In between shovelling down mooncakes in anticipation of Mid-Autumn this September, take a palate-cleansing break to visit some of the newest restaurant openings in Hong Kong. It’ll be a lovely outing in the brisk autumnal breeze, especially on the one public holiday we’ve been waiting so long to enjoy. On second thought, book out the whole week and check off one new venue for each day — it’ll be worth it! September inspiration!
The latest to join the H Code roster is Fireside, a self-proclaimed “rustic-refined” eatery that reaches back to cooking origins of preparing food over an open fire. Fireside, in particular, is home to the city’s first open-fire grill fuelled by various types of wood and Japanese bichotan. Led by Cupping Room Group executive chef Miguel Gallo, previously of Aqua Restaurant Group and the legendary El Bulli with 3-starred chef Ferran Adria, the restaurant shifts their focus to preparation methods, including an on-site butchery of the wild and rare meats to in-house smoking, ageing and grilling, plus fresh produce sourced from specialised suppliers and local farms.
Dishes that encompass the Fireside ethos, apart from the selection of smoked and cured meats and fish (including a three-day cured Ora King salmon that’s been smoked over apple wood): Confit duck, perfumed with almond wood, served in a square skillet with fire-cooked rice; or the Hokkaido Hokkigai (surf clam) which been fire-basted in aged Mangalica pork with a flambadou (a special cast iron cooking cone).
Fireside, 5/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 6610 8689
Duddell Street’s new restaurant Estro — Italian for “Inspiration” — is an earnest dedication to classic Neapolitan cuisine. From the mind of renowned Napoli-born chef Antimo Maria Merone, the restaurant, operated by JIA Group, is his first. Naturally, everything from the design details to the beautifully conceptualised menu gestures towards Merone’s southern Italian roots — pizzas, homemade pastas and comfort serves found in local tavernas. Presented in a multi-course menu, the refined dishes are inspired by the chef’s childhood and the history of Italy. The ‘Tomato Homage’ appetiser is a nod to summers spent at the family farm, with the everyday fruit poached, dried and rehydrated; while ‘Pigeon Under Ashes’ gestures towards the Pompeii ruins and terrain of his home — the pigeon, once considered a delicacy in ancient Rome, is wrapped in burned artichoke buds and fig leaves before encased in clay and cooked in black ash, a nod towards Mount Vesuvius and the landscape of the Napoli region. Separately, humble favourites are luxuriously transformed — the Geonovese Neapolitan Ragû is remade with twelve-hour stewed golden Montoro onions, beef and roasted onion jus.
Estro, 2/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong
Specialising in the more obscure fusion of Japanese-meets-Italian cuisine, The Pearl, newly opened in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Attitude Hotel, is a neo-classical restaurant that draws inspiration from the ornate 17th century Baroque style with the spirit of meticulous craftsmanship. Starting from within, The Pearl’s interiors are decorated with hand-made resin-painted panels designed by co-founder Rolland Cheung with Romanesque walkways, luscious botanics and looming sculptures that would probably appear upon a 17th-century outdoor terrace. The menu is similarly detailed-focused, a balanced mix between culinary traditions both Asian and Western, including the likes of linguine swirled in creamy uni, angel hair pasta served with sous-vide Isovaki abalone, black-truffle basted roast chicken, and botan ebi served with avocado and mango, parfait style.
The Pearl, 4/F, Attitude on Granville, 20 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 6274 1916
Longtime Pacific Place stalwart, The Continental, has reopened the doors to its beloved British-European eatery after a two month overhaul. Now, managed by The Upper House, the restaurant, in a sophisticated new space decorated in white marble, leather accents and sleek banquettes surrounded by luscious greens, continues to serve the classic, casual British-inspired plates curated by new executive chef, Graham Long. Inspired by the changing seasons and sustainable produce, the elegant menu ranges from dignified business lunch-sets to weekend brunches at the year-round outdoor terrace — pan-fried white bream in lemon butter, Australian lamb loin with smoked aubergine and merguez sausage flatbread with cashew hummus, charred onions and chilli jam.
The Continental, 4/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2704 5211
Wa-En Kappo’s location at the just-developed Connaught Marina at Sheung Wan gives the Japanese restaurant its first advantage: a sweeping 270-degree view of Victoria Harbour. Then, its second, as the original creator of the city’s first and only fish maw tempura that’s part of the restaurant’s take on Japanese kappo (meaning “to cut and to cook”) cuisine — the multi-course meal take on the ‘Chef’s Choice’ menu, served izakaya style. At the helm is Chef Kris, a chef with twenty years’ experience stints including various Michelin-starred kitchens, including the kaiseki-focused Shikigiku Japanese Restaurant, Wagyu Kaiseki and La Bombance in Hong Kong.
Expect reimagined Japanese favourites, including a Japanese-style soy-bean stock made with fresh local chicken thigh, deep-fried beancurd rolls and Hokkaido soybeans; house-made pasta with a hint of Japanese influence, particularly the signature ‘WaEn-style Pasta’ prepared with sea urchin, seaweed sauce and shaved mullet row; fresh sashimi; and crunchy tempura, including the aforementioned fish maw tempura stuffed with rich fish maw soup and served with a delicate Mitsuba leaf.
Wa-En Kappo, 29/F, Connaught Marina, 48 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2117 3735
It’s one you know and love, and will return to again and again, no questions asked. Indian cuisine institution Bombay Dreams is reopening at its brand new location on Wyndham Street. Thankfully, much of the menu all-time favourites will remain, prepared by head chef Devi Singh, who’s been part of the restaurant since 2003, as does the restaurant’s commitment to authenticity and quality — the menu is a curated part of prestigious Indian master chef Irshad Ahmed Qureshi culinary musings, who is the descendent of a respected linage of royal chefs based in Northern India.
What’s new are the revamped interiors, now comfortably seating 80 within the grand, regal interiors moulded after contemporary Indian palaces. The menu, too, sees a few tasty updates, including the smaller serves of Palak Patta Chaat, from master chef Qureshi’s own collection of recipes for an updated twist on the classic chaat; Chowl Ki Tikki, cheese-stuffed potato patties; and Shahi Galouti Kebab, another closely guarded lamb kebab recipe. Along with mains: aromatic serves straight from the tandoor — a whole lamb leg (Raan-E-Dream) and cottage cheese stuffed with tomato chutney (Paneer Tikka Peeli Mirch) — Lukhnowi Gosht Biryani and rich Alleppey Fish Curry, a local red snapper served with a delicious gravy of spices, curry leaves and raw mango.
Bombay Dreams, 1/F, Winning Centre, 46-48 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2811 9888
Header image courtesy of The Continental.