All together now: “No more turkey for Christmas dinners!”
Okay, I’ll say it: The roasted turkey is just there for tradition’s sake. Not consuming. Is this controversial? Possibly. I apologise to all the fervent turkey fans out there. But too often the bird is overcooked and gravy can only do so much. Also, we just had it for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago, so shouldn’t Christmas dinners be a time for something different? Something more sumptuous than a dry turkey slice?
Fortunately, we live in a city home to many cuisines, which also means more turkey alternatives. Maybe you’d even be so bold as to switch up the classic spread for something completely different. To that, I say congratulations for breaking the spell of Big Turkey.
It’s not just a single centrepiece that sets the table at 22 Ships; there are three whole mains to tuck into. True to the rustic tapas bar’s Spanish style, the Festive En Tu Casa sharing set is headlined with a slow-cooked Manchego Lamb Shoulder served with padron peppers and Malaga-style potatoes, and a grilled Besugo Red Snapper garnished with piquillo peppers. Should holiday indulgence inspire an even more indulgent appetite, there’s a whole-roasted sucking pig served with grilled gem lettuce and piquillo peppers available for add on, too.
Festive En Tu Casa Sharing Set (HK$3,198 for 4) is available on JIAEverywhere here.
22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2555 0722
Technically, Relish’s menu still does a traditional turkey, but instead of a tricky whole-roast, Relish cleverly renews the Christmas essential into a hefty turkey roll wrapped in bacon with the same beloved sage and onion stuffing. Christmas ham is swapped out for a crispy suckling pig with apple and rhubarb relish, and a brand new centrepiece in introduced: golden and buttery beef Wellington. The sides are also deliciously renewed in serves like nutmeg-scented Dauphinoise potatoes and crispy Brussels sprouts served with smoked bacon, cranberries and toasted pecan.
Order the Relish Festive Feast (HK$5,200) here.
Bibi & Baba
So roasted chicken in place of turkey is likely commonplace. If said chicken was Bibi & Baba’s Hainanese Chicken with endless bowls of the fragrant chicken oil rice, probably even better. But what about a Sambal Stingray, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled to sticky perfection? That’s a Christmas centrepiece to remember. Or, Chilli Crab? Made with the Singaporean restaurant’s classic recipe featuring mud crab tossed and slathered in a sweet, sour, spicy sauce — don’t forget the deep-fried mantou to scoop everything up! What’s even better, though, is that each of these dishes goes perfectly well with Bibi & Baba’s own version of mulled wine. That officially makes this meal a holiday feast!
Bibi & Baba’s Festive Specials are also available for takeaway here.
Bibi & Baba, 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2555 0628
Feather & Bone
If you’re feeling particularly creative, you’ll probably prefer to cook up your own Christmas dinner. But give yourself a little breathing room and make prep just a little easier with Feather and Bone’s Build Your Own Christmas Feast. This also means that a whole roasted turkey doesn’t come by default, either — centrepiece choice is all up to you! Find the best fit to your Christmas cravings from an extensive list of eleven different turkey alternates, from a lamb noisette, wagyu rump or pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon and sage to go with the traditional slew of sides.
Orders can be placed here.
Feather and Bone, various locations including G/F, 20 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2325 8570
Ask For Alonzo
It’s a family-style Italian feast at Ask for Alonzo. That means no turkey, naturally, and in its place, a hearty dish of pasta the likes of Piedmont beef ravioli with truffle and roasted jus. But tradition is not entirely lost either, and for those for prefer to christen the holidays with a roasted bird, the home-style trattoria does it with a glazed chicken breast set atop a baby spinach and piquillo pepper salad and a drizzle of cacciatora sauce.
Ask For Alonzo’s festive sets is also available for takeaway here.
Ask for Alonzo, various locations including Shop A, B & C, G/F, Grandview Garden, 18 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Buenos Aries Polo Club
At a tried-and-true Argentinan steakhouse like Buenos Aires Polo Club, you can be sure to count the classic roasted turkey out when it comes to Christmas. The Festin de Navidad dinner (HK$898/person) is anchored around the restaurant’s signature General Pico Black Angus Prime Rib — or 18oz Chateaubriand, if you prefer a touch of fancy — served alongside a familiar cast of holiday sides: brown butter mashed potatoes, creamed corn and provoleta mac ‘n’ cheese. Almost like your classic Christmas dinner — with a turn for the better. Reservations can be made here.
And for at-home diner, no need to fret: Black Sheep Restaurants returns with its annual “Christmas Delivered” with a highlighted turkey alternate in itself: Spice-glazed ham. Order here.
Buenos Aries Polo Club, 7/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2321 8681
For Brazilian-Japanese hangout Uma Nota, holiday centrepieces are naturally done in the same palate of bright and bold flavours. A delectable boneless beef short rib anchors the festive menu running throughout the whole December, served with homemade pickles, miso ketchup and Japanese karashi mustard, with Brazilian fried dumplings and Tiradito Defumado — slice tuna cured with a spicy-citrus chipotle tigers milk — serving as sides. Or on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, roasted suckling pig leg set upon Nashi pear purée, grilled mushroom and asparagus salad, with grilled scallops and crab hand roll as accompaniments.
Uma Nota, Upper G/F, 38 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2889 7576