As we write this, we’re experiencing an October Black Rain. Wilder things have happened in Hong Kong. If you, like us, are currently trapped in the “safe, sheltered place” you dutifully headed to this morning (good call for those who stayed in), hopefully this list of new restaurants will be something interesting other than work to help pass the time. Inspiration for when the weather decides to default back to the crisp and dry autumnal air we should be experiencing.
Rex Wine & Grill
Chef Nathan Green, previously of Rosewood’s Henry, is leading a grillhouse of his own: Rex Wine & Grill. It’s a little hidden, being in the basement of Chinachem Central, and sits like a members-only, decorated den — except it serves delicious food. Highlights here are, of course, the premium cuts of beef, from 44 Farms USDA Prime to Stone Axe Full-blood Australian Wagyu and Japanese olive-fed Wagyu Kagawa, either grilled or prepared with home-smoked recipes. The menu also comes a range of comfort-first, innovative sides: Tuna Crudo with Japanese uni, lobster scallop ravioli and steak tartare toast with smoked bone marrow butter. Oh, and beef fat fries –– don’t forget it!
Rex Wine & Grill, B/F One Chinachem Central, 22 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2857 7157
Uncle Ching from Kuching
At Uncle Ching from Kuching, it’s easy to understand the concept: You’re served classic Malaysian food of the Kuching region by Uncle Ching. It’s small, tight and cosy –– sure indicators of its true-to-form authenticity and freshly made serves. You’d want to go for a bowl of the Sarawak Laksa, which is probably what gave Uncle Ching (the person) his title as “King of Laksa”. It’s bee hoon (rice vermicelli) soaked in a rich and creamy prawn and chicken broth that’s mixed in with a laksa paste made with 20 different spices. There’s also a Sarawak kolo mee, dry noodles mixed with a symphony of pork, including char siu, and also pictured above, sotong kangkung, cuttlefish over a bed of water spinach.
Uncle Ching from Kuching, G/F, 21 Amoy St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2810 7858
Amongst the many Italian eateries that have opened doors in Hong Kong, Hollywood Road’s new Sicilian pledges to be little different with a focus on family. Shared comfort meals, in particular. A concept that began with the generous act from a friendly neighbour during a vacation in Sicily which eventually led to convivial homemade meals enjoyed each evening, Sicilian is a place that recreates the heart-warming encounter –– a “home away from home”. Led by executive chef Marco Furlan, a veteran of Italian cooking for over 20 years, the menu is a selection of casual favourites highlighting with season fresh produce and chef Marco’s original spin, which can be edited according to a “plus and minus” system to suit any preference. Spinosini al granchio, a Sicilian classic with crab meat, cherry tomato and pine nuts is one highlighted dish, and the Mezze maniche marsala masala lamb, stew lamb with red curry and Marsala wine (also another Sicilian signature), is another.
Sicilian, G/F, Shama Place, 30 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
When it comes to the fiery hot, spicy and numbing Sichuan cuisine, newly opened Chuan knows exactly what to serve. It’s run by veteran chefs Lee Chi Kwong and Leung Yip Yuen, Sichuan masters who sharpened their knives at San Xi Lou and Golden Valley. Authentic recipes are made with locally sourced ingredients, but the true treasures of restaurant –– the spices; red peppercorn, cumin, Habanero chilli –– are all specially flown in from Sichuan. Test your tastebuds and find them in some cuisine classics: sautéed diced chicken with spicy red chilli, spicy Sichuan hotpot and Sichuan-style stewed fish. One to especially note though, Sichuan dim sum. Beloved steamed favourites like rice rolls, bun and dumplings are innovative renewed for a spicy twist –– spotted grouper and chives dumplings with Sichuan pepper and spicy roasted goose crispy buns.
Chuan, 11/F, Shop 1102, Food Forum, Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2838 8313
You’re probably already familiar with Hansik Goo, which opened in 2020. And while this is not a new restaurant per se, it is a new location of a beloved restaurant that you’ll want to visit. Now moved to The Wellington, the modern Korean restaurant retains chef Mingoo Kang‘s strive for refined Korean dishes in a renewed contemporary interior warmly inspired by Bu-Eok, or traditional Korean kitchen.
Appointing young new culinary talents in the kitchen, which chef Mingoo puts in place in order to allow promising Korean chef an opportunity in international kitchens, the menu once agains transforms comfort Korean cooking in beautifully elegant plates –– “simple dining”, as chef calls it. There’s Abalone Juk, the traditional Korean-style porridge elevated with the meat and liver of abalone; Fish Mandu, a popular Korean-style dumpling now remade with the fish as the outer skin with tofu and kimchi as the filling; and the return of the beloved Samgye Risotto, a fragrant dish of ginseng-infused risotto with mushroom mousse stuffed chicken roll.
Hansik Goo, 1/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2798 8768
Percy’s (In Soft Opening; Grand Opening in November)
With all the cuisine-honoured, produce-dedicated restaurants in Hong Kong, perhaps there are none like Percy’s, a neighbourhood spot, inspired by radical English poet Percy Shelley, that shifts its focus to spotlight responsibly sourced seafood in creative new plates. Led by Director Aaron Teo, the menu at Percy’s is brought together by executive chef Braden Reardon, previously of Carbone and Buenos Aires Polo Club, who shares similar sentiments with Teo in regards to ocean conservation and responsible consumption. Percy’s will feature seasonal serves that have been split into either hot and cold dishes and prepared in various techniques including dry-ageing and charcuterie, using only ingredients sourced from local fishers and farmers. The restaurant is in soft opening this month, but bookings are available for those who want to get an early taste before the grand opening in November.
Percy’s, G/F, 18-18A Shelley Street, Central, Hong Kong
70’s Food Dining
A new addition in the Hong Kong food hall scene: 70’s Food Dining by Vintage House. One that remains somewhat true to its name with a retro-inspired interior matching the era –– washes of pale sage green, rattan chairs and vintage ceiling fans. Set up with a layout that mimics street-side hawkers typically found across Southeast Asia, inside are six stalls that reflect such fragrant flavours. 亞洲香味屋, translating to ‘Asia Spice House’, for Malaysian and Singaporean curries by Uncle Hing, former chef at Mandarin Oriental, stir-fried noodles and a secret sambal sauce; Thai Grill, for Thai favourites like Pad Thai and charcoal skewers; 凱之味, for veggie-centric Chiu Chow and Cantonese dishes –– cart noodles and vegan shark fin soup; Ma Spicy Cuisine (馬麻辣) for 30-years-experienced chef Bong’s Sichuan Boiled series that recreates the mouth-numbing broth with various chilli varietals from Chongqing, Yunnan, India and Sichuan. There is also Treasures Burger for carby comfort, including a fried cheesecake and Earth, a Japanese post ideated by the famed former chef of Haku and Assagio. You’d want to come for the honey roasted Barbarie duck breast or tuna tartare dressed in homemade wasabi.
70’s Food Dining by Vintage House, G/F & 1/F, 46 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0111
As another addition to “multi-concept venues” that has become popular of late, Ikigai Concepts is a 12,000 sq.ft space in Tsuen Wan that encompasses every kinds of Japanese experience –– from wining and dining to browsing endearing tiny knick-knacks for the home. Ikigai Concepts subscribes to the popular Japanese teaching ‘Ikigai’, translating to ‘reason for being’ and taps into the discovery the small joys of everyday life.
The omakase experience offers the freshest catch of the season prepared by trained chefs, while the Kushiyaki grill fires up the binchotan grill for tasty skewers, including cheese tamagoyaki and chicken liver pâté toast. The Washoku kitchen shifts between a secret recipe for the lightest, crispiest tempura and donburi rice bowls topped with Hokkaido scallop, sea urchin crab and tuna; the Teppanyaki grill recreates the drama-filled, interactive dining experience; and finally, there’s a a sake tasting lounge and bar.
Ikigai Concepts, 2/F, Shop 211, Nina Mall II, Tsuen Wan West, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 2618 2812
Liu’s Chong Qing Hot Pot
Now that we’re settled in October, we can comfortably say: It’s Autumn! But before you hoist a group of friends for a customary hot pot dinner at usual spot, consider Liu’s Chong Qing, a renowned hot pot Chinese chain that has just arrived to Hong Kong’s Festival Walk. The mala soup base is a signature, made with over a dozen Chinese herbs and spices including local Chong Qing chillis, and comes with a selection of hot pot essentials: sliced beef marinated in a house-made mala seasoning and a Hong Kong-exclusive Liu’s Trio Beef Platter of Kagoshima A4 Wagyu chuck rib, USA prime short rib and Kagoshima pork belly. Should you prefer a milder hot pot experience, though, the restaurant also concocts a rich soy milk base, coconut chicken soup, century egg and fresh coriander soup, amongst others.
Liu’s Chong Qing Hot Pot, UG-37 & 38, Level UG, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2628 9891
Sen Sen Sushi
There are many great things about Don Don Donki; their 24 hours around-the-clock opening is one for particularly peckish nights. And then the other, its selection of delicious Japanese-style serves including sea-fresh sushi at very affordable prices. Now there’s a new venue from the Japanese retailers to flock to, one of a similarly catchy namesake: Sen Sen Sushi. This will be the first ever 181-seat kaitenzushi (conveyer belt-style sushi restaurant) from the brand and said to focus on quality ingredients in over 90 different types of sushi, including premium sashimi and specialty rice –– Nanatsuboshi from Hokkaido –– that’s been marinated in two types of red vinegar. In addition to its easy prices (toro will go for HK$12), there will also be live fish-slicing and firing table-side.
Sen Sen Sushi, Shop 2001, 2/F, OP Mall, 100 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong
Caine Road might be a little bit out of range if your usual haunt is within the Soho grid, but in the name of a new place to while away Friday evenings, hear me out! Gomes’ Gastropub doesn’t only do a delicious array of tapas, canapés and bar snacks created especially by chef-founder Monu Gomes (who runs the spot with his son, Alex), which include a Gomes signature claypot biryani, a curried, fragrant riff on the Hong Kong crispy classic, chicken seekh kebab with a mint salsa and fried favourites –– steak and chunky chips; crispy prawns –– but also a prolific beverage menu. Gomes’ Gastropub offers free-flow Baijiu drinks on Wednesday and all-you-can-eat fried chicken and beer on Monday, all while tempting more with its permanent line-up of boozy beverages: Dragonwater, Matsui Gin and Illy, which is recommended, interestingly, for breakfast lovers.
Gomes’ Gastropub, G/F, Shop 2, Midland Court, 58-62 Caine Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tucked in the bottom basement of The Peninsula is Kushiro, a sleek new omakase experience led by an expert team of Japanese chefs previously trained at notable Michelin restaurants. But while its team is skilled, the interiors thoughtfully decorated in reflection of different moon phases, it is the menu that impresses. It begins at an affordable HK$880 for a 12-course sushi menu with three appetisers, soup and dessert. The sashimi is hand-selected by an on-site team in Japan with the freshest catch from the fish market flown in daily, while the rice is rumoured to be steamed with fresh water sourced from Mount Fuji. The menu, while traditional, also encompasses innovative creations crafted daily by chef, including A4 Miyazaki wagyu, French blue lobster and golden sturgeon caviar –– grab a booking and find out.
Kushiro, Shop BW1, BW3 & BW5, B1/F, The Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2957 8838
Yung Kee has always served as an iconic landmark in the Central area; the grand two-storey edifice sets the bar for traditional Cantonese dishes, which often included the famed signature charcoal roasted goose, made with a quality purebred Black Mane Chinese goose, beloved for its meaty texture and balanced unctuosity. Amongst renewed interiors that harken back to Yung Kee’s 80-year-old story –– booths replicated after the original seating at a street-side dai pai dong, original floor tiles and opulent artefacts that tie the in the restaurant’s Hong Kong heritage –– is a menu also reaches back to similar nostalgic traditions. The charcoal roasted goose webs stuffed with barbecued pork and goose liver sausage is a popular 1950s serve, while the meticulous preparation process of smoked premium pork belly is a nod to old time Canton traditions.
Yung Kee, G/F, 32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 1624
Header and featured image courtesy of Hansik Goo