This is a whole different level from “Instagrammable cafes”.
While the food might be the most important part of any restaurant, having stellar service and a pleasant ambience can elevate any dining experience — and in some cases, stunning design can steal the show. If you’re looking to feast your eyes as much as your belly, then these design-savvy art restaurants provide beautiful, provocative and inspiring art collections and interior design to give you food for thought.
This upscale Cantonese restaurant in the heart of Hong Kong serves up elevated dim sum in a sumptuous setting. Filled with natural light from the palm-filled terrace, every detail in Duddell’s dining room is designed with creative flair, from the eclectic collection of chairs to the bold clashing colors. It’s the kind of design-savvy that makes a room feel both contemporary and classic. Of course, for art lovers, the real attraction is the revolving art exhibition, with around three different exhibits a year, overseen by the in-house Art Manager who additionally organises talks, screenings and art events. Focusing on contemporary and Asian artists, previous exhibits have included the work of Irene Chou and Kyung Hwa Shon.
Duddell’s, Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 9191
Opened in 2019 in LKF Tower, this modern Japanese izakaya from Le Comptoir group attracts a creative crowd with its monochrome art collection and live jazz music. Dimly lit and moody, the chic black interiors are broken up with gold statement walls and accents, which draws all the more attention to the signature black and white abstract artwork by contemporary Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita. The dishes, from the former Executive Chef of Nobu Sean Mell and Chef Yong Soo Do, are as jaw-droppingly designed as the dining room itself: the ‘Russian’ nigiri with osetra caviar and gold flakes, and the A4 Miyazaki Wagyu katsu sandwiches were made for Instagram.
Silencio, 6/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2480 6569
One of the latest additions to Hong Kong’s ever-evolving West Kowloon Cultural District, FAM offers one of the best harbour views of the city — although you won’t be looking outside much once you see the striking design of the interior. Standing for Food, Art, and Music, FAM serves up contemporary Cantonese fusion cuisine in a colorful art deco setting. Spread across 6,000 square feet, the restaurant features a light-art installation, statement street art pieces from international and local artists, and a private dining room with a unique 3D projector to create a visual dining experience. Guests can also enjoy live music performances from hip-hop to electronica with DJs and bands playing each evening.
FAM 囍公館, Unit GF- 01-03, 22 Museum Drive, West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2866 3667
Taking inspiration from American Italian eateries, Carbone serves up elegant home-cooked Italian dishes in a wood-panelled dining room nostalgic of 1950s New York. Hearty portions of New York Italian classics like Spicy Rigatoni Vodka and Spaghetti Carbonara come from the restaurant’s namesake, Mario Carbone, the Michelin-awarded American-Italian chef who opened the original Carbone in New York in 2013. Of course, for art lovers, it’s the collection of art curated by Vito Schnabel that brings them here as much as the meatballs: nestled among the retro red leather chairs and white table cloths, the rotating contemporary art collection features work by Schnabel’s father, artist, and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, and anonymous New York-based artists from The Bruce High Quality Foundation.
Carbone, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2593 2593
Ho Lee Fook
Another design-savvy restaurant from Black Sheep Restaurants, Ho Lee Fook is renowned in the Hong Kong dining circuit for its perpetual queue winding through SoHo. Paying homage to Hong Kong’s old-school dai pai dongs and cha chaan tengs, chef Jowett Yu reimagines Cantonese classics like the Roast Wagyu Short Ribs, and Salt and Pepper Grouper with Silken Tofu. Designed by Sean Dix, a wall of golden Maneki Neko (Chinese lucky cats) greets diners as they enter the underground dining room, where the work of local artist Jonathan Jay Lee is displayed. The vibrant illustrations are part of Lee’s series, Moments, which won the Greater China Illustration Awards in 2016. Lee has specifically designed two collections for Ho Lee Fook, which showcase colourful facets of Hong Kong life, from the wet markets to the dai pai dongs.
Ho Lee Fook, 3-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 0860
A private dining room in its own private art gallery — it doesn’t get much better for creative connoisseurs than this. Located in one of Wong Chuk Hang’s former industrial buildings, this 4,000-square-foot space seats up to 40 people with space for 120 standing, for everything from cocktail parties to casual dinners. The open kitchen serves up Italian fine dining from Chef Luca and Alessandro, from caviar-laced salads to sea urchin-topped spaghetti, but it’s the art that’s the true star of the show: diners can feast their eyes on contemporary artwork from an array of renowned international artists, from Fred Williams to Zao Wou Ki.
Dine Art, Suite A, 16/F, Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, +852 2805 8555
A new opening in the freshly renovated and reopened Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hue combines an enviable harbourfront position with stunning interiors and high-quality Australian produce for a winning combination of style and substance. Australian Chef Anthony Hammel helms the kitchen, serving up twists on Australian classics like Wagyu Pastrami, Ocean Trout with Whipped Cod Roe and Salmon Eggs, and Hokkaido Scallops with Jerusalem Artichokes. Design is everything here: dishes are plated with the same attention to detail as the furnishing accents of the dining room. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer show-stopping panoramic views, while polished marble table countertops and forest green booths set a cool, classic aesthetic. One of the main design attractions is artist-designed wallpaper, from Nordic design collective FEATHR, including works from Kiki Slaughter, an American artist specialising in abstract design, and Jen Merli, a watercolour artist who features nature and florals in her ink-based designs.
Hue, 1/F, Hong Kong Museum Of Art, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3500 5888
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.