2019 is here, and with it a more conscious food culture than ever before. As more chefs (and diners) focus on the importance of sustainability, provenance and food that’s altogether healthier for you, there are more chances than ever to indulge in a mindful meal where careful sourcing of ingredients and respectful preparation go hand-in-hand with flavour. This month’s dining pop-ups prove just that, from one of the world’s great culinary foragers showcasing the indigenous ingredients of Peru, to a taste of seasonal Scandinavian produce that will whisk you straight to the Nordic wilderness.
Haku x Central Restaurante
When: 19 January
Price: HK$2,480 plus 10% surcharge for 8-course menu
Earlier this year, chef Virgilio Martinez of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’s No.6 Restaurant, Central Restaurante in Lima, planted his Asia flagship Ichu Peru right here in Hong Kong. Now, the celebrated chef is back to partner with one of Hong Kong’s own culinary talents in a 1-night-only gourmet extravaganza showcasing the best of both chefs’ respective restaurants. Joining forces with Haku’s chef Agustin Balbi, Martinez together with his wife and co-chef Pia León will present an 8-course menu at the Japanese kappo tasting counter in Harbour City, serving up signature dishes rooted in the indigenous produce of his native Peru, to complement Balbi’s Japanese-inspired creations. Highlights include Martinez’ shrimp with beef hearts and bee pollen, razor clams with jicama and warm avocado with sea urchin and Peruvian grains; while Balbi will be contributing his signatures such as crab with pike roe in puff pastry, and wild cod with Kristal caviar and sake. At HK$2,480 per guest, tickets certainly aren’t cheap, but this is one dinner that should be well worth your dollar.
Haku, Shop OT G04B, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2115 9965
Test Kitchen x Chef Toni Kostian of Grön
When: 16–20 January
Price: HK$1,080 for 7-course dinner, plus HK$480 for wine pairing; book here
With Scandinavian cuisine still all the rage, Test Kitchen hits Helsinki this month, welcoming chef Toni Kostian from Michelin-starred Grön for a 5-night pop-up dinner showcasing the unique flavours and dishes from Finland. With Grön’s cuisine built around high quality hyper-seasonal produce found in the wild Scandinavian region, guests can expect to taste the unfamiliar in an experimental 7-course meal celebrating Finnish flavours. Chef Toni Kostian will present a seafood-centric menu starring dishes such as scallop with fermented cep and caramelised butter, sea urchin roe with ”puikula” potatoes from Enontekio Lapland, butter-basted roasted monkfish loin with hazelnuts and milk, and grilled yellow chicken with mushrooms and grated black truffle. Enjoy a slice of Finnish cheese to refresh the palate, followed by an intriguing dessert made with pine needles and white chocolate, and a melange of Nordic fruits and berries.
Test Kitchen, Shop 3, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 9032 7628
Chef Christian Bau at Le Pan
When: 10–12 January
Price: HK$1080 for 5-course lunch, plus HK$600 for wine pairing; HK$2,480 for 8-course dinner, plus HK$1,400 for wine pairing (10–11 Jan); HK$3,880 for 8-course Four Hands dinner (12 Jan), includes 8-glass wine pairing
Here’s a good reason to cross the harbour this month: Fine dining palace Le Pan is presenting a French pop-up dinner helmed by Christian Bau, the youngest German chef ever to receive 3 Michelin stars and whose eponymous restaurant at the 5-star Victor’s Residenz-Hotel is regarded as one of the best in the country. He’ll be showcasing his classical French culinary style influenced by Asian aesthetics for a 3-day pop-up, with Le Pan’s own chef Edward Voon joining on the final evening for an extravagant Four Hands dinner. Showcasing a handful of techniques in beautifully balanced dishes, Bau will prepare five dishes including his signature sashimi of yellowfin mackerel in yuzukoshō and buttermilk dashi dotted with caviar; venison served with aubergine, onion and sauerbraten sauce; and Miyazaki beef with black garlic, ponzu and corn. For dessert, there’s a decadent Black Forest sweet with cherry brandy in a nod to his homeland, and a hazelnut praline and milk chocolate dessert decorated with exotic fruits.
Le Pan, G/F, Goldin Financial Global Centre, 17 Kai Cheung Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3188 2355
Six Hands and Curry Bowls at Soul Food Thai
When: 24–25 January
Price: HK$328 plus 10% surcharge per person; book online here
SoHo’s Soul Food Thai welcomes chef Dylan Jones of Bo.Lan fame (#37 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018) to the kitchen this month for a 2-night pop-up in collaboration with Soul Food’s founder chef Jarrett Wrisley and current chef Charrin Singdaechakarn. Combining their collective culinary talents, the Six Hands dinner will showcase an array of Thai specialties, encompassing recreations of Bo.Lan’s dishes by chef Jones, chef Wrisley’s Bangkok-style signature, and chef Singdaechakarn’s nostalgic dishes from her hometown in northeastern Isan. Kick off with fermented pork ribs with fried garlic and peanuts, followed by homemade sausage with tomato relish and swimmer crab dip with market vegetables. Refreshing salads include a sweet braised pork and starfruit and banana flower with crispy prawns varieties; while mains focus on curries and soups from grilled red coconut curry to southern Thai oxtail soup with herbs and aromatics. A dessert of bua loi, or warm fresh coconut cream, pumpkin and taro soup, is sure to hit the sweet spot at the end of a delightful meal.
Soul Food Thai, 26-30 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2177 3544
Red Sauce Hospitality’s The Melting Pot Series
When: 9–11 January, 16–18 January, 23–25 January
Price: HK$388 per person, add HK$188 for 2-hour free-flow package
The Red Sauce Hospitality group (Stone Nullah Tavern, Linguini Fini and the newly opened Frank’s Italian) may be heroes of Italian cuisine, but the staff that make up its restaurants are fare more diverse in their culinary backgrounds. In an exuberant celebration of food diversity and culture, the group is bringing a melange of culinary traditions to the forefront with a series of pop-up events all month showcasing the food from Nepal, Philippines and Pakistan — all prepared with love by members of the Red Sauce family. Taking place at Stone Nullah Tavern, the series kicks off on 9–11 January with a 4-course Nepalese meal, where guests can tuck into authentic dishes like Chicken Syafale, and traditional Newari Honacha Ko Famous Bara Ra Jhol, a lentil pancake made with minced buffalo, egg and bone broth. The main event is Khasi Ko Ledo Bedo — tender lamb covered in gravy with nutrela soya chunks, chickpeas and pink paneer gravy, served over cumin rice. Dessert caps off with reduced milk curd dessert with sweet saffron and sprinkled nuts.
From 16–18 January, the group’s Filipino natives take centre stage, presenting a 7-dish feast of national dishes such as Pork Belly Lechon stuffed with sinigang, 24-hour cooked Bone Marrow Nilaga and Wagyu Beef Tapa with beetroot pickled radish and quail egg. Finally, from 23–25 January, a Pakistani menu brings the celebrations to a close, with a spread of dishes from the region like the flavourful Chapli Kebab with tomato and coriander chutney and vegetarian Samosa Chaat. Mains include Chicken Karahi made with homemade masala, and spiced lentils paired with sides such as homemade pickled veg and okra. Each of The Melting Pot menus is available for HK$388 per person, with an optional 2-hour free-flow drinks package of unlimited house beer, wine and spirits for HK$188.
Stone Nullah Tavern, G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3182 0128