From Moroccan to Italian to Thai and Vietnamese, this month’s new openings are all about celebrating the diverse range of cuisines in our city, whether you’re looking for fine-dining omakase or the best sandwich to grab and go (there are two tempting options in the list below). So loosen up your belt buckle and get ready to dive in, because this month’s newcomers deliver irresistible eats from around the world.
Kaiseki Den by Saotome
Another Japanese restaurant is getting a remake this month, with Lai Sun Group’s Michelin-starred Wagyu Kaiseki Den re-launching at its new location in Wan Chai as Kaiseki Den by Saotome. The new space shines a greater spotlight on executive chef Hiroyuki Saotome, pushing forward his Japanese ‘haute’ cuisine with inventive new dishes and a revamped tasting menu. Expect the same meticulous arrangement across the kaiseki, from the precise plating to the premium ingredients that ebb and flow with the seasons.
Kaiseki Den by Saotome, 32-38 Cross Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2851 2820
Modestly priced omakase isn’t easy to find in Hong Kong, so we’re hoping the recently opened Sushi Ono can deliver on its promise of fresh, authentic omakase at a fraction of the price. At HK$900 a head for 13-15 courses at dinner, it certainly seems like the best value-for-money deal we’ve come across. Ingredients are flown in fresh from Japan daily, and signature dishes include cucumber crab roll with sea urchin, yellowtail sashimi with Kyoto onion, and sliced squid noodles topped with myoga and ohba edible flowers. The sushi masters come by way of Sushi Hiro, a promising sign given the high praise from loyal customers of the hidden Japanese kitchen in Causeway Bay. With the same talent but lower prices, Sushi Ono may have found a way to edge itself in front of the competition for the best omakase in the city.
Sushi Ono, 9/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 5989 5429
Bánh Mì Kitchen
With a handful of eateries jostling for the title of best bánh mì in town, we’re eager to see how newcomer Bánh Mì Kitchen will stack up to the competition. The eatery is founded by Ryan Ching, a born-and-raised Melbournian who fell in love with the cuisine of Ho Chi Minh after spending time there for work. Now in Hong Kong, he’s dedicated to creating the city’s best Vietnamese sub, starting with the all-important bread, sourced from local bakery RISE Boulangerie. The baguettes are delivered daily and finished off in-house, allowing fresh out-of-the-oven bread for each customer; done right, the crispy crust should shatter to reveal an airy yet chewy crumb, with plenty of heft to hold in the melange of meats and veggies inside.
As for the fillings, they’ll range from the classic paté with cold cuts and pickled veggies, to more unconventional offerings such as meatballs, lemongrass chicken and barbecue pork char siu. There’s also a vegetarian lemongrass-marinated tofu for those on a low-cal diet, and freshly-brewed Vietnamese coffee with beans originating from the central highlands of Vietnam. With sandwiches ranging from HK$44–$52, this might just become our new go-to option for a tasty and portable lunch.
Bánh Mì Kitchen, Shop 5, Li Yuen East Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2328 9699
Step into a Moroccan paradise at Lilya, the new spot from Dining Concepts inspired by the mystery and charm of this African nation. Encompassing a main dining room, lounge, and balcony terrace, guests can sip on cocktails and dine on exotic eats such as seabass tagine, Mquali-style free range chicken with olives, and Moroccan pastilla (pictured above), a pigeon meatpie with almonds and cinnamon. The decor has been sourced directly from Marrakech, Morocco, from the canopy of enchanting Arabic-style lanterns to the wall of colourful babouches, or traditional Moroccan slippers. Off to the side is a cosy balcony area where guests can smoke shisha or enjoy an evening nightcap.
Lilya, 2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2526 2578
Thai Brasserie by Blue Elephant
The famed Blue Elephant group has found its way to Hong Kong shores, opening Thai Brasserie at Harbour City with a mix of new menu items and signature dishes from the Bangkok flagship. Started in the late 1970s — in Brussels, of all places — Blue Elephant sticks by a simple mission of delivering the best Thai cuisine around the world with authentic spices and flavourings. They currently operate nine restaurants currently around Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
At the Hong Kong branch, you’ll find your typical pad Thai and tom yum soup, in addition to more unique offerings such as Blue Swimmer crab meat in curry, crispy catfish salad and lemongrass souffle. The sleek digs are outfitted in wooden panels, indigo accents, and Thai-inspired artwork and antiques, with prime seaside views making for an attractive dinner destination or spot to refresh with cocktails and a snack after an afternoon of shopping around Harbour City.
Thai Brasserie by Blue Elephant, Shop 3303, 3/F, Harbour City Gateway Arcade, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2328 2328
Those who love Japanese donburi (traditionally a bowl of rice topped with a variety of meat, seafood, or vegetables) should make a beeline for Superdon, the new Causeway Bay restaurant that’s causing a stir with its generous rice bowls covered in fresh, premium ingredients.
The chirashi don — rice covered with sashimi — ranges from HK$148–$268 (excluding a HK$388 bowl that’s purely sea urchin and salmon roe), and can include a combination of fatty toro (sliced or minced with green onion), salmon, yellowtail, ikura roe, ark shell, octopus, sea urchin, and scallops. Hot varieties include grilled oyster and eggplant, grilled eel, tempura, and pork katsu with beaten egg. There’s also a mouthwatering beef bowl covered in strips of seared A5 wagyu beef sashimi and a golden egg yolk that’s sure to nab the social media spotlight.
Superdon, G/F, 501 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2668 1663
The Cheesecake Factory
One of America’s best-loved restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory debuts at Harbour City on the first of the month, serving up giant portions of comfort food and nearly 30 varieties of creamy, indulgent cheesecakes in every flavour imaginable. With a prime location on Hong Kong’s harbourfront, The Cheesecake Factory has replicated its winning formula from more than 200 restaurants worldwide, complete with the gold-lacquered interiors and curved chandeliers, 20-page menu packing nearly 250 menu items made fresh daily, and generous, over-sized portions. Chow down on everything from pasta carbonara to Thai lettuce wraps, but make sure you leave room for dessert.
The Cheesecake Factory, Shop G102, G/F, Harbour City Gateway Arcade, 25 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2791 6628
Elephant Grounds Mid-Levels
The popular coffee shop slash hipster hideout has opened its fifth outlet in Mid-Levels, perking up the neighbourhood with freshly roasted coffee and a delicious all-day dining menu. Spruce up your coffee knowledge with a variety of single-origin beans available at the brew bar, or keep it simple with the Elephant Grounds signature OG blend. Meanwhile, an all-day breakfast menu should sate any hunger pains, with items ranging from avocado toast to kale quinoa bowls and pancetta mushroom omelettes. An exclusive dinner menu is also available everyday from 6pm, with dishes including paccheri alla vodka (HK$115) and miso black cod (HK$145).
Elephant Grounds, 61 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2535 7155
BLT Steak relaunches this month with a revamped look and a new menu of signatures from head chef, Laurent Tourondel. The celebrity chef popped into town a few weeks ago to introduce a range of lighter, contemporary dishes ranging from a coconut-laced seafood ceviche; to sliced hamachi with Thai chilli and lime; and tiger shrimp cocktails with a gin-infused dressing. Meat lovers can still get their fix, with new dishes including short-rib baos with pickled jalapeño, and black garlic charred short ribs with jalapeno chimichurri and grated horseradish. Meanwhile, interiors have been stripped and refurbished to mimic New York’s traditional steakhouse restaurants, with elements of reclaimed timber, chocolate and coffee-hued leather, antique mirrors and walnut floors. The outdoor patio has been expanded to seat 28, allowing more room for guests to enjoy the stunning harbour views.
BLT Steak, Shop G62, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2730 3508
Italian gourmet sandwich shop Panino Giusto has just opened its second Hong Kong location in Causeway Bay with a large alfresco terrace, just in time for the arrival of summer. Located in Lee Garden One, the branch serves up the eatery’s namesake sandwiches stuffed chock-full of premium Italian ingredients, ranging from the Tartufo (HK$108), stuffed with Parma ham, brie, tomato, rocket and truffle oil; to the Madras (HK$98), with roast turkey breast, baby spinach, tomato, almonds, black rice, and madras curry mayo; and the Milano 2015 (HK$118), a mix of 24-month Parma ham, romaine, artichoke cream, Parmesan cream, and balsamic vinegar flakes. To celebrate the launch, Panino Giusto is offering a buy-1-get-1 special on all alcohol, any time of day, any day of the week — the perfect excuse to scoot over and check out the new digs before the weather gets scorching hot.
Panino Giusto, Shop 204, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2527 0222