Hong Kong’s cutthroat restaurant scene means that although options for dining out are limitless in our city, we’re constantly at risk of suddenly finding our favourite neighbourhood restaurants or go-to weeknight spots gone — whether it be from rent hikes, a dip in business, or simply a change in ownership and new direction. While most of us are used to this continual ebb and flow — from out-of-the-blue closures to those which may not come as the biggest shock — some closings are inevitably bound to stir up more emotion than others.
Earlier this month, long-time LKF institution Lily & Bloom announced that it would shutter after eight years on the scene, with owners Buzz Concepts stating that the American restaurant and bar had run its course (as they focused on new projects including the recently opened sports lounge/fight club Paper Street, and Mudita, which replaces late-night spot Fly); and making the call-out to all fans and loyal customers to stop by for the spate of happy hours, Burger & Lobster nights, and guest DJs leading up to its final service on 13 September. As predicted from a restaurant that has built up an impressive (and relatively stable) fan base over the years, the outpouring was immense, from customers for whom L&B was a weekly haunt, whether it be dinner date or late-night party hub, to chefs who spent the formative years of their careers in the L&B kitchens, and bartenders who credit the Bloom bar for kickstarting the local craft cocktail scene in Hong Kong.
Luckily, it seems like this story might have a happy ending after all: Lily & Bloom has been brought back from the brink of permanent closure by Le Comptoir Group (Bibo, Ecriture, The Ocean, Tri, Umi), who announced today that they’ll be taking over ownership of the restaurant, with service resuming immediately and the menu remaining unchanged. Better still, they’ve kept on the full team of bartenders, front of house staff, and culinary team — ensuring that the transition will be as seamless as possible, on the customer end at least, as the staff adjust to the change in ownership.
“Le Comptoir is very excited to take Lily & Bloom under our umbrella to breathe new life into this Hong Kong institution,” said Diana Dang, Group Marketing Manager of Le Comptoir. “While we look forward to working with the Lily & Bloom team as its winning formula of hearty American cuisine, creative cocktails, and convivial hospitality has continually captivated and indulged guests, we have ambitious plans for these two venues and will be divulging them soon.”
While we’re glad that the Lan Kwai Fong institution seems to be forging ahead as business as usual for now, the real test — as we await the aforementioned new “ambitious plans” — will be assessing whether Lily & Bloom can retain its quintessential laid-back vibes and hearty American spirit under a F&B group that’s generally more known for its French-leaning, fine dining offerings. In the meantime, we’ll be stopping in for lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and the new happy hour, which kick-starts this week with HK$40 drinks (selected mixers, premium beers, wines and spirits) offered Mon–Fri from 5–8pm and Saturdays from 6–8pm.