Whether you’re an avid art lover or art collector, or simply a social butterfly who likes to keep a packed calendar, chances are the next few weeks of your diary are filling up quick, with festivals such as Art Basel and Art Central on the horizon, not to mention the myriad of parties, VIP events and cocktail hours taking place around Hong Kong.
Art Central 2018 (27 March–1 April) is just days away, and with it comes a host of exciting artworks and exhibitions, including a particularly impressive interactive section this year dedicated to eclectic works that push the limits of what we define as traditional ‘art’. With artwork from over 100 leading galleries to browse, chances are you’ll need plenty of fuel to sustain an afternoon (or a full day) of contemplative art gazing and exploration.
Luckily, Art Central has stepped up their F&B game this year to provide some irresistible fare for keeping your energy levels up as you navigate the fair. Whether you’re sitting down to a meal at bespoke pop-up Le Marché, or sampling the array of foods at The Terrace, there are plenty of delicious eats to be savoured. Here’s what to snack on while you’re making the rounds.
Headlining the F&B lineup for the second year running is the Le Marché pop-up by Philippe Orrico of On Dining Kitchen & Lounge, serving up casual French bistro food in a space reminiscent of a bustling European market. Try the fresh Marché Salad (HK$128) with smoked duck, grapes and walnuts, or tuck into heartier dishes from teriyaki beef short ribs (HK$198) to classic roast chicken (HK$188). Wash it down with a light Sicilian wine, or a classic Negroni (HK$90) whipped up by mixologist Giancarlo Mancino.
We’re big fans of Bread & Beast‘s flavour-packed sandwiches and subs, all featuring juicy, mouthwatering meats with unique condiment pairings. Their Kimoji Ciabatta (HK$88) is no exception: a K-fusion creation with 24-hour smoked brisket topped with a layer of melted Swiss cheese, kimchi and lemon aioli for a spicy and tart finish. Not indulgent enough for your tastes? Pair it with the Lap Cheung Mac & Cheese (HK$68) which is studded with bits of juicy sausage.
Chef Tiff Chan’s ‘Earlbérico BLB’ (HK$75) is not for the faint of heart: a multi-layered concoction with fresh pineapple, scallions, scrambled eggs, char siu, lettuce and salted egg potato chips, all sandwiched between a sweet pineapple bun. Follow it up if you dare with Tiff’s Kitchen‘s signature lava croissants, from the HK-style milk tea to the triple-matcha lava flavour (HK$45 each).
Modelled after Saigon’s most famous food stall, Cô Thành has become a perennial favourite with the Central lunch crowd for its authentic street-style dishes which nail the balance of fresh, vibrant Vietnamese flavours. Don’t miss the fragrant lemongrass and nuoc cham-marinated roast chicken on sticky rice, washed down with a tall glass of iced Vietnamese coffee for a midday refresher.
Beef & Liberty is tempting fairgoers with its signature Notorious P.I.G., one of the most popular items on the gourmet burger joint’s à la carte menu. Priced at HK$80, this beast of a burger is reason enough to stop by Art Central, with a thick slab of pork crackling, juicy slow-braised pulled pork, and crunchy green apple slaw making for a messy, mouthwatering bite.
For those after a healthy meal, you can set your sights on Little Birdy, the Australian-run rotisserie chicken joint which just opened its doors in Tai Ping Shan. The clean-fed, sustainable bird here is roasted until it’s tender and juicy, served as a set (1/4 chicken with salad for HK$88), or wrapped in the Aussie-style chicken roll (HK$58). Pair it with the killer kale salad (HK$48) and an apple crumble for dessert (HK$48).
Southeast Asian-style BBQ is the specialty of Fat Legs, which specialises in Thai flavours. Nosh on the gai yang (grilled chicken skewers; HK$60), served with a naam jim jeaw dipping sauce; or the sai oua northern Thai sausages flavoured with dried chillies, kaffir lime leaves and a minced green chilli relish for an aromatic punch.
Finally, crêpe lovers should make a beeline for L’Ami Cafe, where the banana and nutella crêpe is a tried-and-true combination to tempt all dessert lovers. Oozing with melted chocolate and chock-full of sliced bananas, the sumptuous snack is a worthwhile indulgence after an afternoon of art gazing. If savoury is more down your alley, you can chow down on the salmon mousse (HK$65), spirulina and cheese (HK$50), or classic Italian ham and French Emmental cheese (HK$60) crêpes instead.