Hong Kong’s best new restaurants for 2019

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Hong Kong (CNN) — A city of more than 25,000 places to eat, Hong Kong is always going to spoil diners, even without the seemingly constant flow of new spots opening up.

Nevertheless, the inspirations, ingredients and innovation behind the best new restaurants in Hong Kong, from the Peruvian Andes to northern England, are stretching the city’s global reach in 2019 even further.

Here are 11 of the best additions to the city’s dining scene, offering a world of flavors when you travel here:

Ichu Peru

Virgilio Martinez is arguably Peru’s most celebrated chef, responsible for the award-winning restaurant Central in Lima, as well as other global spots. His new Hong Kong restaurant Ichu Peru is named after a plant from the Peruvian Andes that only grows in extreme conditions.

It’s his first in Asia and serves contemporary Peruvian cuisine that’s as intriguing as it is comforting and delicious. Chef Sang Jeong worked alongside Martinez at Central and heads up the new kitchen in Hong Kong’s Central neighborhood.

The Joyce Wang-designed interiors can seat up to 80, while the outdoor terrace has already become a popular al fresco spot.

Ichu Peru, 3/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2477 7717

Kytaly

Kytaly is the first overseas pizzeria by famed chef Franco Pepe.

Kytaly is the first overseas pizzeria by famed chef Franco Pepe.

Kytaly

It’s a huge claim — and very subjective — but “The World’s Best Pizza” has hit Hong Kong.

The man behind the unusually named Kytaly — it combines the Japanese symbol of life energy, “Ki,” with “Italy”– is renowned pizza chef Franco Pepe.

His first overseas restaurant, it sits smack in one of the nightlife hearts of Hong Kong island, Wyndham Street in Central. Pepe is a third-generation baker and created a new pizza dough with his own flour, before topping it with ingredients that are 99% imported from Italy, such as pork from Caserta and buffalo mozzarella from Campana.

That may help explain the price of HK$208 ($26) for his Margherita Sbagliata (“Mistaken Margarita”), one of 19 pizzas on the menu.

Pepe’s pies, served at his Caiazzo, Italy, restaurant Pepe In Grani, have pulled in a number of global awards, ensuring that his Hong Kong restaurant is always busy.
Kytaly Hong Kong, 5/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2808 1961

Roganic

Simon Rogan needs no introduction to British diners thanks to his five restaurants, which hold four Michelin stars between them.

He has opened two adjacent restaurants in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district.

There’s the experimental hub of Aulis Hong Kong, with just 12 seats, and Roganic, a modern 40-seat spot focusing on farm-to-table cuisine inspired and influenced by England’s Lake District and some of its finest ingredients.

Always imaginative and ahead of its time, Rogan’s food delivers on every level and reminds Hong Kong’s diners — and chefs — that there’s still plenty of room for innovation.

With natural wines, fresh and foraged produce and impeccable execution, this will clearly be one to watch in 2019.

Roganic, Shop 8, UG/F, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; +852 2817 8383

SHÈ

SHE Sample Food 2

SHE’s dishes riff on Chinese classics with clever, innovative and healthy twists.

courtesy SHE

SHÈ is a Chinese character that represents hospitality and also the name of a modern Chinese restaurant within one of Hong Kong’s most historic and exclusive department stores, Lane Crawford, which is inside the IFC Mall.

The plates riff on Chinese classics with clever, innovative and healthy twists, as befits their fashion-conscious clientele.

Everything from classic Cantonese roast meats to dim sum and noodle dishes to afternoon tea paired with cocktails are available. The restaurant’s terrace overlooking Victoria Harbour has quickly become a spot to see and be seen.

SHÈ, Level 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2110 0153

Wagyumafia

If beef is your thing, then it doesn’t get much tastier or more exclusive than Wagyumafia, newly opened in Wan Chai. That’s because the 18-seat dining and butcher’s club, originally launched in Tokyo by Hisato Hamada, only serves Japanese-reared champion wagyu beef from Kobe and Tajima.

There’s only one tasting menu that highlights a variety of cuts and techniques including shabu-shabu and yakiniku.

Most famously of all, however — especially on Instagram — it’s the cutlet sandwich, which steals the show. An extra thick Chateaubriand cut is fried in Japanese panko breadcrumb, then served on Japanese milk bread with the restaurant’s own special sauce.

Other dishes on the menu include tuna direct from Tokyo, but high-end produce such as the top 1% of already expensive Kobe beef doesn’t come cheap, meaning the Signature Tasting menu will set you back a cool $230 per person.

John Anthony

John Anthony offers a large selection of innovative dim sum.

John Anthony offers a large selection of innovative dim sum.

Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Another intriguingly named spot, especially for a Chinese restaurant, comes in the form of John Anthony in the city’s Lee Gardens mall in Causeway Bay. Regional Chinese cuisines including Szechuan, Hunan and Shandong are the stars of the menu, but Cantonese also plays a large role.

The 7,000-square-foot space boasts three custom-built barbecue grills that deliver many of the dishes. The Flat Bed BBQ cooks traditional Cantonese char siu roast meats including Iberico pork, Black Angus short rib and Australian wagyu fillet.

There’s a large selection of dim sum, with handmade Alaskan crab dumplings and steamed rice rolls with soft shell crab and squid ink providing a mouthful in more ways than one. The bar is another draw, especially its 12 “gin tubes,” each filled with a house-infused gin featuring botanicals from across ancient Spice Routes.

John Anthony, 1 Sunning Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; +852 2898 3788

Hotal Colombo

It’s not a typo — Hotal Colombo is deliberately named to reflect the local pronunciation in Sri Lanka, a country rich in cuisine. The SoHo-based spot is inspired by the countless eating spots across Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo where workers head for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Both the pastel pink and blue decor and server costumes reflect the island nation’s tropical vibes, while the soundtrack adds to the atmosphere. Seating just 40 diners, it makes for an intimate and engaging eatery where Head Chef Gisela Alesbrook shares her profound love of her country’s cuisine through sharing plates.

Star dishes include Bone Marrow Varuval with Pol Roti, where slow-cooked veal bone marrow meets delicious freshly made roti flatbreads. Hoppers are a beloved type of Sri Lankan pancake, eaten at every meal and perfect for plunging into curries such as the fragrant fish kari with coconut milk and fresh curry leaves.

Artemis & Apollo

For a city reflecting all the world’s cuisines, great Greek food has been historically underrepresented in Hong Kong. Step forward a Greek taverna called Artemis & Apollo that brings the soul of the country’s best dishes to diners in the city’s Wan Chai district.

The compact twin dining rooms represent the twins of Greek legend that give the restaurant its name, while the soundtrack eschews traditional bouzouki music and instead reflects Greek and global tunes from over the years.

Chef Andrée LeFuel worked at Souvla in San Francisco so has the perfect resume to produce impeccable taramasalata made with cured mullet roe from Greece or a hugely decadent fried Saganaki cheese.

Calamari, octopus and lamb chops are other Greek staple ingredients taken to new heights, while the diverse Greek wine list features some hidden treasures.

KONG

Kong Angry Cauli

KONG serves playful Cantonese dishes.

Kong

Wan Chai-based Bread & Beast has been making gourmet sandwiches popular with locals and visitors alike. Its recent launch of an evening restaurant called Kong — in the same location — has taken its food in a whole new direction.

After dark, the restaurant riffs on local Cantonese classics with surprising twists, so cheung fun noodle rolls are covered with gooey melted cheddar, à la mac and cheese. Crispy scallion pancakes are the perfect platform for liver pate made with Hua Diao wine, while “angry cauli” lives up to its name with chili oil and a broth made with toban djan (spicy bean paste).

A strong bar program includes cocktails that hero Chinese spirits, popular with locals and visitors alike who enjoy standing outside on the quiet street.

KONG, 3 Swatow Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2237 1868

Prohibition Grill House Marriott

Down in the south side of Hong Kong Island, the Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is found right outside the city’s own take on Disneyland. Prohibition Grill House & Cocktail Bar looks the part with its 1920s throwback of red velvet curtains, brick walls, leather banquettes and copper piping.

Executive Chef Jason R. Loyd oversees the menu, which kicks off with classics such as a hearty seafood chowder or an excellent shrimp cocktail featuring wild seafood imported from Canada, served with lime jelly for those citrus notes.

Of course the meats are the star of the show, with carnivores spoilt for choice amidst a range of global cuts. M4 Japanese wagyu is hard to top, while Australian ribeye is another popular choice. Impeccable sides and decadent desserts complete the picture.

Ecriture

Ecriture means “writing” in French, and the top-floor dining room in one of Hong Kong’s hottest restaurant destinations stunned the culinary world after opening in May 2018 and collecting two Michelin stars just seven month later.

Chef Maxime Gilbert plays with French and Asian textures and flavors to brilliant effect. Pan-seared lamb, for example, is served with choy sum, Shanghainese cabbage and Taiwanese spring cabbage sauteed with pickled lemon and seaweed. The whole plate is then crowned with lamb jus and black truffle.

Desserts include an impressively constructed chestnut ganache with three separate citrus fillings, the whole creation decked in delicate chocolate rings.

Ecriture, 26th floor, H Queen’s, 80 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong; +852 2795 5996

2019-02-04 04:28:12

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