With all this talk of summer bodies and junk boats I couldn’t be further away from caring about how my stomach looks, and spend a lot of time on discovering how my stomach feels with all this wonderful food. So away with your diet talk, here are the best restaurants and bars to visit in Hong Kong this month, for anybody that agrees eating out is a lot more fun than working out.
Where to Eat
The highly anticipated latest concept by the JIA Group, Rhoda, has been the talk of the town for a few months now. It was finally my turn to get in on the action this month, a few weeks after opening. Headed by British chef Nate Green (formerly 22 Ships), his unique touch shines through the design (by internationally renowned designer Joyce Wang) and in non-pretentious food.
He hasn’t put a label on the cuisine and describes his way of cooking as using ” Asian ingredients in a western style to create simple yet delicious modern comfort food”. Dishes change daily, but some staples remain and you cannot leave without trying the Agria potato purée, asparagus, new season truffle which is perfectly cooked over a charcoal grill and the 12-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder, with stock vegetables (must be pre-ordered 48 hours in advance). Sides are not something to be overlooked either and Nate’s Mum’s potato salad brought me back to summer evenings spent in my garden in England. In fact, the whole evening felt like a blast from the past eating big family dinners back home, and I left with a bittersweet feeling of missing that, yet happy I was able to reconnect with those feelings. Dessert is another world in itself, the Vanilla cheesecake, with rhubarb and yamamomo is unbearably good, with a soft custard-like texture and a distinct vanilla flavour. Rhoda definitely lived up to its hype, and I’ve already made a second visit, with many more to come.
G/F, Shop 1A, Upton, 180 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Not Only Meatballs is a regular haunt of any Soho-goer, be it to chat to chef and owner Fabrizio about his passion for all things Italian, or to stuff your face on a hungover Sunday brunch. New dishes have popped up for summer, and it had been a good few months since my last visit, so a few hours full of Italian fare were on the cards. New notable dishes are the roman-style oven-baked pizzas, especially the Nduja & Friarielli, a comforting home-style pizza generously topped with organic provolone cheese and spicy Nduja sausage. The Burrata with Smoked Anchovies was also a hit all round and the Senatore Cappelli Pappardelle was carb heaven. I felt the Crab Balls with Sesame weren’t the best addition to the menu and lacked flavour and creativity. Savoury definitely wins over sweets. After one too many of the amazing new summer cocktails, and some great company, I left wanting to return every week to do it all over again.
Winly Building, 1-5 Elgin St, Central
The longest-standing burger shop in town is still rocking it on Wellington street and 10 years in it’s better than ever before. Their recent street party attracted nearly 700 hungry punters and their loaded burgers with bourbon bacon jam sold out in a few hours. So naturally, I didn’t go to the party and went on a ‘normal’ lunch time instead. I went for ‘The Other Woman’ a beef patty, American cheese, bacon jam, smoked bacon garlic mayo on a grilled butter bun. I loved the bun as it kept all the ingredients in perfectly and added a soft touch, but it could have been bigger for my liking and I will definitely be adding an extra patty next time. The fries weren’t anything to write home about, so I won’t bother writing about them at all. Topped off with a fresh apple and berry smoothie, my lunch minus the crowd set me back under $200. It’s worth a visit if you have a sweet tooth too as their all-American milkshakes taste like the real deal. If you’re looking for a USA experience this is your place (plus, it’s Independence Day this month, so how better to celebrate?).
When it comes to comfort food there’s one place I always head to – Stone Nullah Tavern in Wan Chai. Since I’ve been living in Hong Kong it has played host to many of my friends birthdays/celebrations and is always a people pleaser. SNT are famous for their mac and cheese, which is undoubtedly some of the best in town (I think it’s the shaved black truffle on top that really makes it), and while it is always a winner, with a night out ahead, we didn’t think something that heavy would be a good move. So, instead we went for the equally unhealthy, but tad lighter, Chicken Wings served with blue cheese aioli choice of chilli honey garlic buffalo habanero for starter. Washing it down with a glass or two of prosecco we moved on to main course of Truffled Organic Mushroom Stroganoff which was fettuccine, black truffle, with créme fraiche and hamburger helper. I love Stone Nullah for a lively night and good quality comfort food, however, I wouldn’t recommend coming here on a diet – there is just too much temptation on the menu!
G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai
Find out Where to Drink on the next page….