Oh, Hong Kong, how I love you so. It’s been 7 months now since I started this food and drink column, and I still can’t keep up with you. You open more restaurants and bars than I have days in my week, while still luring me into the ‘oldies’ and the classics. I’m eating constantly, and consuming too much alcohol at the same rate. How my liver hasn’t given up and my jeans haven’t split I’ll never know. Oh, Hong Kong. Let’s be best friends forever.
Anyway, back to why you’re really here; the best restaurants and bars to visit this month are:
When a new restaurant opens in Hong Kong – especially from the guys over at Black Sheep restaurants – I’m always first (well, not literally) in line to give my taste buds a party. Having just come back from a weekend break in Hanoi I didn’t expect the Vietnamese food at La Garcon Saigon to be on par with that just consumed on the streets of Hanoi. That and also the food is inspired by the region of Saigon – South of Hanoi. Occupying a huge space just off Star Street, the interior and look is pretty impressive. Its bustling atmosphere and constant buzz gives you the feel of actually being in Saigon, yet with the comfort of a Hong Kong hideout. But more talk of the food. In one word YES. I was so happy to see that they hadn’t just made a pretty looking restaurant but one that so obviously is run by chefs that know Vietnamese food and aren’t trying to make it hip or creative by changing it too much. It’s all about the skewers here – all served with fresh herbs, pickles, vermicelli noodles and dipping sauce. Try the hedgehog mushroom one. Just do it.
G/F, 12-18 Wing Fung Street Wan Chai
If you’re a seafood lover you’re in for a treat! If you’re not, then this probably isn’t your best bet. Fishsteria, is exactly what it says on the (tuna) tin. A restaurant with hysteria about all things fishy! Proudly setting roots on Queens Road East in Wanchai, among the big bosses of the F&B industry like 22 Ships, Motorino, Ham & Sherry and my last recommendation, La Garcon Saigon, they’ve got a tough gig to rock. Their menu, as you can guess, is mainly seafood, with the odd appearance of non-seafood dishes for good measure. I had the set lunch, as it seemed better value, however if I was going back I would order from the a-la-carte menu as the giant macaroni lobster looked pretty impressive. The platters in the set lunch are HUGE however, and if you want a lot of fish for your money this option is your best. Highlights include fried calamari and the octopus galena potato, the white chocolate panna cotta with cherry and almond is also worth a mention.
111 Queens Road East, Wan Chai
When it comes to lunch I want something healthy, convenient and I want change from a $100. That checklist is not easy to complete around Central and Sheung Wan area, so I usually end up going to my fail safe options of Not a Burger or Monsieur Chatte. While those are good options, I wanted something with more substance for less of my money. Possible? With a little research, yes. Zumufi, located on the edge of Central and Sheung Wan offers possibly the best selection of smoothies in town. Also home to fresh salads, panini and soups, this is any health lovers dream. But who’s going to get change from $100 after buying a panini and a smoothie? Oh, YOU can! Any panini (you can choose from Zumufi special, grilled veg, ham & cheese, tuna, turkey or Viet Banh) and a smoothie (way too many to list) will only cost you $68! Side note, it actually doesn’t really matter how much the food and smoothies costs because they all taste SO, so good. Expect a taste sensation and new favourite lunch spot. Now how to spend all this spare money… Oh, move on to the drink section and you’ll find out how I managed to that (damn HK and its inconsistency)
So, you know when you’re in LKF, but you’re not intoxicated enough to head to late night shameless kebab joint that I shall not name, or Burger Circus because the waiters there have seen you drunk way too many times? Of course you do, that was you on the weekend wasn’t it? Well, I’ve found your solution. Tucked away (far enough from the craziness anyway) on Wo On Lane is late night American food trailer-esque restaurant Boomshak. If the name alone doesn’t entice you in, my word on their banging chicken breast burger smothered in cheese and truffle should! While I was expecting average late night American food, I was pleasantly surprised to see these guys actually had a pretty impressive menu. If you’re feeling indulgent try an ice cream float, or if you’re watching the calories try the tuna tartare tacos. Either way, Boomshak fills that void of the decent food along the party strip.
Shop B, G/F, 8-12 Wo On Lane, Central
The Fat Pig by Tom Aikens (reviewed by Catherine)
Let’s face it, Times Square is not the most atmospheric spot, but step inside The Fat Pig and you’ll love the American diner ambience and the very instagrammable (is that a word?) neon lights. The concept here is everything pig-based and porky. We had brunch, and you can get your usual eggs benedict or Belgian waffle (with bacon, naturally) alongside a whole range of adventurous porcine cuisine from around the world (crispy pig’s tail with soy, kimchi and jasmine rice anyone?) The pulled pork brioche bun with coleslaw was more up my street and delicious, in fact all the food was tasty and the quality ingredients shone through. While this place is just too meaty to be a regular hangout for me, it’s a fun experience – good for bringing a bunch of friends for sharing plates to try it all. Oh and their $25 happy hour on the terrace sounds pretty tempting too (I can personally confirm the cocktails here are up to scratch!)
Times Square 11/F, Causeway Bay
I struggled to find this Spanish restaurant and bar in Wan Chai, located just off Morrison Hill. It isn’t somewhere you would stumble upon but it is definitely a place I will now be stumbling into! I heard they had a new cocktail menu out, and it was hump day, so no excuse needed really. That saying, I had my mind set on the cocktails so much I didn’t even think of food. However, Catalunya had a very clever way of keeping me in for longer than planned; a free tapas dish when ordering a cocktail from 6pm until close. So I ordered cocktails, quite a few of them, and got snacks, quite a few of them. I guess this makes me more qualified to write this really (all in the name of work!) What you should order: Polish in Scotland (Amaretto, vodka, JW Black label, beer syrup), Eat Me Drink Me (Jambon Iberico, chocolate bitters, Domain de canton, lychee liquor, home-made bacon fat washed cognac).
G/F Guardian House, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wanchai
Ok, so as you may have read by now I seem to have a new favourite bar every month. But, this is quite easy in a city that has more bars than days in the month. ISONO is my new obsession. I’m a PMQ girl; Aberdeen Street Social remains my go-to bar, and now all I’ve got to do is catch a lift upstairs to my next favourite. I took a couple of friends here on the weekend and they were in awe of the space and atmosphere and couldn’t believe they had never been in before. See, that may be one of their down sides (or up sides depending on how you look at it), not very many people know it’s there. And here I go sharing the secret. One word: Negroni. Two words: Gin Fizz. Three words GO. THERE. NOW.
6/F Block B, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
I’m still yet to eat in this New York-Italian style restaurant in LKF tower, but drink, yes. Famous for their cocktails mixed by bartenders Joenee and Luca (who make an incredibly creative and fun duo) you can’t blame me for not getting any further than the bar. A new menu has hit the shelf and there are some pretty impressive new-comers. Every cocktail has a story and these guys know how to tell it best, although while drinking the Airmail (lime, yuzu, honey syrup, yellow chartreuse, Plantation white rum, and prosecco) I may have forgotten that story due to the delicious taste. But it was something about cargo planes. I think. I’m hoping to try out the restaurant when my bank balance is looking a bit more flush, but I did manage to get a slice of the lemon cheesecake, which was quite frankly out-of-this-world amazing. I’m still thinking about it now. Cocktails and cake… I could do that again!
9th Floor, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central
Believe it or not, it’s not just cocktails I consume, I am more than partial to a healthy smoothie! Genie have just opened their third shop in Hong Kong – and this one is a teeny tiny one. With prime real estate on Hollywood Road, they have the perfect spot for your grab and go snacks and juices. Along with their range of cold pressed juices (the largest range in HK don’t you know) they are also selling healthy snacks and meals. But, like everything in Hong Kong, these delicious juices don’t come without a price tag, and will set you back up to $75 per juice. Believe me when I say they are worth it though. Try the BO-YO (strawberry, blueberry, coconut, apple and pear).
45A Hollywood Road, Central
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.