New year… and a new round of dining restrictions, it seems.
In case you missed the news: bars are closed and restaurant dine-in hours will be restricted after 6pm starting 7 January, continuing on for (at least) two whole weeks. My advice? Make the most of the last supper that has arrived far too early in this first week of the first month of 2022 and mark the occasion with somewhere memorable — it’s only fitting! And just before you get used to the excitement of an evening out with friends, wish silently upon that glass of bubbly that this is not an indication of the year yet to come.
All the new restaurants opening in Hong Kong this month:
The second instalment of Pacific Place’s swanky new drink-and-dine destination wellwellwell is TEAHOUSE/BARHOUSE, a dual concept that captures the second “well” of the trio, taking after “City” (市井, or “The Lively Market Place”) and continues to exhibit another facet of contemporary Chinese cuisine. Just by its name, the idea is simple: a café by day, and bar by night — the cocktails are sure to be splendid, with a full range of Chinese liquor-based tipples you can read more about in our January Where to Drink guide.
Taking the form of Chinese-style bar snacks, the menu is a complete roster from daytime cha chaan teng favourites to late-night street eats. For the former, there’s the likes of crispy egg waffle, recreated to resemble the flavours of tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) with an accompanying black sesame dip and Hokkaido scallop siu mai. The latter consists of flavour-packed smokey skewers ranging from Xinjiang cumin lamb to Guangxi ginger scallion chicken and Nanyang peanut pork. Also worth nothing: Teahouse/Barhouse’s inventive take on Chinese-Western fusion, which sees a Mapo Bolognese spaghetti made with Sichuan peppercorn and parmesan cheese, as well as a Lap Cheong Carbonara that swaps out pancetta for sweet preserved Chinese sausages.
TEAHOUSE/BARHOUSE, Shop 002, LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway Admiralty, Hong Kong
Grand Majestic Sichuan
When its an addition from Black Sheep Restaurants’ band of experiential eateries, you know it’s a fully glamorous affair of delicious food and unrivalled hospitality. This time, the group dips their toes into the fiery flavours of Sichuan cuisine with the opening of Grand Majestic Sichuan, housed in the distinguished levels of Landmark’s Alexandra House. A refined Chinese dining experience is a newer addition to the group’s portfolio, and the restaurant, specifically clarifying “flashy European-style service” set in a “dramatic dining room with a distinct mid-century feel”, will be helmed by head chef Robert Wang, previously of Chilli Fagara, with guidance from London-based writer-chef Fuchsia Dunlop. Dunlop boasts a prolific knowledge on Chinese gastronomy having spent two decades researching the culinary culture which then inspired two cookbooks dedicated entirely to Sichuan cuisine: Sichuan Cookery and Land of Plenty.
For now, the menu is kept fairly vague. But if the image above and the reputation of Black Sheep Restaurants is anything to go by, Grand Majestic Sichuan is set to impress with grand decor and a certainly honest menu that explore the complexity of tradition Sichuan cuisine in refreshing — and delicious, of course — new strides.
Grand Majestic Sichuan, Shop 301, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Central’s latest Cochrane Street newcomer Rollie serves exactly what its namesake depicts: sushi hand-rolls. Or more specifically, open-style temaki. It’s not about strict Japanese recreations either, which are often kept “clean” with soy and a dollop of wasabi. At Rollie, the imaginative rolls are filled with all sorts of toppings from salmon and tuna to grilled wagyu, avocado and imitation crab stick (which our Editor-in-Chief Nate reviewed here). Inspired by West Coast-style Japanese food, you’ll find playful takes on the hand rolls, like “Wil.I.Roll” with spicy tuna; “Ex-Scallop-ur” with seared scallop, asparagus and garlic butter; Philly Cheese with teriyaki beef amongst classics like the Rainbow and Dragon Roll. With appetisers made with the same amped-up flavours — chicken skin gyoza, spicy tuna crispy rice and a stacked Yaki Onigiri loaded with either teriyaki beef or salmon and finished off on the pan — this is a sushi bar that ditches the gentle ambience and careful etiquette of tradition for a dig-in, get-your-hands-dirty enjoyment.
Rollie, 32 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2845 9244
Woo Cheong Tea House
The Pawn returns after a three-month reno with new interiors, new menu and a brand new name. Woo Cheong Tea House will no longer serve the modern European plates it was once known for — instead, it is now a refined destination for Cantonese cuisine. Set across two levels, the first floor is a dedicated tea room with over 20 brews of premium tea blends and tea-infused cocktails. The intimate venue will also serve stacked steamers of dim sum complete with a contemporary twist: steamed fish dumplings, tom yum-style pan-seared buns and bean curd sheet rolls wrapped with black truffle and avocado. The second floor of the renewed edifice will serve as the heart of the renewed concept, with head chef Edmond Ip’s innovative take on Cantonese cuisine from the sautéed prawns set and arranged in an exquisite floral-like presentation and an air-dried, deep-fried baby pigeon with a tea-smoked pigeon egg. Another dish worth noting is chef Ip’s tea-smoked chicken, made with an aromatic blend of Hong Kong-style soya sauce, jasmine flower, osmanthus, tea leaves and dried flowers.
Woo Cheong Tea House, 1 & 2/F, 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
The Baker & The Bottleman
Those who’ve made the trip to one-Michelin-star Roganic in Causeway Bay will no doubt have returned singing very enthusiastic praises of the soda bread. Fortunately, it seems that Simon Rogan has heard it, too. The British chef has gone on to welcome The Baker and The Bottleman, a new species of café that doesn’t stop at brewing coffee with well-sourced beans (Accro Coffee does it here), but also take claims of simultaneously being a bakery and wine bar as well.
At “The Baker” section, the selection of fresh loaves and pastries baked fresh daily is led by executive chef Oli Marlow, who will not only be making more of that now-famous soda bread, but a range of familiar British-style bakes including crumbly brownies, coronation chicken buns, cheese and ham scones, and a personal favourite: Valrhona chocolate chip cookies the size of your face. And should the quiche you’re having be more tasty with a glass of chilled wine, “The Bottleman” portion, set on the opposite end of the two-storey venue, offers a full roster of natural organic wines from selected winemakers, specially sourced by the Simon Rogan team.
The Baker & The Bottleman, Shop G14-15, G/F – 1/F, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
TATE Dining Room’s chef Vicky Lau lends her detailed elegance to a brand new venture: MORA, a French-Chinese restaurant founded in collaboration with Romaine Hertebreau and head chef Percy Ho. MORA (摩 in Cantonese) is a thoughtful, in-depth study into to the versatility of the humble soy bean — a prolific ingredient typically used in time-honoured Hong Kong culinary traditions. The Chinese character “摩” is also representative in the meaning of texture, a theme threaded throughout the soy-centric menu.
Each of the soy-based products curated upon the tasting menu (à la carte to come later in March) are produced in a specialised factory that utilises an innovative new method of soy milk extraction that results in thicker textures and deeper flavours. Through inventive ideation of various presentations and profiles that dedicate the spotlight to the soybean, the dishes — baked sweet potato served with soy milk ice cream and soy milk and chicken noodles — stay incredibly faithful to chef Lau’s delicate aesthetic.
MORA, 40 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 9583 8590
There little that compares to comfort food down in the American South — the fried chicken sandwich (a signature here!) is a fine exemplar. Opening in the heart of Mong Kok, Graceland brings true Southern hospitality to the Kowloon neighbourhood with a table-load of greasy grub and very stiff beverages. Leading the kitchen will be Tennessee-native Jake Johnson, who, honouring authentic Southern American cooking, will fuse Native American, West African and European culinary influences in hefty, sharing-style plates. When you do visit, press play on the city’s only vinyl jukebox for 200 throwback tracks, and pay special attention to the Chicken & Dumplings, which replicates the classic North Carolinian duo of thickened chicken soup and dough balls; a Hot Nashville chicken sandwich with cayenne-based hot sauce smeared with cool ranch dressing; Country Fair mini corndogs; Mississippi Catfish; and the signature bevy of hearty sides including black-eyed peas, collard greens and old school tater salad.
Graceland, Shop B, G/F, Lisa House, 12-14A Yim Po Fong Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 6112 9449
Tori-Za Ten sounds like your typical Japanese izakaya, except it’s not. Instead, it’s one dedicated to the specific style of Yoshoju cuisine, meaning westernised-style cooking with Japanese flavours. The menu, then, is a collection of unexpected combinations of very familiar ingredients. A wagyu beef pizza slathered with sweet Japanese curry base paired with grilled peaches; rotisserie chicken rubbed in a zingy, Hawaiian-inspired Huli Huli seasoning or orange liqueur; and perhaps a most surprising serve from the ’50s-style, ice-cream parlour-inspired joint, pan-fried gyoza doused in a whisky-reduction tomato cream sauce topped with fresh ricotta.
Tori-Za Ten, G/F, 66 Electric Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2336 1768
Re-openings & New Addresses:
- Ho Lee Fook reopens with glamorous (also brighter!) new interiors on Elgin Street with chef ArChan Chan at its helm. It continues to serve the contemporary Chinese cuisine that the long-time institution is beloved for along with new interpretations by chef Chan. (Don’t fret, the Prawn Toast x Okonomiyaki will still be on menus).
- Matchali makes a stop at Tong Chong Street Market until 25 February with two exclusive beverages — Pink Latte and Raspberry Lemonade Matcha — and a yuzu matcha cheesecake created in collaboration with La Viña.
- Pirata‘s Pici opens its seventh location in Tseung Kwan O. The beloved pasta bar will serve three new location-exclusive dishes in celebration: Melted Truffle Provolone, Tagliatelle ‘Frutti di Mare’ and Ravioli Quattro Formaggi.