Can you believe it’s August already? Neither can we. While the second half of the year is usually when we see Hong Kong’s dining scene picking up steam, gourmands can agree that it’s been a pretty stellar year thus far for new openings. But if you haven’t had a chance to make it to the latest hot spots, you’ll have to play catch-up as August presents a wave of fresh new restaurants to tempt epicureans. From a glamourous rooftop destination at The Murray hotel to a new Indian restaurant from Pirata Group and the enticing aroma of Mexican spices drawing us in to the newly opened Mojo Nomad, here are August’s 10 new restaurants to try.
Exuding style and sophistication, newly opened Popinjays atop The Murray is set to be one of the crown jewels in the hotel’s stacked dining portfolio, offering modern gastronomy and a covetable cocktail list with stunning cityscape views to match. An instant destination for Hong Kong’s well-heeled diners, Popinjays — a name taken from the cockatoos chirping along neighbouring Garden Road — is meant to evoke the sociable spirit of its namesake, with the convivial space welcoming up to 114 guests in posh grey, gold and dazzling blue interiors designed by Foster + Partners.
Helmed by chef Didier Quennouelle, the kitchen will present its version of modern European-inspired gastronomy, with classic dishes given a creative twist with a French-leaning focus. Choose from the 4- or 6-course seasonal degustation during the week, or head over on the weekends for the ‘Birds of a Feather’ menu, which features shared dishes and free-flow cocktails. Afterwards, enjoy the tunes from the resident DJ while sipping a nightcap on the 420-square-metre wraparound terrace.
Popinjays, 25/F, The Murray, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3141 8888
We can barely keep up with the frenetic pace of Pirata Group’s new restaurant openings: from dumpling house Chifa to modern Cantonese diner Madame Ching and a new branch of Pici in TST. Coming after the announcement of its new clandestine British-inspired bar, Hugger Mugger (taking over the old Zafran space on Wyndham Street, which was vacated earlier this year), the group is teasing yet another concept, Chaiwala, which will be accessed through the back doors of the British salon.
“Chaiwala has been seven years in the making. We have been on the lookout for the right location and the right time to partner with our old friend chef Bala to bring Hong Kong a dining destination that serves modern Indian cuisine,” says Pirata Group co-founder Manuel Palacio. An alumnus of London’s Michelin-starred Benares, Balaji (Bala) Balachander will lead the kitchen with a regionally-diverse menu of sharing-style plates embodying the convivial spirit of Indian dining. Expect the sophisticated new dining destination to embrace the lively and colourful heart of Indian culture, with three distinct spaces — the chai bar, kitchen and dining room — offering Bala’s modern interpretation on Indian cuisine, in addition to vibrant cocktails studded with ginger, cloves and Indian spices.
Chaiwala, Basement, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2362 8988
The newest concept from the group behind Three Monkeys, BOND and Sushi Gin, Ukiyo Teppanyaki Steakhouse has just landed in Causeway Bay, offering a twist on the classic teppanyaki experience with a focus on premium dry-aged beef. Carnivores can choose from luxurious cuts such as USDA Prime sirloin or ribeye, and marbled Kagoshima Wagyu A4 ribeye — all aged on-site, in Ukiyo’s state-of-the-art dry-ageing lockers, for 20–45 days. Meanwhile, the most dedicated beef aficionados will get to select their own slabs of premium beef, to be enjoyed on each visit as the meat continues to age and intensify in flavour over time.
To supplement the meat offerings, Ukiyo offers a selection of seafood dishes includes locally sourced lobster with burnt butter sauce, abalone and cod fish with sake brandy sauce, as well as French-influenced mains such as pan-fried foie gras with grated Japanese yam and teppanyaki escargots served with mushrooms and a garlic herb butter. The intimate, upscale concept seats just 14 guests in the main room, and seven in the private room.
Ukiyo, 18/F, OLIV, 15-21 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2152 8880
Te Quiero Mucho
We’re always keen to welcome more Mexican restaurants into the local dining scene, which is why we have our eye on the new Mojo Nomad in Sheung Wan, where a two-storey Mexican eatery is set to debut late this month. Offering innovative cocktails and authentic Mexican fare on the ground floor of the buzzing new design and hospitality concept, Te Quiero Mucho will cater to both young travellers staying at the trendy hotel and hungry passersby with a kitchen and open bar serving up sharing platters of tacos and nachos. At the main bar, guests can enjoy a welcome drink fashioned from a range of artisanal tequilas while waiting for check-in; a separate bar upstairs shakes up drinks to be enjoyed on the balcony. Does Te Quiero Mucho have what it takes to become Hong Kong’s next great Mexican food destination? We’ll have to wait and see.
Te Quiero Mucho, G/F & 1/F, Mojo Nomad, 288 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Yan Toh Heen
Unveiled just last month, InterContinental Hong Kong has finally pulled back the curtain on the new Yan Toh Heen, now situated in a prime harbourview space adjacent to Harbourside on the lower level of the hotel. Inspired by a jade jewellery box, the elegant new dining room is beautiful to behold — with the jade theme stretching from the opulent, emerald-green entrance corridor down to the jade chopstick holders. Surrounded by Yan Toh Heen’s collection of art and treasured collectibles, diners will recognise the same skilfully prepared Michelin-starred cuisine, spanning from the hand-crafted dim sum to Chinese delicacies such as abalone and sea cucumber prepared by executive chef Lau Yiu Fai. Also on the menu are new dishes inspired by chef Fai’s recent visit to Kagoshima in Japan, highlighting ingredients such as prized Kagoshima Wagyu and pork — all rounded out, of course, by the award-winning tea programme curated by tea sommelier Kelvin Ng.
Yan Toh Heen, Lower Level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2313 2323
Over in Kwun Tong, sister restaurant to Tai Hang’s popular Tipsy Restaurant & Bar, Little Tipsy has just debuted its pink- and green-themed interiors and modern European-inspired menu. Aiming to deliver a healthier option for residents in the area, Little Tipsy has curated its menu in collaboration with a local nutritionist, with a focus on seasonality and fresh ingredients. Adding to other new offerings in the up-and-coming neighbourhood, Little Tipsy will seat over 60 in its well-lit space decked out in soft pastels and birch floors, offering a nutritious salad bar with a light set menu at lunchtime, and transforming to a chic gastropub at night with heartier dishes including crab and asparagus risotto and grilled striploin with truffle mashed potato. As for beverages, highlights include an extensive selection of fine teas, as well as a boozy Saturday lunch option with free-flow wine and prosecco for HK$128 per person.
Little Tipsy, Room A, 9/F, Wong Tze Building, 71 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong (Kwun Tong MTR Station Exit B3), Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s overabundance of Japanese restaurants begs the question: Can a new sushi/sashimi counter really add anything worthy of attention to the already-outstanding mix? The city’s latest new Japanese diner, Sushi Nakamoto, is certainly up for the challenge: with a menu that already stands out for its list of more unusual ingredients, and a promise to eschew gimmicks in favour of pristine ingredients prepared with proper techniques. Sushi Nakamoto employs a deft hand and precise skill when it comes to handling the freshest ingredients, imported from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market daily, whether it’s traditional Edomae-style sushi or creative sashimi dishes. Previously of Hong Kong’s Sushi Sase, which we deemed as one of Hong Kong’s best omakase restaurants, the eponymous chef Nakamoto certainly has the chops to wow at his debut sushi counter. Only 15 seats are available nightly, so get your reservations in early.
Sushi Nakamoto, G/F, Thyrse House, 16 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2618 0070
Chua Lam’s Pho
Vying for the title of Hong Kong’s best pho can’t be easy with the explosion of pho restaurants in and around Central, but a celebrated Singaporean food critic and writer might be primed to steal the spotlight. Recently opening his first restaurant on the buzzing Wellington Street, TV journalist and food writer Chua Lam is presenting his own version of authentic Vietnamese pho, inspired by a recipe from the famous Melbourne joint, Pho Dzung, of which Lam is a perennial customer. Expect a vibrant, clean-tasting broth; slippery and supple rice noodles made in-house daily (an open kitchen allows guests to witness the entire process from rice milling to cutting the noodles); a balanced ratio of fresh herbs; and quality rare beef cooked instantly in the steaming broth. While pho is the main event, you can also round out your meal with classic sides from crunchy fried spring rolls to banh mi sandwiches and grilled pork neck.
Chua Lam’s Pho, 15-25 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2325 9117
A new concept is brewing over at Gaia Group, with the debut of an open noodle bar offering at the brand new Greyhound Elements. Inspired by the streetside noodle bars found across Thailand, diners can stop by this casual space — located conveniently across from Elements’ movie theatre — to slurp on a range of street food-style noodles, as well as new menu items from whole crab yellow curry with naan bread, to pineapple fried rice with seafood, and beef tendon spicy tom yum beef broth. A perennial go-to for its international, crowd-pleasing dishes and accessible prices, Greyhound Elements presents a new chapter for the Greyhound Cafe concept, with more openings to follow suit. Along with the noodle bar and refreshed menu items, the bar will offer a list of new cocktails harking back to the cafe’s Thai-inspired roots, from Thai mango and basil margarita to the Mango Coconuttini, a tropical twist on the classic martini.
Greyhound Elements, Shop 2001B, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2386 6008
You don’t have to hop on the ferry to enjoy hearty Macanese flavours this month — simply pop on over to Cafe Terceira in Causeway Bay, which is dishing up a tasty dose of authentic Portuguese-Macanese cuisine from within Times Square’s bustling shopping district. Tuck into baked duck rice, made with a twist using fatty goose liver, with fragrant duck meat and mushrooms; the traditional Macau pork chop bun elevated with crispy-skinned suckling pig marinated in a dozen spices; and Macanese-style Portuguese curry in a luscious bright yellow stew teeming with spices and succulent hunks of braised beef. Chase it all down with pitchers of sangria as you soak in the sea-inspired blue and green interiors and tiled floors inspired by the colourful coast of Portugal.
Cafe Terceira, Shop 1302, 13/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3101 9539