Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last week: Those which renewed our love for established venues; caught our attention at a new opening; or freshly impressed upon us the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
These were the best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:
Smoke & Barrel
The dish: Burnt Ends Bolognaise (HK$128)
Officially, this is a “Starter to Share” but trust me, you won’t want to share. Smoke & Barrel’s Bolognaise serves up like a dream with swirls and swirls of yolk-yellow pappardelle, soused through with red-sauce and a sprinkle of parm and swimming alongside (not mince! Though I love mince) the most tender brisket you can imagine hitting your tongue. Straight from the protein cuts across the menu, this pasta dish is an excellent vehicle for all the brisket bits and bobs and tatters that don’t end up in the meatier dishes. It’s recycling! It’s green! Delicious and sustainable. It’s a bite you won’t feel guilty about going back for. Also: excellent the day after, too. — Joey Wong, Editor
Smoke & Barrel, 1/F-2/F, Wyndham Mansion, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2866 2120
Tin Lung Heen
The dish: Double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw in baby coconut (HK$498)
If I had to choose only one thing I was allowed to consume for the rest of my life, it would very likely be this soup. I know, I’m fully embracing the Chinese auntie within. Soup! Who would’ve thought? I love them all — hearty, chunky, collagen-laden; send them my way. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the meal was delightful, but this soup blew me away. It’s subtly rich in the way that leaves your lips sticky after consumption; naturally sweetened in the baby coconut, enhanced even more by the smooth coconut flesh, easily carved. Yes, the price tag is high for a portion that I could really have more of, but was it worth it? Every. Single. Cent. –– Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Tin Lung Heen, 102/F, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, 1 Austin Rd West, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2263 2270
The dish: Red Prawn Cappelletti
The thing about cappellettis are that they’re very deceiving; you always assume you can eat more than you actually can (they’re so small!). But in the case of Salisterra’s Red Prawn Cappelletti, you will have more than your actual fill –– happily and willingly, I might add.
Each plump looking dumpling is soft and pillowy, a one-bite wonder hand-made by chef Filippo Alessandri who jokes he spends countless days, nights and weekends wrapping these meticulous little dumplings. They’re coated in a rich seaweed butter that seeps into every fold of the delicate bite and adds a welcomed savouriness which compliments the simple filling of sweet red prawns stuffed within. It comes with a crunchy nori crisp, too. Very fun! I used mine to scoop up one whole cappelletti –– sauce included! –– for a full bite. Then I filled my plate up with more. I helped myself to a lot that evening. This is not on official Salisterra menus yet, but hopefully soon? Maybe Christmas? You’ll see. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Salisterra, Level 49, The Upper House, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 3968 1106
The dish: Crab Udon (HK$228)
I tend to avoid returning to the same restaurant multiple times in a month. We have so many amazing culinary options in Hong Kong; I really want to spread the love and try something new everytime. Having said that, after our initial tasting on a Wednesday, I loved every dish so much I went back that very weekend after a yoga class, partner in tow.
It breaks my heart to have to choose a favourite — I loved the wagyu ramen and the abalone juk too — but, as a devout seafood lover, the grand prize had to go to the Crab Udon; generously laden with crab roe, ikura, spring onions and a deep-fried soft shell crab. Talk about a umami bomb. There’s even a vegetarian ramen on offer, swimming in a gorgeous smoked potato broth and mixed mushrooms. Don’t sleep on the Dubu Kimchi, also raved about by my colleague Lorria Sahmet last week. — SK
DAM:A, G/F, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong