food is more meat-heavy than Mak Mak, in fact, almost everything on the menu contains meat (sorry veggies!). You simply can’t go in without ordering the gai yung chicken, marinated in garlic, pepper and coriander. Trust me on that. Also, surprisingly, I really enjoyed the warm khanom tom dumplings—a dessert that resembled a dish my school dinner ladies used to serve up for anyone in trouble, but actually tasted dreamy.
28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai
I wish I worked in Wan Chai, because if I did, I would be down here every day! It really is the perfect lunch spot. But, be warned, there isn’t much room to sit down—get it to take away! The popular Vietnamese sandwich is the main attraction here; sink your teeth into the Iberico Ham Bánh Mì and don’t miss out on their Sucky Sucky Strawberry Smoothie! Unfortunately, you won’t quite find the Hoi An street food prices, but hey, this is Hong Kong, what do you expect?
LKF Tower, Levels 5 & 6, 33 Wyndham Street, Central
Sorry to say it but I’ve never been a huge fan of Lily & Bloom’s food. Drink— yes, food—nope. It has just never been anything to write home about. However, for the next few weeks, a pretty cool concept is hitting Lily—The Mac Attack—and THAT I needed to see. In a competition where five of Hong Kong’s coolest chefs conjure up the finest macaroni and cheese in town, this is one cheesy event not to be missed. Judged by YOU, try the dish that most takes your fancy (or all of them) for $188 each. The contenders are: Chef May Chow from Little Bao, Chef Fabrizio Napolitano from NOM (Not Only Meatballs), Chef Vinny Lauria from Stone Nullah Tavern /Linguini Fini/Posto Pubblico, Chef Satoru Mukogawa from Tiger Curry and Sushi Kuu, and Chef Billy Otis from Lily & Bloom. Each will present a new and creative way to serve mac and cheese. The winning chef will donate 10% of his/her profits to their chosen charity, and in a city ruled by the iPhone, the winner will be whoever has the highest number of hashtags (#theMacAttack) on their dish.
The Landmark, Levels 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road, Central
ZUMA is one of the most popular brunches in town, and it has no intention of losing that title. Its latest addition—Saturday Sessions—is mixing up our favourite brunch dishes with some pretty kick-ass cocktails. With less food and more alcohol than the standard brunch, it is not an occasion to be doing ‘dry January’ at. Starting at 2:30pm, us lazy Saturday morning go-ers finally have the chance to have a lie-in after one too many drinks on Friday night, and not miss the brunch call. The cocktails included are pretty much some of the best cocktails in town (you may just have two titles now, ZUMA). You NEED to try the smoked peanut butter old fashioned! Running until 5pm, you don’t have to limit yourself to one of those!
PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
It’s hard not to love Aberdeen Street Social—a great space, great cocktails and amazing food. There’s a reason you have to book to get a table most days! However, downstairs the bar area is open and rocking every night of the week—no need to book! With the arrival of award-winning mixologist Audrey Eschemann, cocktails have been taken to a new level, and you won’t want to miss out! Keeping to Jason Atherton’s English roots, the cocktails represent the best of British, but obviously with the signature Aberdeen Street Social twist. Favourites include God Save the Gin—Beefeater 24 Gin, apple cinnamon syrup and lemon juice—and Pump of the Jam—an exotic blend of spicy rum, berry jam, lemon juice, Tabasco and hibiscus rooibos tea.
57 Peel Street, Soho
There’s a new kid in town—and he’s a pretty cool one. Located on the increasingly trendy Peel Street, Bobby’s Rabble has a prime location. And what comes with a prime location? High expectations! Soho is a hard place to break into—an area that can kick you out as quick as it let you in. Lucky for ‘Bobby’s’ it has a fair few backers behind it and if you’re ‘in the know’ you would have already heard about this bar. There’s no denying how small it is, however, what it lacks for in space it makes up for in price. G&T, wine and Peroni have been $50 all month, as well as ALL drinks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Another thing you can guarantee is a good crowd; try and walk past there and not see a male or female that takes your eye. Try.
Shop 1, Winsome House, 73 Wyndham Street, Central
I’ve never had a lot of love for DiVino—I always found the service slow and the drinks mediocre. However, I like to give bars a second chance, and after a few months of avoiding it I went back in when I heard they had upped their game. With new spirits on the back bar I was ready for them to impress. Those fancy looking skull-encrusted bottles you see in the picture caught my eye pretty quickly, but I am all too aware that something that looks good won’t always taste good. However, the German Iordanov Vodka completely hit the spot (I think they could tell how dubious I was as they let me taste it before I ordered). And you know what happens when you have one… it leads to ten. Won over by the vodka, I went on to one of my favourite whiskeys—SLYRS Single Malt—world whiskey category winner, don’t you know? The night was mine at that point and I even went on to SLYRS Fifty-One (51% vol). Unsurprisingly, my head wasn’t the clearest the next morning but I subconsciously high-fived DiVino for (finally) introducing some quality spirits to their menu.
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.