Hong Kong boasts one of the most dynamic dining scenes on the planet, filled with culinarians and tastemakers galore. In our Cheat Day column, we spotlight some of the top players in the kitchen and behind the bar, delving into their personal favourites during their days off. 

This week, we speak to Mario Paecke, Chef de Cuisine at the much-anticipated newcomer Margo, a modern brasserie serving a European-inspired menu with a uniquely German touch. Opened by Leading Nation, the same group that brought us Elephant Grounds, Morty’s and The Diplomat, Chef Mario strives to serve quintessential dishes that are light and fresh on the palate.  

What is your signature dish? Tell us about it. 

Margo: Rainbow trout confit with potato salad, grilled leek and picked radishes

My signature dishes include Croquettes (HK$118) with Alexandre Polmard beef carpaccio and truffle crème, inspired by my East German upbringing where fries did not exist during my childhood.  Another is the Rainbow Trout Confit (HK$258) with a hearty, German home-style potato salad using Bavarian potatoes, grilled leek and tangy pickled radish. 

Margo: Königsberger Klopse with langoustine in creamy caper sauce

The Königsberger Klopse (HK$430), or simply German meatballs in creamy caper sauce, is a popular dish originating from northern Germany. I’m recreating this beloved national dish with my mother’s classic pork and beef meatballs recipe, paired with Bavarian potatoes and luxurious fresh Norwegian langoustine tails. 

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? 

Be consistent. I believe in consistency, where you need to give your guests the same quality of food and experiences all the time. Also, this is one of the most difficult challenges in our industry.  

What elevates a meal from being simply a meal to a memorable dining experience? 

I like to use my dishes to tell a story in order to connect to my customers. It’s important to put one’s own personality to the dish, be it memories from my childhood, inspirations when I travel or even with an incident that happens in my daily life. 

Margo: Seasonal salad with rhubarb & belper knolle cheese

What is the best compliment you’ve received about your food? 

It’s my biggest joy to see diners leaving my restaurant with a positive note and a smile. 

Describe yourself in three words. 

Passionate, consistent and focused.  

Do you cook when you are home? Which is a go-to dish for you? 

I make simple food at home, like granola bowl for breakfast and salad for lunch. 

Cheat Day time! Which are five indulgent dishes you delight in during your days off? 

1. The incredible wagyu beef boat noodles from Samsen.

Samsen
Samsen’s signature dish: wagyu beef boat noodles.

2. Shrimp dumplings from Sun Hing Dim Sum.

Sun Hing
Sun Hing Dim Sum’s famous Har Gao.

3. The Peking Duck from Man Wah, Mandarin Oriental.

4. Laksa from Rempah Noodles.

Laksa from Rempah Noodles.

5. Biang Biang noodles from North by Square Eight in MGM Macau.


Margo is currently open for both lunch and dinner service. After your meal, pop up to the mezzanine floor into their not-so-secret speakeasy Kyle & Bain, a martini-centric bar serving up drinks with a colonial twist.  

Margo, Shop 6, 9 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2130 7731 

Sandra Kwong
Features Editor
A perpetually hungry individual paired with an acute dirty martini obsession. You'll catch Sandra waltzing around town from gallery openings to various happy hours. Currently missing: long ski runs in Hanazono.