Is it just me or did 2015 go quicker than any other year… ever? Seriously, where did the last 52 weeks go? I may be exaggerating a tad, but it seems like a new restaurant or bar has been opening every day of 2015?! Not that any of us are complaining. Maybe, in any other city around the world, the openings would stop during the festive month of December? But not in Hong Kong. I have been rushing around like a headless snowman (is that an expression?) this month trying out the newbies, as well as the golden oldies. It’s been a great year of eating and drinking on my end; check out exactly where I have been doing that in my monthly column here, and let me know your recommendations for next year!
K-Town is the new Soho! Chic new restaurants and bars are popping up all over the place – and I love it! My latest obsession in Kennedy town is PICNIC on Forbes. Coming from the guys over at Upper Modern Bistro and ON Kitchen and Dining, (who have just received a Michelin Star) PICNIC had a strong reputation to uphold. And they definitely got my seal of approval. Something that looks as cute as a picnic basket, can sometimes rely on its visual appeal and lack substance and taste. However, they could have dished all of these up on one plate and I still would have been seriously impressed. Hands down (along with Upper Modern Bistro) these guys have the best cheese boards in town. Don’t even consider going without ordering one (or two). It is also surprisingly great value for money – and long may that last. Opening only earlier this month, PICNIC may just be one of my favourite restaurants in the city.
38 Forbes St, Kennedy Town, t. 2855 0810
Have you ever noticed how HK lacks good Indian food? Being raised in the UK, I was never far away from a decent Indian joint, but here I’ve really struggled to find one. Discovering Juhu Beach Club on Elgin street was a happy day for me. Coming over from San Fransisco, chef and owner Preeti Mistry brings her passion for home cooked Indian food to our doorstep. Serving up a creative menu of street food bites, curries and twists on Indian classics, all with the best homemade chutneys and sauces, this may be the change in the Indian food market Hong Kong was searching for! Must tries are the manchurain cauliflower, the pork vindalated pav and the curry leaf coriander shrimp curry.
28 Elgin Street, Soho, t. 2177 3544
Another new opening this month – KOKO by KEE club is one trendy restaurant! Set above busy Wyndham street, it offers more than just a nice view! Partnering with world-famous footballer, fashion icon and sake ambassador, Hidetoshi Nakata, KOKO is bringing a new Japanese social dining concept to Hong Kong. Pairing each course with a new delicious sake, the whole evening is more of an experience than ‘just a dinner’. This may well be my new favourite Japanese restaurant in town. Each and every dish is perfectly presented and tastes fresh and exciting, the atmosphere around the whole restaurant is relaxed and fun. All round a solid new restaurant to hit the city!
5/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, t. 2109 1777
We all know and love it, so why am I mentioning it now? Because, they’ve only gone and outdone themselves with their latest creation. To celebrate the launch of their new branch in K11 in TST, Butchers Club have, in my opinion, released their best burger yet! ‘The Gambler’ is a concoction of deep-fried boneless chicken fillet, BBQ sauce, blue cheese sauce and pickles, and is somewhat close to perfection. This messy, juicy, down right delicious invention (that was named after a country song written by Kenny Rogers) will hit any sandwich/burger lover’s weak spot. Just go.
Shop G34-35, G/F, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, TST, t. 2897 7522
Have you stopped looking at the brownie yet? Nope, me neither. And trust me, if this is possible, it tasted even better than it looked. But let’s not do a disservice to Jinjuu – their savoury dishes are on par with their desserts. Jinjuu is a modern take on Korean food giving guests a dining experience that is not traditionally Korean, but uniquely Korean. Some must try dishes are the Tuna Tartar $150 (tuna, fresh cucumber, shallots, chives & Korean mustard vinaigrette, topped with perilla leaves, lotus root crisps) and the Bibimbap- Kimchi $110 (served in a traditional stone bowl, filled with white rice & seasonal vegetables). It is pretty huge inside and can seat a fair few- but get there before or after the 1pm lunch rush- you’d be lucky to get a table at that time!
UG/F, 32 D’aguilar Street, Central, t. 3755 4868
Okay, I have to admit, I’m kind of obsessed with this bar! It is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the fancy ‘smart dress only’ bars in one of the dozen skyscrapers occupying Central. It’s all about the staff and the music in here (unless someone chooses a bad tune on the juke box). You can guarantee you will find a smile, a laugh and a good cocktail behind this bar, and if you stay as the clock strikes 12, you’ll be treated to shots poured into your mouth Coyote ugly style! If you fancy a laid back drink, with no judgment, or a big night out, again, with no judgement, then this is your place. Also, I dare you to not fall in love with each and every member of staff!
13 Old Bailey Street, Central
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, it’s all about the dark stuff here. Whiskey tasting is their game, and you don’t have to know your Chivas Regal from your Johnny Walker to get involved. Their name is somewhat genius, coming from an assumption that angels were responsible for the annual 2% loss of whisky from the barrel as it matured. Fancy being a tipsy angel? Head over to Angel Share and be bowled over by their knowledge of the angels’ favourite tipple!
2/F, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Rd, Central
There’s a new live music venue in town! Inspired by New York atelier’s of the 50’s, STUDIO is set to become Hong Kong’s first trendy, live music venue. Geared towards a more mature and refined audience, STUDIO will be the exclusive, hot hang-out for Hong Kong’s elite. While I am probably not labeled as ‘more mature’ or even ‘refined’ I still popped along for their opening night to see what it’s all about. Go with a lot of money, come out with none, but leave with a night of good music under your belt!
On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace
I told you I was having a little crush on K-town lately didn’t I? My British instinct must have led me here. Named after one of the trendiest parts of London, Shoreditch, it unfortunately didn’t much resemble the real thing. But what was I expecting? A replica of the actual town? However, it did do what any good bar does best, and served good wine at a pretty good price ($40 for house wine at Happy Hour). Take a perch at the open windows and watch as the world goes by – this is prime people watching spot!
Shoreditch, Shop A, B and C, G/F, 18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
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.