May; the fifth month of the year, the beginning of ‘summer’ in Hong Kong, and the month where everyone seems to either be leaving the city or arriving in it. Welcome to all the newcomers and farewell to all of the leavers (you know you’ll be back). Whichever category you fit in there is one thing that is guaranteed; you all love to eat. So, as always, I’ve put together a list of places you absolutely must visit this month… ready, set, GO!
It’s not every day you get to dine at Arcane, so when you do you should do it in style. Arcane first came to my attention a few months back when they were announced to be a part of TASTE festival and I got to try some of Chef Shane Osborn’s inventions. I knew from then I needed to treat myself to his full menu. The time came this month and I headed down with two friends for a 5-course lunch set. They describe themselves as “private and discreet, away from the hustle of the city or crowded restaurants, yet ideally located in the center of the prime business district.” In my head that means fine dining and fine prices. Some notable dishes were pan fried langoustines, roast broccolini, girolle ragout, crisp garlic, pan fried veal sweetbread, Jerusalem artichokes, crisp new season onion, crushed peas, truffle jus and warm chocolate tart with whipped Hokkaido cream, macadamia nuts and Guinness ice cream. And surprisingly all of this fine food came at a really reasonable price – nowhere near the price tag I was imagining. (It changes a lot, but between $350 – $400 for 3-courses).
The newly re-branded ‘The Restuarant by the Kinnett’ (I have no idea why they re-branded as it seemed good before). I love this place A, because it is right by my office and B, because it is one of the only places in Sheung Wan with healthy affordable food and a huge space to sit down and eat it in. My favourite dish is the organic whole wheat penne pasta – sun-dried tomato pesto, zucchini, eggplant, onion, pine nuts and Parmesan. Perfect for lunch and super healthy. Another stand-out dish is the steamed salmon – sautéed kale and spinach, warm heirloom tomato salad and yogurt hollandaise sauce. Another great thing about the Kinnett is all of the nutrition information is printed on the menu so you know exactly what is about to go into your belly. This can also be somewhat disconcerting – as who knew some salads contained so many calories?
Now, when I say this, I do not mean it lightly – MOYO have the best god-damn fried chicken in Hong Kong. The absolute best. How do I know this? Because I ate about 34 pieces of it – and I found true love after the first bite. The batter is so light and the chicken so juicy. The chef did explain why this was, and the magical methods they use but I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than the chicken, so you’re going to have to go down and ask him that yourself. This Korean-Italian restaurant is one of a kind, and I cry myself to sleep every day that I did not discover it before (slight exaggeration, but THAT CHICKEN). Of course, there are other wonderful dishes and the Cacio e Pepe is well worth a try (cheese rice cakes)
36 Aberdeen Street, Soho
Who can resist a cat themed afternoon tea? Not me. Or my cat loving friend. So we went to DK Cuppa in Soho to ‘ohh’ and ‘aww’ over cats – edible ones. Presented in a picnic basket, our afternoon tea was revealed and it was almost too cute to eat. Luckily we are hardcore foodies and overcame our girlie screams and ate it all. Afternoon tea is somewhat of a novelty, especially a themed one like this, but it was great to see how much thought and effort had been put into the flavours as well as the presentation. Matcha was a prominent ingredient, so I’d say if you weren’t into that there will be a fair few of the desserts you don’t like. If you’re into cats, and afternoon tea, you’ve found your perfect spot.
16A Staunton Street, Soho
Looking for deep-fried skewer goodness? Look no further. Newly opened Jan Jan is a tough cookie to find – set in Wan Chai through an un-named door – but once found, you will be greeted in the traditional Japanese way of greeting – being shouted いらっしゃいませ Irasshaimase (welcome) at. As with most Japanese food, dishes are served to share accompanied by sake, sparkling sake. Head down with a group of friends and order plenty, and make sure to include these: Kushikatsu (deep fried skewer) Chicken & Shiso Maki, Lotus Root, Asparagus. Kushiyaki (non deep fried skewer) Ume & Chicken, Chicken Meatball, Chicken Wing. And if you’re still not feeling full give the deep-fried Ice-Cream Sponge Cake a try!
2/F, 100 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
Award-winning Topiary has been on my radar for quite a while now, yet this month was the first opportunity I got to check it out. Set above bustling Soho, its airy rooftop has a secretive yet energetic feel. It’s all about the cocktails here – as any respectable cocktail bar should be – yet it also does some pretty good vegetarian snacks to go alongside your tipple. Their take on a breakfast martini Reading the Tea Leaves – made with Tanqueray Gin, tea liqueur, lemon juice and yuzu marmalade jam, is somewhat genius! While their Summer Breeze with Bulleit Bourbon, lemon juice, homemade cocktail syrup, peach puree, egg white, mint leaves and ale beer is the perfect summer cocktail. I have definitely found one of my new favourite Soho spots!
I’m sure most of you know 208 or are regulars, and I must admit I am there quite a lot – it has everything a busy expat needs; good food, cheap set lunch and a perfect place for meetings. And now, to add to those points they have good cocktails! After bringing in Diageo World Class contender James Barker to vamp up their menu the cocktails have never looked so good! With drinks like Hot buttered Rum – with Gosling’s dark rum, Cointreau, Chardonnay, butter, aromatic bitters and their Daquiri Noir long lunches take on a whole new meaning!
208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
I never really knew if this shop was a cafe or a boutique when walking past, and there was only one way to find out. Turns out it is in fact both, with a boutique and flower shop in one part and a cafe in the other. This really is the ultimate hipster spot, and while the coffee and food is good – it is really overpriced and there is a minimum of $58 spend per head in the cafe. However, I would still recommend it if you are feeling hungry and want to spend a fair few hours in there. They also have a great hidden balcony round the back with outdoor seats perfect for escaping the city bustle.
PMQ, Aberdeen Street, Central
Another one of my all time favourite hangouts in TST and even just from that picture I’m sure you can see why. Time it right and you can watch the sun go down, with an epic view across the harbour, cocktail in hand. Other than Epure being quite possibly the best French restaurant in Hong Kong, its space is huge and unlike any other restaurant in the city, boasting undisturbed views and a perfect atmosphere. Their cocktails have taken it up a notch recently, so if you’ve got friends in town, want to unwind, or just need a decent cocktail, you know where to go!
Shop 403, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Sometimes our writers are invited for media tastings, sometimes they pay their own way, either way we always aim to give our honest and objective opinions on restaurants and bars – The HK HUB
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’s latest coffee shops.