Summer may traditionally be a slow period for the city’s dining scene, but foodies have nothing to fear this season, with delightful new restaurants setting up shop along with a handful of anticipated guest chef pop-ups just around the corner. In between, you’ll want to make time for a slew of new summer menus, from tasty Thai fare at Aaharn to Pirata’s home-style pastas and a new cocktail and dessert offering at Gordon Ramsay’s Hong Kong flagship.
Dtoy takes the helm at Aaharn
With a new head chef onboard, Aaharn is ramping up its menu this month with several new dishes courtesy of Thai chef, Dtoy Pariyasakul. The 32-year-old young gun has trained under Thai cuisine experts such as Kobkaew Najpinjj and David Thompson; the latter he spent five years with at Nahm, where he was instrumental in helping the restaurant nab its slew of accolades in Michelin and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Now Pariyasakul is taking direction of the ship at Aaharn, where he weaves well-honed techniques with an impressive command of Thai flavours and ingredients to carry through Thompson’s vision of a menu rooted in bold, authentic regional Thai cuisine (no pad Thais or chicken curries here).
A new summer menu expands upon Aaharn’s succinct à la carte offering, with an expanded range of plates from Southern-style grilled mussels (main image above) to massaman duck curry and punchy Thai salads that balance the scales masterfully between sweet, salty, spicy and sour. If you’re hungry, we’d recommend opting for the chef’s tasting menu (HK$788 per person, HK$1,388 with 4-glass wine pairing), which is served family-style. On a recent tasting, we were won over by the elegant progression of dishes, from the beautifully fragrant lemongrass salad (featuring no less than 20 ingredients), to a spice-numbing Chiang Mai-style chilli and tomato relish, and a velvety yellow bean, pork and prawn curry simmered in coconut milk. For meat lovers, the duck curry is undoubtedly the highlight, with a strong undercurrent of sweetness from sweet potato and shallots; while the stir-fried snow peas draws ample umami depth from a coating of squid ink. The culinary journey comes to an end with two crowd-pleasing desserts: santol fruit in syrup and plump caramelised coconut dumplings.
Aaharn, Shop 02-1/F, Armoury Building, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2703 9111
Pirata’s family-style feast
Beloved neighbourhood eatery Pirata steps into summer with a new selection of dishes from Executive Chef Stefano Rossi. Embracing the kitchen’s MO of honest, rustic home cooking, new dishes apply simple techniques to premium ingredients, letting Italy’s unparalleled ingredients speak for themselves. From the small dishes, guests will want to tuck into the smoked swordfish carpaccio, sliced razor thin and scattered with pink peppercorn and cherry tomatoes; and the salmon tartare, where the fresh fish is scooped onto toasted bread with sweet avocado. Scallop gratin is a Mediterranean medley of fresh herbs, chillies and tomato in a lemon dressing, while the bone marrow does the ingredient justice with the rich gelatinous tissue elevated by a punchy herb sauce. Of course, pastas haven’t been forgotten: carb addicts can sink their teeth into fresh creations such as the tagliolini with Sicilian red prawns, linguine vongole and a creamy porcini risotto.
Pirata, 29-30/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2887 0270
Sky-high cocktails and sweets
With The Peak revealing its new look in phases this summer, there’s no better time than now to visit the city’s sky-high attraction and rediscover some of the best views Hong Kong has to offer. New restaurants are set to reinvigorate The Peak’s reputation as a F&B destination, with foodie fans flocking to eateries such as Rajasthan Rifles, 37 Steakhouse and Gordon Ramsay’s newly relocated flagship, Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. While keeping BSB’s design DNA intact, the latter has been expanded to a spacious new home worthy of its alfresco surrounds, complete with a flashy marble-topped bar facing the piazza.
Perched at the bar, guests can enjoy new tipples debuting this month: The Lady Regent is a fruity mix of Rinquinquin Peach Aperitif, elderflower cordial and lemon juice with a sprinkle of fresh mint leaves; while the Blushing Lady combines vodka with Cointreau, lime juice, almond syrup, strawberry cordial and pineapple. Other new libations such as a salted caramel espresso martini go hand-in-hand with the new sweets menu, which features seasonal specials such as pineapple carpaccio with coconut sorbet and lime zest, and a strawberry Eton mess topped off with light and fluffy meringue.
Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, 118 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, +852 2849 4113