Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had this 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.
The dish: Aged Rubia Gallega beef & Coffin Bay oyster tartare, with Hokkaido sea urchin and aged fat trimming (HK$1,290 / person on the tasting menu)
When the H Code elevator doors coast open, you’ll be greeted with Fireside’s lit-up signage, enshrouded very dramatically with tendrils of vapour. Then, on the nose, smoke. It’s theatre! Dinner with a show! As you’re, then, led through the smokehouse, you’ll trek past open-faced fridges with dry-aged meats, fish — all on display. This is the concept behind Fireside; it’s less to do with the very burnt; the very grilled — or whatever very cooked meal is conjured up when you imagine a restaurant headlining on “Fire” as a modus operandi. Instead, while the open-fire grill serves as the axis of the restaurant, fire is, really, a metaphor. For something primordial; a respect for ingredients raw. Fresh.
Which leads us to my best bite of the week: the (pardon the very long name) “Aged Rubia Gallega beef & Coffin Bay oyster tartare, with Hokkaido sea urchin and aged fat trimming”. Essentially, uni layered over beef tartare layered over a shucked oyster. The surf-and-turf you didn’t expect. I, as someone who doesn’t love uni (please stop booing), found the ingredient actually a very nice touch. Refreshing! Umami! A perfect bite — as it is a single bite. Character development for me.
There is no à la carte ordering at Fireside (at the moment!); the tasting menu runs HK$1,290 per person so book in for something, and someone, special. — Joey Wong, Editor
Fireside, H Code, The Steps, 5/F, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, +852 6610 8689
The dish: Crispy Prawns (HK$198)
When one spends a day in Disneyland, schedules from the real world are usually rendered null. This is the place where dreams come true. So, grab a Mickey waffle for lunch and scarf down a tub of caramel popcorn for dinner. A proper sit-down at a menu-serving restaurant? No thanks! I’d rather be spending my time queuing up for another go on Space Mountain.
But, my own hypocrisy aside, I did entertain a stop-and-sit meal at Plaza Inn during my last visit. And let me just say, it was worth it. I was introduced to the glorious Crispy Prawn, a shining star upon the restaurant’s classic Cantonese menu of giant golfball-sized, deep-fried prawns blanketed under a coat of mayonnaise with unsuspecting chunks of sweet mango folded within. The creaminess –– never at once heavy –– is cut by a subtle dusting of chilli powder over the top. So yummy! It’s not a just-once kind of dish, and I would probably ask for a takeaway baggie to munch on while I navigate Adventure Land. The only downside? It’s only available inside the park. But what’s there to complain about while spending the day at the Happiest Place on Earth? –– Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Plaza Inn, Main Street USA, Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau, Hong Kong, +852 2162 5010
The dish: Australian Wagyu Burger (HK$90)
This column has quickly turned into my hamburger blog, so my apologies, or you’re welcome! A kayaking trip to Sai Kung over the long weekend had me feeling the hunger pangs, and providence led me to a little hole in the wall by the name of Burger Deli, with two angels behind the counter flipping a generous selection of burgs, dogs and other western delights (A&W Root Beer!). I went with the Australian Wagyu Burger, and what I got was a cooked-to-perfection juicy patty on a sesame seed bun. With fresh and crunchy toppings to boot, it hit the spot when I needed it most. I’ll be back soon. –– Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Burger Deli, G/F, Shop 2 Ko Shing House, 9 King Man St, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 3689 9052
The dish: Fish Mandu (HK$1,280/ person on the tasting menu)
Glancing through the tasting menu, I initially had the Abalone Juk or Samgye Risotto pegged as my favourites — and, don’t get me wrong, they were great! — but this Fish Mandu was really something else.
What is a mandu, you might ask. Well, typically, they’re Korean dumplings that can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. In this instance, however, the fillet serves as the wrap, lovingly embracing a mix of Korean vegetables and mustard, topped with a heaping of seasoned zucchini. Buttery soft — I carved my serving with a spoon — each bite was phenomenally balanced. The zest of the zucchini, the salinity of the fish and the heat from the mustard all came together to encapsulate the perfect bite. –– Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Hansik Goo, 1/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2798 8768
Green Common Nexxus
The dish: Smoked Wellington (HK$168)
Every dish at the newly opened Green Common Nexxus is a delight — but this reimagined “beef” Wellington is a showstopper! Presented with a little dish reveal complete with smoke (and oohs and ahhs from onlookers), this plant-based Wellington features OmniPork Luncheon, mushroom and truffle sauce wrapped in vegan pastry sheets, all roasted to perfection. There’s a nice meat-like chew to it, but without being too heavy. It’s just so delicious. I literally can’t believe it’s not meat! –– Sakina Abidi, Editorial Assistant
Green Common Nexxus, Shop G01 & 101, G & 1/F, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
KiKi Noodle Bar
The dish: Black Garlic Pork Tender Bone Ribs & Mixed Noodles (HK$158, lunch set inclusive)
KiKi’s autmnal menu ‘Taste of Tainan” features a two-course menu of appetiser and main course noodle favourites along with a refreshing new tea concoction. I’ve waxed lyrical about their Dan Dan Noodles here, but this might just be my new favourite in their arsenal of delicious hard hitters. The ribs are slow-cooked for melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, and further enhanced with black garlic and Sichuan peppercorn seasoning, making it an easy favourite for me this week. –– SK
KiKi Noodle Bar, various locations including 2/F, Shop 2017, ifc mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, +852 2114 3426
Header image courtesy of Fireside