Switch up your lunch local with one of these new restaurant openings for January 2021.

No matter how you plan to ride the wellness wave — eating clean, going dry, practicing more mindful habits, there’s always a spare moment to engage in the much-anticipated, start-of-the-month ritual: strolling through Hong Kong’s latest restaurant openings, however indulgent and tempting to break your ‘Clean-January’ fast they may be. A city that adores exclusive ‘first-tastes’ from newly opened spots as much as the next, don’t relegate to social media updates; be there first with our list of locations to frequent this January — be it for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack.

Pazta 

While there might not be an end in sight for travel restrictions, there is, however, the city’s prolific cuisines and restaurants which have taken the liberty to offer gastronomic journeys to far-flung destinations as temporary replacements. A short-flight to busy rambunctious Italian piazzas, then, is the latest holiday that awaits, courtesy of new pasta bar Pazta. Opening at Tai Kwun’s ground-level plaza, it aptly mirrors the lively, al-fresco scene of the restaurant’s intended atmosphere. On the menu, a wealth of regional flavours from Venice to Bologna, Rome and Sardinia — all expertly presented in simple and comforting plates. 

Pazta, 10 Hollywood Road, Tai Kwun, G/F Barrack Block, Shop03-G08, Central. + 852 2626 1186

OBP

From the creators behind the citywide-favourite 11 Westside and Westside Taqueria, a brand new speakeasy: OBP. An authentic Korean sool-jip (translating to alcohol house), the atmospheric joint references the eclectic and vibrant gastropubs tucked away at hole-in-the-wall locations in South Korea. At the Old Bailey Street post, the menu is a selection of cocktails shaken up by group beverage director Daniel Eun, and highlights signature Korean alcohol: soju, makgeolli (Korean rice wine), along with lesser-known spirits chaeonggamju and baeksaeju. Try the Dokdo gimlet, a tangy, sour apple-Chungha (Korean sake) concoction, or the Damun premium makgeoli, a sweet, easy-to-drink rice wine that perfectly compliments chef Junwoo Choi’s Korean street-food inspired sharing sides.

OBP, 3-5 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong  

Rollin

Landmark’s new retail-cultural hub Belowground welcomes a new grab-and-go spot, perfect for on-the-go lunch crowds. Rollin is the latest food-slash-lifestyle concept from Francesco Lee, who has previously brought Aberdeen Street’s Moyo and Basehall’s Moyo Sik to the city. Specialising in savoury rice rolls, choose from a variety of flavourful toppings: Korean fishcake and tofu, Mortadella sandwich and truffle beef. For sweeter palettes, a spongy roll cake stuffed with fresh cream and season Japanese fruit. True to the roll bar’s multidisciplinary concept, the rice-rolls are packaged in graphic sneaker boxes, complete with sizing labels and bar codes, which double as the takeaway carrier.

Rollin, Belowground, Basement Floor, Landmark, Central, Hong Kong

208 Duecento Otto

Same old location, brand new plates. Make no mistake, Sheung Wan’s neighbourhood Italian mainstay, 208 Duecento Otto, is asking to leave all preconceptions of pizzeria at the door. Marking a commemorable 10th anniversary, the restaurant debuts a brand new menu and bar concept, ‘House of Apetitivo’. The rehaul brings abroad new bar manager Matteo Stefani and general manager Giammarco Sai, along with a partnership with fine foods importer New Food Group, noted for its exclusive and seasonal ingredients curated globally. Renewed stalwarts by executive chef’s Zeno Bevilacqua include the light, refreshing raw Italian red prawn appetiser, sourced from the south-west coast of Sicily (Mazara del Vallo) and served with dollops of creamy burrata from Andria and sweet tomato salsa.

208 Duecento Otto, 208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong +852 2549 0208

Chako

Over at Wan Chai’s trendy Ship Street, a new Japanese izakaya has taken up residence: Chako, a moniker that phonetically references the restaurant’s charcoal-grilled plates. Helmed by chef Takeshi Suzuki, previously at Pirata’s Honjo and TMK, the casual eatery prepares its dishes using binchō-tan, or white charcoal, chosen for its clean, almost smokeless burn. A delectable selection of fragrant, perfectly charred dishes complete the menu, from yakitori skewers to aburi oshi (flame-grilled) sushi, typically layered over with naturally fatty fish for a richer, more unctuous bite; wagyu and uni well-included.

Chako, 2/F, J Senses, 18 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3590 2465

Kollabo

It’s the best of both cuisines at Kollabo which brings together 15 esteemed Korean brands with reputable Japanese suppliers. The collaborative concept is an ingenious combination of cuisines from both Korea and Japan, serving up high-quality, classic dishes from local reputable joints. Dishes worth noting include, SoBackJa Gangjangejang’s marinated raw crab from Korea, made with a special 40-year old sauce that soaks the crustacean for over 48 hours, and Myongmul Dakgalbi’s Korean spicy fried chicken with cheese, cooked exactly according to a recipe that has been passed down three generations. Japan, on the other hand, serves up the always-favourable option of Wagyu yakiniku, with premium cuts sourced from a 55-year-old brand famed for its high-quality protein.

Kollabo, G1014-1015, G/F, You Sing Mansion Stage 10, Taikoo Shing, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2529 3330

Between Coffee

If your weekend plans look like a city-wide itinerary of café-hopping, then you would already know about Tai Kwun latest resident cafe Between Coffee. Taking over the 3000 sq. ft space that originally housed Shanghainese spot Old Bailey, the new sleek and minimal space is one designed to tempt slow routines and long afternoons. Apart from the typical house-blend coffee, No. 10, which uses custom-roasted beans from Ethiopia and Honduras, Between Coffee offers a variety of pour-overs to milk-based cuppas and coffee cocktails expertly blended by coffee roaster Lok Chan and head barista Zac Wu. The café’s Japanese-style sandos are also worth a mention, particularly one filled with seasonal strawberries and soft Chantilly cream.

Between Coffee, 2/D, JC Contemporary Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2877 8711

J.A.M (Joint Asian Market) 

Uncle Quek

Opening in the busy heart of Central, Hong Kong’s first indoor food-market, J.A.M (Joint Asian Market) brings together four Asian cuisines — Korean, Singapore, Vietnamese, Cantonese — into a single food hall that also doubles as a well-curated marketplace. Street-food favourite and feel-good plates fill the menu from each stall, featuring Mamalee Market, a Korean home-style deli; Moi Moi, authentic Vietnamese cuisine; Uncle Quek, classic Singaporean favourites; and SiFu, Cantonese dim sum made with a modern twist. With plans to rotate weekly, the menus will receive a full renewal of new dishes every three months — wave goodbye to mundane lunchtime repeats.

J.A.M (Joint Asian Market), Lobby, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, +825 2808 1806

Yakiniku Like

After trailing around the rest of Asia, Tokyo’s yakiniku specialist, Yakiniku Like, finally makes its debut in Hong Kong. The modern Japanese restaurant is revered for its quick and easy, casual concept bolstered by a contactless ordering system and streamlined menu of eight pre-assembled sets. Each arrives with a choice of protein, from wagyu beef, chicken or pork, and is paired with rice, miso soup and kimchi or salad — an easy solution for any indecisive diner. Yakiniku Like also champions a solo yakiniku experience with a personal, electric smoke-free grill; perhaps the winning solution for dining out under current restrictions. 

To celebrate its grand opening, Yakiniku Like is offering a 200g karubi (beef short rib) set for just HK$29 (separating 2 (‘ni’) and 9 (‘ku’) in Japanese, meaning meat). The set is limited to only 100 a day and can be redeemed with a ticket available from the restaurant from 10am to 2pm.

Yakiniku Like, Shop 408, 4/F New Town Plaza, Phrase 1, 18-19 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong +852 3460 5225

Lorria Sahmet
Style Editor
Two years covering luxury retail later, Lorria is thrilled to continue writing about what she loves best: fashion and food. When not roaming around garden centres hauling back new plants for her indoor jungle, she is most likely hunting down the best fries in the city. She's happiest by the ocean with a fishbowl glass of ice-cold Aperol spritz.