Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last month: Those which renewed our love for established venues; caught our attention at a new opening; or freshly impressed upon us the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The dish: Hand-cut Pappardelle Lamb Ragu (HK$140)
Recently opened just minutes from my apartment in Kennedy Town, Pici, although hardly a best kept secret in the world of Hong Kong’s Italian fare, continues to knock it out of the park with their freshly made pastas and sumptuous sauces. Offering a hard-to-beat weekend brunch menu that gives room to try an assortment of pasta shapes, flavours and indulgent starters, it’s the hand-cut Pappardelle Lamb Ragu that has topped this month’s favourite menus for me. Exclusive to the Kennedy Town location, expect ribbons of fresh pasta doused in a rich dollop of tender lamb ragu. This is one dish you won’t want to share. — Lexi Davey, Managing Editor
Eat With Fabi
The dish: Afternoon Pink Me Up
It’s quite an oxymoron, when ‘dessert’ — all things sweet, sinful and sugary — is prefixed with the descriptor ’guilt-free’. The give is often too little; the take too much, with the final execution prompting tepid “Meh’s” as opposed to the desired “It’s just as good — no, better!” reception. Eat with Fabi’s Afternoon Pink Me Up cinnamon roll, however, is absolutely a deserving recipient of “No, it’s better!” proclamations. On the palate, a soft, indulgent bite follows a contrasting textural switch-a-roo with the top-layer of pistachio sprinkles. If you weren’t told, you wouldn’t think this treat is made with no eggs, no dairy or no artificial colour — the Simpsons-pink vanilla glaze is naturally coloured with beetroot and red dragonfruit instead. This blush pink beauty is currently only available at The Big Things Kitchen in Jardine House and Harbour City’s ‘Beauty Mart’ through 20 June. — Joey Wong, Editor
LPM Restaurant and Bar
The dish: Asparagus with goat cheese and shallots dressing (HK$218)
Before the sweaty, sticky summer we are currently experiencing, there was the short, sweet two-weeks of breezy springtime cool. A grace period before the heat. It was a time we swapped hearty stews for lighter, brighter flavours and spotlighted seasonal produce that were star the season. Asparagus. Peas. Lamb. Citrus. Such was the case at LPM Restaurant and Bar, where the spring menu was a delightful reawakening of the classic Mediterranean-style serves.
Here, it was the asparagus that shone bright and bold. The somewhat unassuming ingredient, albeit freshest and sweetest during spring, would easily pass as just another cold veggie starter. Except it was not. It was delicious, unlike any other humdrum asparagus dish rolled out each spring. The lightly blanched stalks were seasoned with confit shallots and a simple drizzle of olive oil( stay with me) and garnished with bite-sized uniformed cubes of creamy goat cheese that balanced every earthy bite. Perhaps it was the cheese or the satisfying crunch of a perfectly in-season stalk — but it’s one i’d happily order again. — Lorria Sahmet, Style Editor
The dish: Chicken katsu (HK$168)
When one think of Japanese food, there are several dishes that comes instantly to mind: Sushi. Ramen. Donburi. And katsu — the soupy curry-based kind in particular. But at Roji, Central’s latest izakaya opened in a hidden alleyways along the Lan Kwai Fong slope, the signature dish is executed a little differently. And delightfully, one may add.
Roji’s chicken-based edition is firstly served dry-ish, save for the shallow bed of tonkatsu sauce (more on that later). It’s neatly sliced and laid on its side — a photogenic plating alternative compared to the un-cut, whole-piece presentation of its predecessors. You’ll find it’s a twist on the typical tonkatsu serve (explaining the tangy condiment accompaniment) especially by the crispy breadcrumb meets “secret panko mixture” coating. The chicken, itself, chef’s-kiss-grade of exceptional too, having been tenderised and seasoned with rosemary and chilli for a sharp kick of flavour. And for those tiny dollops balanced on the tips of each tasty strip? Simple, no-tricks mayo, for a contemporary — and welcomed — nod towards the classic tonkastu condiments. — LS
The Legacy House
The dish: Roasted goose (HK$280 for half; HK$450 for half)
Perhaps one of the most telling signs of an authentic Cantonese eatery is through its siu mei selection; aromatic, charred-grilled cuts that are central to any quintessential Chinese meal. At the Rosewood Hong Kong’s The Legacy House, the commitment to Shunde cuisine by Chinese executive chef Li Chi-Wai can be confidently deemed as faithful and true.
While chef Li’s ever-growing list of dishes are all staunch replicas of classic Cantonese favourites — some even rare recreations of long-lost recipes — it’s his take on the roasted goose that wholly illustrates his dedication to preserving the time-honoured dish. The Pipa-style roasted goose (琵琶鵝) is a modern, elevated recreation only by its choice of meat — goose instead of the classic duck — with all other components keeping truthfully towards tradition. Beautifully browned, crispy skin caramelised to perfection; a soft, succulent centre with a hint of game. The goose is served in a decadent oblong dish that is reminiscent of the traditional pipa instrument, with the expertly laid-out cuts in place of delicate strings. Photogenic as it is delicious, I promise. One dip of the accompanying plum sauce and you’re on your way to dreaming for double portions on every visit. — LS
Header image courtesy of LPM Restaurant and Bar.