Good news for Kowloon-siders: This month’s new openings prove more than ever that Tsim Sha Tsui is returning to its former glory as Hong Kong’s top dining hub, with everything from French fine dining to spicy Sichuan, delicious roast goose and a well-known steak-frites brand settling in Kowloon. If you’re one of those islanders who equate making the journey cross-harbour to crossing the English Channel (you know who you are), we’re betting the temptation of these shiny new dining offerings might just be the ticket to getting out of your comfort zone this month.
Ready to sweat it out with hot and spicy Sichuan food? Head over to FU RONG, the latest addition to the ever-expanding dining scene at Harbour City. An import from the mainland, FU RONG presents Chengdu cuisine at its finest, putting a stylish and contemporary spin on traditional Chinese recipes. Of course, chillies are the star here, used discerningly to add depth, flavour and fragrance to dishes such as the “Bon Bon Chicken” soaked in a rich chicken broth blended with Chinese chilli oil; the Chongzhou vegetable rolls enriched with wasabi caviar; and the signature red rice porridge which features specialty red rice and shrimp sourced from Lugu Lake in Sichuan. Top off the meal with fried rice cakes infused with Sichuan brown sugar as you soak in the panoramic harbour views.
FU RONG, 201, 2/F, OTE (Ocean Terminal), Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2388 2008, website coming soon
If you’re a roast goose fan, you’re likely to have heard of Yue Kee, the famous roast goose restaurant that started off as a tiny stand in the New Territories almost 60 years ago. Now the third-generation owners have brought the delicious bird to Tsim Sha Tsui, opening a full-service restaurant on Ashley Road. Much closer than trekking out to Sham Tseng, Goose Manor in TST serves the same famous crimson-coloured, charcoal-grilled bird, tender and packed full of juices. The geese are sourced from the brand’s own farm in Qingyuan City, raised with natural feed to deliver the intense flavour and aroma that’s kept patrons coming back for half a century. Stop by for a taste of the famed bird paired with regional delicacies such as goose intestine with supreme soy sauce, sea cucumber and goose web casserole in abalone sauce, prawn toast with salted egg, and salt and pepper squid.
Goose Manor, Shop C, G/F, Kowloon Centre, 37 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2387 1133
Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in Hong Kong, but Fishman Fukuoka, recently opened on Wan Chai Road, is bringing something brand new to the mix. The restaurant touts a unique style of omakase dining: a progression of dishes served on a cascading stairway, with each step showcasing fresh, seasonal fish with different accoutrements (HK$198 small, HK$298 large). The innovative omakase is the star attraction for those who tend to eat with their camera first, but if you’re just here for the food, you’ll want to explore the rest of the menu which includes everything from charcoal-grilled yakitori skewers to reasonable lunch sets featuring grilled miso cod, Kurobuta pork, sashimi donburi, and grilled Wagyu beef.
Fishman Fukuoka, G/F, 221A, Wanchai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2861 3001
A taste of Tel Aviv is on the menu at Francis, the latest restaurant to pop up on the quietly charming St. Francis Street in Wan Chai’s Star Street Precinct. Featuring the comforting, home-style cooking from Israeli-born chef Asher Goldstein, the convivial restaurant is a breadth of fresh air in an industry that’s lately been inundated with French, Italian and Japanese restaurants. Francis is bringing something new to the mix, and doing it with the utmost authenticity and care.
Choose from a selection of Old and New World wines or opt for a few choice cocktails instead, before tucking into a delectable mezze spread: there’s hummus topped with lamb neck ragu, baked halloumi with pomegranate molasses, cured sardines with fennel aioli, falafel with fava beans and grilled octopus teeming with harissa. Sweet roasted vegetables are doctored up with ingredients such as preserved lemon and spiced honey; while mains keep it short and to the point — think tender snapper with Persian lemon, well-marbled Wagyu skirt steak paired with Jerusalem artichokes, chicken schnitzel seasoned with za’atar, and kafta, or traditional Lebanese-style minced-meat kebabs.
Francis, 4 & 6 St. Francis Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3101 9521
Designer extraordinaire Ashley Sutton is at it again: In his fifth collaboration with local restaurant group Dining Concepts (following The Iron Fairies, J. Boroski, Ophelia and Yojimbo), Sutton’s latest project is shaping up to be his most ambitious yet. Located in the glass-walled space that used to house Zentro Loft in IFC, Dear Lilly takes its inspiration from boutique florists along the boulevards of Paris: think a romantic stroll through old-world Europe complete with floor-to-ceiling shelves with floral bouquets and vintage perfume bottles, hundreds of flower garlands hanging from the ceiling, and heart-shaped marble inlays engraved into the floor.
The fairytale-like restaurant and bar is slated to open around Valentine’s Day (go figure), with the restaurant serving an intimate V-day dinner complemented by French 1920s-inspired craft cocktails (think Bellinis, Sazeracs and Manhattans). While the menu is still getting its final tweaks, expect the focus to be on modern European cuisine with standout dishes including the Australian wagyu beef with lime ponzu sauce, slow-cooked octopus with roasted pepper salsa, Norwegian salmon and swordfish ceviche, followed by sweet bites such as lemon tartlets and torrijas, or Spanish-style French toast.
Dear Lilly, Shop 4010, 4/F, Podium Level, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2771 6060
La Mer Restaurant & Lounge
Breathing a taste of the Mediterranean into TST this month is La Mer, a French seafood restaurant which recently opened on Cameron Road. Awash in vibrant shades of turquoise with tile-patterned floors, the modern French restaurant offers an a la carte menu as well as set dinner options (HK$688 for six courses or HK$1,280 for eight courses). While both meat and seafood dishes are on offer, the focus is on fresh ocean produce, from the Hokkaido scallop with uni and caviar to wild sea bass with watercress puree and clams tagliolini with a pepper cream emulsion. For strict meat eaters, you’ll want to dig into the traditional French roast chicken paired with potato confit or the pull-apart earl grey duck leg confit. The restaurant also offers afternoon tea from 3–5pm daily, with a selection of French pastries priced at HK$288 for two, plus HK$70 for a glass of wine.
La Mer Restaurant & Lounge, Unit A&B, 1/F, China Insurance Building, 48 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2382 6688
In an effort to pay homage to Hong Kong’s golden age, newly opened JUNON is bucking the minimalist trend with a luxurious and ornate dining room set in brilliant red tones. A legacy from Hong Kong’s ‘golden age’, the original JUNON was established back in 1967 on the top floor of a commercial building in Mong Kok. Now JUNON has made a grand comeback with a new home in Wan Chai, taking inspiration from Hong Kong’s heritage past while ushering in a new era for the modern European restaurant.
Split into three areas, JUNON encompasses a casual Parisian-style bistro, a fine dining restaurant, and a gilded bar where guests can enjoy a fine whisky or Champagne. While JUNON is inspired by Hong Kong’s heyday, the food is strictly turn-of-the-century European, with dishes such as beef carpaccio made from Polmard beef, baked escargots in garlic and butter, seared French duck breast with vintage port sauce and filet de bavette harkening to old-world Europe. Settle in for a grand show as you tuck into the extravagant dishes while being serenaded by a live band.
JUNON, 2/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2808 0882
While steak-frites has been replicated many times over in Hong Kong, we’re of the opinion that the best deal in town is still at La Vache!, where HK$298 gets you a fresh green salad, 10-ounce trimmed entrecote steak cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and a mountain of unlimited crisp golden fries. The only downside? Trying to squeeze in a table when most weekend evenings see a queue of two hours or more. For Kowloon-siders, good news is on the horizon: the popular steak-frites restaurant has just opened a second location across the harbour, occupying a cosy ground-floor bistro on Hart Avenue. Come here early (and often) to get your steak-frites fix accompanied by a glass of red and a tempting selection of French desserts from the flaky mille-feuille to the golden-ringed Paris Brest.
La Vache!, 12 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2666 6818
Now that you find yourself in Kowloon it’s time to venture out east to Hung Hom, where the recent opening of the Kerry Hotel along with some fantastic dining gems have made the neighbourhood something of an up-and-coming tourist destination. If a casual bite is what you’re after, stop by Amber’s Table at Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa, a 1,700-square-foot restaurant serving everything from Asian delights to western bistro faves — think homemade pastas, steak, pizza, burgers and more.
Named after her daughter, owner Beth Chen has designed the space with a chic simplicity, a colour palette of black, grey and wood blending in to natural light streaming from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The buzzy and convivial restaurant is the perfect place to stop by for a late snack to fuel your day: think craft cocktails accompanied by platters of 36-month jamón Ibérico, creamy lobster fettuccine, and the ‘Amber’s Burger’ crafted from premium Australian Wagyu beef and topped with fresh tomatoes, avocado, cheddar cheese and caramelised onions. Seeking a more exotic bite? Take a trip around the world with dishes such as roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut, Hainanese chicken rice and chicken curry with naan.
Amber’s Table, Shop G27, Pebbles World Site 3, Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3689 9175
If all these calorie-dense meals are getting you feeling a little heavy, you’ll want to make a pitstop at 12NOON, Hong Kong’s latest healthy fast-food concept opened by French art dealer Pascal de Sarthe (owner of the de Sarthe Gallery in Hong Kong). The ‘Fit Food to Go’ takeout shop now has two branches in Hong Kong (one in Central and one in Wan Chai), offering busy city-dwellers healthy on-the-go options including wraps, grain bowls, salads and sides — think veggie ‘nuggets’ made with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and bone broth soup teeming with fresh vegetables. If you want a health-conscious lunch without sacrificing flavour, we’d recommend the chicken nasi goreng wrap (HK$55), a hearty burrito chock full of grilled chicken breast, Thai chilli, carrots, tomato, cucumber and cauliflower rice. Wash it down with a refreshing cold-pressed juice for your daily vitamin fix in a jiffy.
12NOON, Shop 310B, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2819 8279