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 impressed on us again the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street bites to meticulously prepared tasting menu dishes, these are the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The dish: Porc noir de Bigorre
One of Hong Kong’s most exciting new restaurants in recent memory is Beet, which is tucked away on quiet Kau U Fong, in the space formerly occupied by Le Port Parfumé. Inside this understated space is a Hong Kong rarity: a restaurant with innovative and consistently delicious food, a welcoming atmosphere, great service, a nice selection of drinks and wine, good music and impressive value for money. At the helm of the kitchen is Singaporean chef Barry Quek, who’s talent is immediately obvious once you see his beautifully plated dishes and taste his unexpected but fully enjoyable flavour combinations.
During a recent try-out of the five-course tasting menu (HK$690), I was impressed not only by the level of skill and creativity on display, but only the chef’s desire to take risks. This is a restaurant that has the audacity to serve bread and butter as a mid-meal course, but they’re both so good (and made in-house) that you’ll be happy to have them as part of your meal. The other dish I’m still thinking of longingly is the porc noir de Bigorre (available as part of the tasting menu or HK$360 on its own). The dish features two cuts of pork — belly and loin — and you’re encouraged to have a bit of both in each bite. The fattiness of the belly evens out when combined with the loin, and the charred radicchio and blackberry added bitterness and sweetness, creating a standout dish in an evening of thoroughly incredible food. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant — go there and try it for yourself as soon as possible. —Michael Alan Connelly, Editor in Chief
Beet, 6 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2824 3898
The dish: Atlantic langoustines flambéed with cognac
With an influx of companies and restaurants migrating to the area, Lai Chi Kok is being touted as somewhat of an up-and-coming dining destination (good news for resident homebodies like me who tend not to venture too far on the weekends). One of the gems in the neighbourhood is Rustico, an authentic and cosy Spanish tapas restaurant helmed by chef Carlos Salvador Asensio. Available until mid-December, Rustico is now serving a Spanish seafood promotion, featuring flown-in fresh seafood such as sea snails, barnacles, langoustines, pink shrimp, spider crab and more.
I’d recommend pairing a platter of the Atlantic langoustines (HK$338) with the huevos rotos or “broken eggs” with Spanish artichoke chips and ham, and the traditional juicy spider crab rice for the perfect meal to split between two. These prawns were absolutely the highlight of the seafood menu — they’re drenched in a finger-lickin’ butter, garlic and parsley sauce and flambéed with a splash of cognac for added flavour. Whereas I usually gravitate towards the head of the scampi to draw out all the flavour, these delicious crustaceans were satisfying to eat from head to tail, with the sweet and succulent meat transporting us straight to the Mediterranean. And if you’re not a seafood lover, there are plenty of other gems to enjoy on Rustico’s hearty and affordable menu, from tender Galician octopus with mashed potato to deep-fried Spanish cod fritters with a robust romesco sauce. Whenever I’m craving paella and a glass of sangria, Rustico has become my go-to spot for a casual weeknight dinner close to home. —Leslie Yeh, Dining Editor
Rustico, G01, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 4511
The dish: King crab / Koshihikari rice
Based on the simple, handwritten tasting menu (HK$1,380) at Haku, you never know exactly what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be good. Take, for example, a dish described as “king crab / Koshihikari rice”, which could be served any number of ways: It’s as easy to imagine a high-end take on fried rice as it is a sushi roll with these two ingredients. Much to my surprise and delight, the actual dish was a warming winter stew of sorts, with the toothsome rice soaking up an absolutely delicious seafood-infused broth, the whole thing topped with big chunks of Japanese king crab. It’s only available on the tasting menu now, but I’m told it will be available à la carte from January. More than just one of the top things I ate this month, this is one of the best dishes I’ve tried all year. —MAC
Haku, Shop OT G04B, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2115 9665
The dish: Foie gras and duck meat dumpling
While creative hot pot places are nothing new in Hong Kong, it can be hard to discern which ones are worth their weight in wontons and fish balls. We recently popped over to Megan’s Kitchen for a team dinner to check out their new fall and winter specialties, and it was immediately clear why Megan’s is such a perennial favourite amongst locals and foreigners alike. Everything from the crispy tofu skins to the cuttlefish balls was spot-on, but one of our favourite dishes was the foie gras and duck meat dumplings (HK$128 for 8 pieces). I often find it overwhelming when a plate arrives with a giant slab of pan-seared foie gras on top (as much as I love my foie), which is why I appreciated the subtlety of this dish with the creamy richness of the liver mixed in with tender duck meat. Dunked into the hot broth, you could just appreciate the flavour and texture of the foie without overwhelming your palate — the perfect way to kick off our creative hot pot meal at Megan’s. —LY
Megan’s Kitchen, 5/F, Lucky Centre, 165-171 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2866 8305
On Dining Kitchen & Lounge
The dish: Le Chevreuil
In addition to white truffles, one of the gastronomic highlights of the latter months of the year is when wild game starts to appear on menus around town. I took full advantage of the season at a recent dinner at On Dining, where chef Philippe Orrico is a huge proponent of cooking with wild deer, hare and the like. I really enjoyed Le Chevreuil (HK$298), a traditional, rustic venison terrine served with a saffron & redcurrant chutney as well as brioche. The gamey flavour of the terrine was balanced by the chutney, with the brioche adding a bit of buttery richness to round out each perfect bite. This is exactly the kind of the thing one wants to eat in the cooler months, so enjoy game season while you still can. —MAC
On Dining Kitchen & Lounge, 29/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2174 8100
Blazed by Pololi
The dish: Flyin’ High BBQ chicken
Despite the influx of Hawaiian poke joints in the last few years, Pololi by founder Steph Kudus still claims itself to be the original and one of the best (I don’t disagree). After having Pololi on my regular lunchtime rotation, I was excited to hear they’d opened two new concepts: Kai by Pololi, which caters to restricted diets with over 50 ingredients for DIY bowls; and Blazed by Pololi, dedicated to bringing the Hawaiian luau experience (read: delicious Hawaiian BBQ) to Hong Kongers.
What you get from Blazed is essentially a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch (think a type of grilled meat, two scoops of fluffy rice and a mayo-based mac salad) minus the “plate” (it’s served in a sturdier to-go container instead for easy delivery). As one of the things I crave most when I go to Hawaii, I’m grateful to Steph for having brought over another one of the Aloha State’s beloved food traditions. This meal is truly satisfying on all counts — after all, how can you go wrong with mac salad, meat and rice? Options include deep-fried chicken katsu, pulled pork, BBQ beef short ribs and even shrimp, but I’d recommend the ‘Flyin’ High’ chicken (HK$98) with its sticky, blackened skin and moist, tender meat. It’s so good, in fact, that I was craving it for lunch the very next day (too bad they currently only deliver to Wan Chai!). —LY
Blazed by Pololi is available on Deliveroo Editions only, order here
Lily & Bloom
The dish: Pumpkin ricotta tortellini
Lily & Bloom’s new winter menu, courtesy of executive chef Chris Grare, has too many new favourites for me to name here, but one particular standout is the pumpkin ricotta tortellini (HK$135). The handmade pasta is filled with ricotta, cooked and served on a base of creamy pumpkin purée; shards of parmesan and hazelnut crumble add contrasting textures, while fine herbs brighten up the plate. I love anything with cheese and/or pumpkin, so for me, this dish represents autumnal eating at its finest, though I’ll be ordering for as long as it stays on the menu. —MAC
Lily & Bloom, 5/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 6166
The dish: Flame-grilled piri-piri chicken
I love a good piri-piri chicken, and was only recently introduced to the deliciousness that is Nando’s on a recent trip to Melbourne (a tragedy this late in life). I hadn’t tried Hong Kong’s local piri-piri chicken joint Flaming Frango until a recent tasting following their move to take over the old Tipping Point location on Elgin Street. Well, it’s safe to say I’m officially hooked.
With the new space has come a newly expanded menu (think mushroom croquettes, Flaming Frango bruschetta and sherry garlic beef), but the real star of the show is undoubtedly still the delicious flame-grilled chicken, marinated with a secret blend of spices (including copious amounts of spicy piri piri peppers) and cooked over an open flame. The charred, burnished and blistered skin is packed full of flavour, while the meat underneath drips with juices (the satisfying kind that dribbles down your chin as you eat it). Squeeze the burnt lemon on top and dip in the accompanying sauces ranging from Ginger & Lime to Mint & Coriander and the Original Spicy. The all-you-eat lunch special is an especially good deal: unlimited piri piri chicken, mixed salad, piri piri fries and a soft drink for just HK$138. —LY
Flaming Frango, G/F, 55 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2556 7555
The dish: Fresh pappardelle with white Wagyu beef ragout and porcini mushrooms
Steak is the main event at the newly revamped Porterhouse in California Tower — try the Los Norteños Rubia Gallega Prime from Spain (HK$1,488 for 1kg) — but there are plenty of other delights to savour on the new menu, including a truffled potato mash that I wish I could eat every single day. It might seem strange to order pasta at a steakhouse, but I very much enjoyed the fresh pappardelle with a white ragout of Wagyu beef and porcini mushrooms. Lighter and more refined than a typical ragout, this version allows the flavour of the beef to shine, and it pairs nicely with the chewy strands of fresh pasta made in the kitchen daily. —MAC
Porterhouse, 6/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 6366
The dish: Iberian porchetta
If you’re an ardent meat lover then you’ve probably already been to MEATS, Pirata Group’s latest carnivores-only restaurant, but even those who don’t normally love tearing into a juicy hunk of meat will go absolutely crazy over the Iberian porchetta (HK$180), one of the best items on the menu. I’ve had this dish before in Frascati, Rome, a town famous for the stuffed suckling pig, and I can confidently say that the one at MEATS was just as satisfying. First, there’s the extra crispy crackling, rendered beautifully so all you’re left with is a golden and crisp rind with pockets of bubbling fat; next, the tender and moist meat, flavoured heavily with thyme, oregano sage and fennel. The only thing that could make it better would be if they gave you two slices of ciabatta bread on the side to make your own Italian porchetta sandwich. —LY
MEATS, G/F, 28-30 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2711 1812