Hong Kong boasts one of the most dynamic dining scenes on the planet, filled with culinarians and tastemakers galore. In our Cheat Day column, we spotlight some of the top players in the kitchen and behind the bar, delving into their personal favourites during their days off.
Born and raised in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales in Australia, Chef Mick Bolam has been steadily honing his culinary finesse from city to city.
Kicking off his career as a dishwasher at the local bowling club, he then graduated to a 4-year chef apprenticeship working in various restaurants, wineries and luxury resorts in Australia. After his qualification, he briefly worked as a Commis Chef in Sydney before being given the opportunity to move to London for a position at the now two Michelin-starred The Ledbury.
Seeking adventure for his next step, Bolam switched up his lifestyle to become a chef on a luxury yacht in Monaco. “It was the polar opposite to London. Charters – and their guests, for that matter – could get intense, but the lifestyle was amazing,” he says with a laugh. “I loved this time in my life and thoroughly enjoyed it for a couple of years.”
He eventually made it back to Australia and took on his first Executive Chef position overseeing five different venues across the Peppers brand (now of Accor Group). Ultimately, Bolam’s turning point in mentality towards cooking arose during his time at Melbourne’s European contemporary restaurant, Epocha. “The focus there was on seasonality and simplicity,” he explains. “Creating dishes which were unpretentious, without the chef’s ego, and with an immense respect for nature.”
Speaking about the current leg of his journey in Hong Kong, Chef Mick concludes, “I have been with the Feather & Bone group for three years now and have successfully opened six restaurants with them – with more to come! I’m very proud of my team and how far we have grown as a Feather & Bone family.”
Tell us about your signature dish.
I wouldn’t say we have a signature dish here… however, we do find our guests coming back time and time again for our meatballs ($168). We have worked this recipe over 15 times now and are quite happy with it. I’m sure it’s got a lot to do with the amount of Lardo di Colonatta inside!
What elevates a meal from being simply a meal to a memorable dining experience?
I believe, as a chef, it’s about evoking some kind of meaningful emotion, creating a very special memory to last a lifetime. After all these years around the globe, I have now found myself being more excited with simpler food, featuring three to five elements on a plate – all proportionate and balanced, syncing in harmony. This is one of the hardest states to achieve, as there’s absolutely nowhere to hide!
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your food?
One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from a guest who came with a group of friends and said after dinner, “That was orgasmic!”
She and her friends were lovely, very genuine, and I will always remember that moment.
Do you cook at home, what is your go-to dish?
Unfortunately, I don’t really cook at home, as space is a luxury which I don’t possess in Hong Kong. If I did though, it would be a simple pasta dish: Bucatini Cacio e Pepe or an Aglio e Olio.
Cheat Day time! Which are five indulgent dishes or drinks you delight in during your days off?
1. Under Bridge Spicy Crab for their steamed razor clams.
2. Din Tai Fung‘s amazeballs xiaolongbao.
4. Pretzel sticks from Bakehouse.
5. An evening martini at Lobster Bar, Island Shangri-La.
In celebration of summer, the pioneering butcher will be launching their third exclusive FAB Sunday Roast event on 29 August from 11:30am to 3pm at the Sai Ying Pun and Happy Valley locations, priced at HK$380 per person (HK$190 for children).
Feather & Bone’s newest outlet is now open:
Shop LG11-22, Lower G/F, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, +852 3529 1228