Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last week: 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.
181 Fortnum & Mason
The dish: Côte de Boeuf with Sauce Diane and Truffle Mash (HK$988)
To the flabbergasted few asking “Christmas in October?”, 181 Fortnum & Mason answers with “Absolutely so.” Here in Hong Kong, where holiday eats get going months before the actual holiday –– have we already forgotten mooncakes in June? –– Christmas, naturally, is back on the menu at Fortnums. Because no one does Christmas like they do! And while the festive feast is only set to serve on 1 December, there’s time to compile a checklist of all the dishes you can’t wait to stuff your face in.
A delectable glazed Norfolk Bronze with stuffing aside, it’s the Côte de Boeuf that deserves a centrepiece place on your holiday table this year (pictured right on this amazing spread). Drenched in a rich and tart Sauce Diane that’s flambéed table-side by chef, the flavour-packed beef rib, without forgetting a pink-in-the-middle perfection, is beautifully charred for a faint smokiness with a so very tender bite. The ideal partner to the equally delicious truffle mashed potatoes. –– Lorria Sahmet, Editor
181 Fortnum & Mason, Shop 22, G/F, K11 Atelier, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3916 8181
The dish: Pasta of the Day
Shady’s pasta — infuriatingly good. And as with all good things, they come to those who wait, because your favourite pasta dish — generously giveth by executive chef Marcus Chant — can be taketh away the next day for, honestly, something equally as good. You really can’t go wrong. It might be lasagna, handmade from scratch. Or creamy swirls of linguini carbonara. Or pillowy bites of gnocchi. Or, on this particular night as we sat and waited, arms-crossed, for the typhoon to descend, shiny, mouthwatering penne, piled up against chunks of broccoli, mince and a non-negotiable, snowfall dusting of freshly ground parm. There’s nothing as satisfying as a bellyful of carbs; unless, of course, you make the fatal mistake I made and had the portion shared between two. Don’t do that. Get your own. — Joey Wong, Editor
Interval / Farmacy
The dish: Wood Grilled Wagyu Beef Tongue (HK$148)
Beef tongue was one of my late loves in life. The thought — and texture — never appealed to me as a kid, and it took me a while to learn to love food the way I do now. I had the most delightful sliver of beef tongue at a Korean BBQ joint a few years ago, and, suffice to say, I have been all aboard the tongue train since.
This dish is deliciously charred with smoked honey atop Interval’s famous Asador-style grill, served with a topping of parsley and onions; every bite a smoky, unctuous journey. It’s a rich dish, so be sure to cut it with a glass of acidic red wine. Interval has about 60 different labels in their arsenal, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. –– Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Interval/Farmacy, Cyberport, Shop 207, Level 2, Arcade, 100 Cyberport Rd, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong, +852 2380 3498
The dish: Mac ‘N’ Cheese (HK$78)
First and foremost, my apologies for the photo. Conventional wisdom holds that one ought to judge the quality of a steakhouse not by its steak, but its sides, so I should have seen this coming. Double especially at Lan Kwai Fong Group’s Porterhouse, a place that has established a rare staying power for a restaurant in a city like Hong Kong, where “newness” itself is a qualitative virtue.
Under Group Executive Chef Angelo Vecchio, it’s a good sign they’re doing something right. Porterhouse’s recently unveiled Seafood & Steak menu boasts delights both surfy and turfy — the Lobster Salad (HK$218), Grand Seafood Tower for two (HK$988) and 450-day grain fed Australian Mayura porterhouse (HK$1,880) were serious standouts — but even after stuffing myself beyond capacity, I couldn’t get enough of Chef Angelo’s take on the simplest of sides: Mac ’N’ Cheese. A combination of Velveeta, double cream, smoked cheddar, parmesan and what Chef calls “a tip of Tabasco for the spicy soul”, it was transportive to simpler times and happy memories on a bed of creamy pasta. My recommendation? Come hungry. Try everything. Save room for the macaroni. –– Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Porterhouse, 7/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 6366
The dish: Panna Cotta with Fig Jam & Amaretti (HK$60)
Messina, oh Messina — how you please my soul! (Not my waistline, though.) With an overwhelming 40 flavours on the board, it’s a struggle every time I enter these hallowed halls. Which flavour will it be today? How many scoops should I go for? Hah, I’m kidding — it’s always going to be a triple scoop for me. I try new flavours every opportunity I get, but this particular scoop? It will always be in my line-up. Picture this: A creamy, smooth base with swirls of homemade fig jam and sprinkles of crushed amaretti. The only thing to bemoan is the fact that you’ll never be able to have a triple-scoop at Messina without this flavour being stacked in between your other scoops ever again. –– SK
Gelato Messina, 37-43 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong
Header and feature image courtesy of Shady Acres