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8 dining pop-ups not to miss in August

Put on your best outfits, Hongkongers, as this month’s dining pop-ups are all about a return to form in fine dining, from a labour-intensive French degustation at Belon to an exclusive Kristal caviar menu at Michelin-starred Kashiwaya. Meanwhile, Spanish food lovers can choose from two tapas-driven degustations, while truffle devotees celebrate a milestone at Umberto Bombana’s private kitchen and lab. Feeling hungry yet? Make your bookings soon for these not-to-be-missed pop-up dinners in August.

Chef David Ko x Test Kitchen

When: 16–18 August

Price: HK$880, plus HK$350 for wine pairing (HK$180 corkage); book here

A locally focused pop-up will descend on Hong Kong’s Test Kitchen this month, as the talented chef David Ko presents a 3-night menu inspired by the everyday cha chaan teng. Presenting a refined take on cha chaan teng staples, chef Ko will feature locally sourced ingredients in his innovative pop-up menu, drawing on his experience working at lauded restaurants from L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong to Movida in Sydney.

The Hong Kong-inspired menu kicks off with uni and deep fried egg, where the sous vide egg yolk is coated in crunchy breadcrumbs, followed by capellini and chilled consommé, a take on the macaroni or spaghetti found at every corner CCT. Dig into ravioli in red oil with a hit of Szechuan spice; the eel char siu, which replicates the high fat content and sweet-salty flavour of traditional char siu pork; and the elevated Wagyu and rice lasagna. Dinner wraps up with wobbly egg tarts paired with milk tea ice cream, and a pineapple bun served in a choux bun with fresh pineapple chunks.

Test Kitchen, Shop 3, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 9032 7628 

La Cime x Arbor 

When: 29–31 August

Price: HK$3,688 plus 10% surcharge

Chef Yusuke Takada, from the prestigious 2-Michelin-starred La Cime in Osaka (currently ranked 17th on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants), will join forces with chef Eric Räty, of recently opened Arbor, for a sumptuous 9-course four hands dinner. With both chefs portraying similar cooking styles inspired by nature and the season’s finest ingredients, Takada and Räty will explore their creative limits as they showcase prime ingredients from the land and sea, for a French-leaning menu infused with Japanese sensibilities. With Arbor already staking its claim as one of the best new fine dining destinations in Hong Kong, epicureans would be remiss to skip this opportunity to experience the meeting of two culinary greats. Expect artfully presented dishes, immaculate ingredients, and plenty of creativity as chef Takada makes his Hong Kong debut. 

Arbor, 25/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3185 8388

#EATRARE Dinner at 22 Ships

When: 14–15 August

Price: HK$688 for 6-course tapas dinner; book here

It’s all about beef at 22 Ship’s #EATRARE dinner this month, hosted by head chef Aaron Gillespie and heritage foods purveyor Bennet Lee. For two nights, the Spanish kitchen will present an exclusive menu paying homage to the ancient breed of cattle, the “Belted Galloways” from Whitewater Dash in England. Originating as far back as the 11th century in neighbouring Scotland, the heritage breed has since landed in Lake District National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Owned by a small family farm, farmer James Irving will hand-select two of the best “Belties” for the exclusive dinner at 22 Ships, with Gillespie creating a unique 6-course tapas dinners to showcase the flavoursome meat. Held at 22 Ships’ chef counter, diners can interact with the kitchen while tucking into Gillespie’s Reuben Toastie, ‘Cheek and Tail’, tortellini in a hearty bone broth, and roast sirloin with brisket and marrow sauce.

22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2555 0722

Octavium’s 1-year Anniversary 

When: 8 August, 8pm

Price: HK$1,888 plus 10% surcharge

Chef Umberto Bombana’s private kitchen, Octavium, is celebrating its 1st anniversary this month with an auspicious dinner featuring the number “8”. Symbolising prosperity in Chinese culture, chef Bombana has long had a connection with the lucky number, from his debut 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, to naming his first private kitchen and creative laboratory, Octavium. With the theme in full swing, just eight seats will be available on the 8th of August for the memorable event, where chef Bombana will prepare some of his signature dishes with a total of eight chefs, encompassing friends, colleagues, and the cooking debut from his son, Bart Bombana. Amongst the highlights are an Italian mushroom broth made with Japanese Kinki fish, and a never-before-seen tripe recipe handed down from Bombana’s nonna. The dinner concludes with a lucky draw for eight guests to win an 88-minute personal cooking class with the ‘King of Truffles’ himself.

Octavium Italian Restaurant, 8/F, One Chinachem Central, Central, 22 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2111 9395

Antonio Romero at La Rambla

When: 7–8 August

Price: HK$1,400 per person, HK$2,200 with wine pairing; prices subject to 10% surcharge

Tapas lovers will want to mark down 7–8 August for an exclusive four hands dinner at La Rambla, featuring guest chef Antonio Romero from Barcelona’s acclaimed Suculent restaurant. Together with La Rambla’s head chef Ferran Tadeo, the two Spanish culinary heavyweights will present an innovative tapas-driven menu to an exclusive 12 diners each night, with molecular-inflected dishes ranging from crispy chicken skin with glace cockcomb by chef Romero, to pigeon, curry and tapioca by chef Tadeo. Other highlights make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, including the refreshing ceviche with avocado made with prized Carabinero prawns from Barcelona’s La Boqueria market; and ajo blanco, a type of white gazpacho made with smoked sardines and salmon eggs. For meat lovers, the grilled bone marrow with steak tartare and soufflé potatoes is sure to present an irresistible combination, washed down with copious amounts of Spanish wine.

La Rambla by Catalunya, 3071-73, 3/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2661 1161

Ode x Belon dinner series 

When: 7 August

Price: HK$1,488 plus 10% surcharge; email events@blacksheeprestaurants.com for reservations

It’s set to be a meeting of two highly trained perfectionists as chef Daniel Calvert’s upscale SoHo spot Belon — recently inducted to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 — welcomes chef Yusuke Namai, from Tokyo’s famed Ode restaurant, for its first-ever four hands dinner. With a career spanning formidable kitchens across Japan, from Heureux in Karuizawa to CHIC peut-être in Tokyo, chef Namai has proven his ability to combine intuition with innovation and technique, surprising diners at his eclectic, seasonal-driven restaurant. Working in tandem in Belon’s kitchen, Calvert and Namai will reimagine French classics within the context of both Japanese and French cuisines, showcasing a range of labour-intensive techniques and precise craftsmanship. With both chefs boasting a wide repertoire and extensive skill, this pop-up has all the makings to be one of the more memorable gastronomic events of the summer.

Belon, 41 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2152 2872 

Kashiwaya x Kaviari

When: 16 August; Kaviari menu available from 20–25 August thereafter

Price: HK$2,500 plus 10% surcharge

Premium caviar is the key ingredient in a luxurious degustation this month served at Michelin-starred Kashiwaya. Embracing the culinary art form of kaiseki, head chef Atsushi Takahashi will present a one-of-a-kind menu in partnership with caviar house Kaviari, giving the expensive ingredient its due royal treatment in a stunning 11-course menu. Dishes include both Oscietre and Kristal caviar, with a beautiful range of fresh Japanese ingredients used to draw out the unique characteristics of the roe, from the Kuruma prawns with caviar and grilled shiitake mushrooms, to crab meat with salted sea urchin and caviar, and avocado with slow-cooked egg and caviar. In addition to premium gastronomy, the dinner also highlights Kaviari’s efforts in leading the global sustainability movement towards farm-raised caviar.

Kashiwaya, 8/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2520 5218

“North vs South” beef battle at Lily & Bloom

When: 23 August; De La Valley beef available at Lily & Bloom from 24–31 August

Price: HK$495 plus 10% surcharge 

Does North American or South American beef reign supreme? Find out on 23 August as Lily & Bloom hosts a battle with South American meat purveyors De La Valley. To celebrate the recent launch of their delivery service — offering a range of rare, 100% natural-certified South American cuts — De La Valley has chosen American restaurant Lily & Bloom as the site of an epic beef battle to showcase the differences between North American and South American meat. Chef Chris Grare will present his signature 45-day dry-aged steaks, while De La Valley fights back with their Argentinian tomahawk and picanha (rump cap) cuts, prized for their robust, beefy flavour. The menu is simple, with the steaks supported only by simple yet stunning sides, such as grilled asparagus chimichurri and mash potato with garlic and aged cheddar, along with a range of dipping sauces.

Lily & Bloom, 5/F & 6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 6166

Leslie Yeh
Editor in Chief
Having worked as a lifestyle editor for almost 10 years, Leslie is thrilled to be writing about the topic she loves most: wining and dining. When she's not out pounding the pavement for the latest new restaurant opening or tracking food trends, Leslie can be found at home whipping up a plate of rigatoni vodka and binge-watching Netflix with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.