Hong Kong has long had its share of kebab stands and falafel joints, but it’s been in more recent years that we’ve started to see the proliferation of mid- to high-end modern Middle Eastern restaurants — places that could be classified as weekend dinner destinations should you be seeking great cocktails, a buzzing atmosphere and seamless service to complement the offerings on the plate. New to NoHo is Bedu, the sophomore concept from brother and sister duo Alexis and Laura Offe of Brazilian-Japanese restaurant Uma Nota, just a few minutes’ walk up the road. With seasoned firepower in the kitchen and an experienced service team, Bedu is presenting its case for one of the best new Middle Eastern restaurants we’ve seen in years.
Occupying a large storefront on the corner of Gough Street and Shin Hing street, Bedu is an attractive new addition to the trendy NoHo neighbourhood, fronted by large floor-to-ceiling glass panes, one side of which slides open directly into the main dining area. The entryway is a bit of an awkward shuffle as you almost stumble upon seated diners, but it’s a small sacrifice for the open and spacious feel of the room, giving a buzzing, communal vibe to the restaurant with the semi-open kitchen as the focal point.
The array of colours and patterns transplant you instantly to the vibrant markets of Beirut: from the terracotta signs to the splashes of pinks and purples and a commingling of bold textures and materials, inspired by the Bedouin, or nomadic desert dwellers found from North Africa to the Middle East. Natural materials make a statement — think leather, distressed metals and reclaimed wood — while everything down to the tableware resonates with colour and texture. The tableware is of particular note: beautiful hand-crafted ceramic plates in shades of pink and rustic dipping bowls created by Hong Kong-based Mariane Chan (@mceramics_co) — one example of Bedu’s aim to support local suppliers and artists.
At the centre of the restaurant is the semi-open kitchen and bar: Brushed in a vivid pink with metal countertops, customers can choose to plop themselves down here should they wish to engage in a bit of dinner theatre and interaction with the chef; or mosey over to one of the four-tops lining the walls for more private and intimate dinner conversation.
Food & Drink
We pile in on a Friday night not too long after opening week and feel an immediate energy coursing through the dining room. Service issues tend to cripple new restaurants but at Bedu everything feels instantly seamless and practised; naturally, our eyes are drawn immediately to chef Corey Riches at the centre of the open kitchen, who’s plating, directing, and manning the pass with the assuredness of a seasoned vet. There’s a confidence that exudes from Bedu as if it’s been open for years — and not just a few short weeks.
Positive first impressions continue with the flat bread which kicks off our meal — a crucial component to any good Middle Eastern restaurant. Bedu’s is on point: giant, pillowy hunks of pita come piled in portions of three (HK$50), bearing the dark marks of a trip to the grill before being brushed with olive oil and spices. Tearing into the still-steaming breads unveils a soft and fragrant interior — the ideal dipping vehicle for scooping up assorted dips.
Speaking of dips, there are three on the menu at Bedu, and all are mandatory: the creamy hummus (HK$55) hits the appropriate highs of lemon and garlic, pooled with fragrant olive oil and scattered with paprika; the za’atar and olive oil (HK$44) reinforces the earthier notes of toasted sesame seeds and sumac in the flatbread; and the beetroot and mint labneh (HK$55), our favourite of the three, turns the savoury Middle Eastern yogurt spread a shockingly bright pink colour with the subtly sweet addition of beetroot juice. Swishing the giant hunks of flatbread through the multi-hued dips with a cocktail in hand is half the joy of eating at Bedu — interspersed with an order of pickles (HK$35), of course, which brings a welcome hit of acidity and crunch in the form of pickled cauliflower, carrots and pepperoncini.
The “Smaller” section of the menu is peppered with familiar ingredients of the region — think harissa, tahini, chilli oil, and pomegranates — but while other restaurants under the same umbrella may suffer from the affliction of offering similar sauces with a simple protein swap, every dish at Bedu delivers a distinct flavour profile. Go for the fragrant cured salmon (HK$120), thick slices of fish buried under a mound of chopped parsley, peppers and walnuts, on a snow white bed of tahini yogurt; or the charred broccoli (HK$115), the giant steak appropriately charred and crisped and placed atop a bright green zhoug (cilantro and garlic) sauce which has a mouth-puckering quality from a splash of sherry vinegar. For a richer option, the baked feta with honey (HK$105) relies on a tried-and-true combo for a sticky salute to the sweeter side of Middle Eastern cuisine, with the heaviness of the baked cheese pared back by a sprinkling of floral thyme.
Larger mains abide by the kitchen’s ethos of erring on the lighter side, featuring healthier proteins such as chicken, squid and prawns, with a mixed fattoush salad (heirloom tomatoes, basil, goat’s curd) thrown in for good measure. The single red meat available on the menu is rack of lamb (HK$180), and it’s a must-order: three grilled lamb lollipops rolled in a spice-heavy marinade, with the meat cooked to a perfect blushing pink. The grilled lollipops come nestled in a pool of labneh: starting with the same base as the beetroot dip, the yogurt has been intensified by garlic, grounded by a ring of za’atar oil and pops of pomegranate.
Side orders include a golden pistachio and saffron rice pilaf, iceberg and herb salad, and cauliflower tabouli. While we had high hopes for the carrots (HK$95) — which we hoped to deliver that deep char and roasty flavour — it ended up being the single slight let-down of the night as the carrots lacked colour, despite bearing a delicious crumb of sesame and nuttiness from smoked tahini.
Cocktails make use of seasonal produce and botanicals to combat the spice-heavy cuisine, mirroring the short-but-sweet format of the menu with a selection of five refreshing tipples. We tried the Bedu Sour (HK$95) which balances beetroot juice with Verjus, apple spirit and egg white; and the Wadi Rum (HK$85), a floral sipper of lychee juice, rose water, pomegranate juice and honey syrup. Both were well-balanced without being overpoweringly fruity or floral. Wines are kept tight as well — only five varieties available by the glass — encompassing natural wines from local suppliers and a few Lebanon labels.
Bedu is not the type of restaurant you have to come to with a banquet-sized appetite: you could pop in for flatbreads, dips and a cocktail, or cosy up at the bar with some small plates and call it a night. On the evening of our visit, a group of 10 ambled in around 11pm — seemingly picking the restaurant at random during a bar hop around town — and were just as happy sipping their Sauvignon Blancs grouped around the bar as the couple in the far corner enjoying a multi-course feast. It’s because of this that Bedu feels extremely relevant — a modern restaurant that’s as versatile in its appeal as the menu is abundant in its use of spices and seasonal ingredients.
As for the food, the fact that chef Corey Riches is an Australian comes as no big surprise given the farm-to-table sensibilities of his cooking: That country that’s known best for its fresh, vibrant and colourful cuisine is infused into the core DNA of Bedu and translated beautifully into its menu. Although Middle Eastern fare can often feel heavy with its creamy sauces and heavy-handed seasonings, the offerings churned out by chef Corey are light, bright and colourful — akin to the very plucked-out-of-the-garden style of modern Australian cuisine — while employing the full range of the Middle East’s spice cabinet. In truth, the dishes are hard to fault at Bedu and while we didn’t try everything on the menu, the ones we did were near flawless. And that alone is worth a standing ovation for any new restaurant in Hong Kong.
Opening Hours: Tues–Sun, 6pm–12am; closed Mondays.
Recommended Dishes: Smoky hummus, beetroot and mint labneh, homemade pickles and flatbread, charred broccoli, fragrant cured salmon, rack of lamb, baked feta with thyme and lavender.
Price: HK$300-500 per person with drinks.
Noise Level: Medium to loud with an open kitchen.
Service: Seasoned and able to make recommendations.