Can you believe it’s February already? The first month of 2017 is over, which means New Year’s diets are officially a thing of the past (well, at least Dry January is). From a handmade pasta joint to Vietnamese street eats and the re-opening of one of Hong Kong’s most esteemed kitchens, get ready to indulge in food and drink with no reservations this month. Follow our list below for the best bites to be had this month.
The duo behind The Optimist and Pirata have taken on the formidable task of launching back-to-back concepts within a few weeks of each other, and if the hype around Japanese-Peruvian spot TokyoLima is anything to go by, the latest concept Pici is set to be another home-run. The doors of this neighbourhood pasta joint are now open, with the menu providing a simple and satisfying cure for carb cravings and pasta addicts. The kitchen is headed by young Italian chef Andrea Viglione, and the focus is on — you guessed it — fresh Italian ingredients and rustic homestyle recipes. All pasta is made fresh in-house daily, with an affordable wine list to encourage all-day grazing on the ground floor or first floor mezzanine. Pastas will rotate seasonally and gluten-free options are available on request.
Pici, 16 St. Francis Yard, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2755 5523, pici.hk
Satisfy sushi cravings this month at Umami, a new Japanese restaurant to open in Regal Kowloon Hotel. Sushi and teppanyaki are the main offerings at this casual dining establishment, with the fifth sense of “umami” highlighted by the fresh produce and cooking methods meant to enhance the palatability of each dish. Feast on premium sea urchin, including a tempting sea urchin tempura (pictured above), plump Japanese Botan shrimp, and premium Japanese Miyazaki beef seared teppanyaki-style. A wide range of sakes and over 15 types of Japanese craft beer round out the drink offerings.
Umami, 1/F, Regal Kowloon Hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2613 2138, regalhotel.com/regal-kowloon-hotel
Rech by Alain Ducasse
Renowned chef Alain Ducasse is bringing his famous Parisian restaurant Rech to Intercontinental, Hong Kong, and you’ll have the first chance to try it when the restaurant debuts later this month, taking over the space formerly occupied by Ducasse’s SPOON. The menu at Rech is inspired by the ocean, with beautiful seafood including fresh oysters and fish from France, hot appetisers such as quick-sautéed baby squid with sea-scented herbs, and entrees including pan-seared sole with new potatoes, baked John Dory with baby Swiss chard and confit lemon, and oven-baked gilt-head bream in a pesto sauce. Enjoy the sea-inspired menu while taking in panoramic views of the harbour from InterCon’s prime location on the TST waterfront.
Rech by Alain Ducasse, G/F, Lobby Level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, +852 2313 2323, hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com
Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlor
The owners of Foxglove and Mrs. Pound are bringing us another unique concept this month: a cool speakeasy-type gin parlour showcasing the premium spirit with expertly made cocktails and a wide variety of gin from around the world. Who’s Doctor Fern? According to his creators, “an eccentric physician who has dedicated his life to studying botanicals and treats patients’ ailments with concoctions combining fresh local herbs and botanics.” Translation: expect some well-made G&Ts and underground apothecary vibes. Dr. Fern’s will also be dishing up salads and grilled cheese sandwiches during the day to tide patrons over until a socially acceptable drinking hour.
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlor, Shop B31A, B/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2111 9449
Tate Dining Room and Bar
Chef Vicky Lau has been inspiring diners and fellow chefs in Hong Kong with her innovative, ingredient-driven cuisine at Tate for the past five years, and after a successful run at the cosy 20-seater on Elgin Street — during which she picked up the accolade of Asia’s Best Female Chef from World’s 50 Best in 2015 — the visionary chef is ready to pack up her knives and move operations to a larger and more versatile space on Hollywood Road. Covering 3,800 square feet, the new venue encompasses a private dining room that seats up to 12 people, a private chef’s table and a bar/lounge area for enjoying a few pre- or post-meal cocktails. Decked out in a colour palette of soft taupe, grey, pink and gold, the décor captures the same feminine, whimsical touch of the original, while providing more space for guests to enjoy the superb tasting menus.
Tate Dining Room and Bar, 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2555 2172, tate.com.hk
Not sure where to get your caffeine fix this month? Head to Caffé Diemme, the new HK outpost of the original café founded in 1927 in Padua Italy. This third-generation family business is bringing their boutique shop to Sheung Wan, delivering an authentic Italian coffee-drinking experience with premium-sourced beans, including their award-winning blend Naturalmente Dolce which was named “Best Italian Espresso” by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters last year. In addition to exploring a range of single origin and blended coffee beans, customers can also snack on fresh sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries including the Gelato Panino — gelato sealed inside a toasted brioche bun.
Caffé Diemme, G/F, FWD Financial Centre, 308-320 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2115 9887, facebook.com/CaffeDiemmeHK
Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen
After a delayed opening, the first Hong Kong restaurant from celebrated chef and TV personality Luke Nguyen is officially in soft opening, serving up casual Vietnamese bites including pho and street snacks in a buzzy, bright setting. The man behind renowned Sydney restaurants Red Lantern and Fat Noodle is presenting a modern take on Vietnamese street-style cooking at Moi Moi, with organic and sustainable produce as the focus. Traditional family recipes and street snacks form the heart of Moi Moi, with the restaurant design and vibe inspired by chef Nguyen’s travels.
Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen, Lobby, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2808 1086, facebook.com/moimoibylukenguyen
Hong Kong has no shortage of Korean fried chicken joints, but we’re all for more varieties to throw in the mix. The latest is Dodam Chicken, a Korea import which specialises in both baked and fried chicken. Located in Causeway Bay, the 3,578-sq.-ft. space provides plenty of elbow room to get your wing-eating on, with flavour options including the original, sweet & spicy, golden crispy fried chicken and crunchy spicy chicken. The seasoning is a special blend of 27 different herbs, and Dodam has also pioneered the method of baking chicken in a pizza oven, resulting in less-fatty pieces that still pack in the flavour. Other non-chicken dishes include gorgonzola pizza, spicy seafood udon, and tteokbokki carbonara.
Dodam Chicken, 18A, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2333 8365, facebook.com/dodamchickenHK
UMI, the sushi bar at Le Comptoir Group’s stunning Repulse Bay restaurant, The Ocean, has settled into a more intimate 12-seater venue on Hollywood Road, bringing the unique omakase experience closer to folks working around Central/Sheung Wan. UMI specialises in serving up the finest fish from Tsujiki market in Tokyo, with a lunch set available as well as a dinner omakase for HK$1,588 per person, including three appetisers, 10 pieces of Edo sushi, soup, dessert and tea. While it’ll be missing the stunning ocean views of Repulse Bay, we have no doubts that the food will be worth checking out at this cosy and intimate sushi haven.
UMI, Shop 3, G/F, 159-163 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2889 5939
WTF (Worth the Fuss)
This cheekily named drinking den is the latest bar to land in Causeway Bay, serving up cocktails, wines and over 60 different whiskeys. Manning the bar is Eddy Lim, formerly of China Tang and Kowloon Tang, who will be shaking up his signature drink creations including the “Whisky Fix” (HK$105) with whisky, pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon and berries; the “Rose Bellini” (HK$105) with almong liqueur, peach syrup, peach puree and prosecco; and the “WTF Punch” (HK$105) with cognac, maraschino, dry Curacao, lemon juice and fresh strawberries. Happy hour is buy-1-get-1 from 4-8:30pm Mon-Fri, while Friday nights will be a showcase for upcoming DJs from Sol Passion Music.
Worth the Fuss, G/F, 10 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2792 0823, facebook.com/barwtf.hk