By Chris Dwyer
Apr 13, 2022
Happily, one thing in Hong Kong has remained constant despite the fickle (often deflating) rules of you-know-what, namely that diners are guaranteed fabulous eating wherever their chopsticks or fork leads them. Against the odds, amazing new restaurants continue to open in this currently closed city – from glamorous 70’s-inspired Sichuanese to elegant but understated ‘Yakifrenchy,’ here are five of the best new spots in Hong Kong where you want to eat as soon as you can in 2022.
Holding multiple Michelin stars, chef Olivier Elzer needs no introduction to Hong Kong gourmands and his latest venture, Clarence, up on the 25th floor of burgeoning dining destination H Code, is only set to see his stock rise higher. That’s thanks to his unique approach where French cuisine flourishes and is made lighter through Asian cooking styles.
FROM LEFT: Frog leg; fresh berries with whipped cream, olive oil coulis, Normandie milk ice cream.
Courtesy of Clarence (2)
Four distinct spaces let diners escape, including a “Yakifrenchy” concept in which a Japanese robata grill breathes brilliant new life into classics like frogs legs with Pastis and Burgundy snails, all served yakitori-style. Elzer’s protégé Simon So also oversees a raw fish bar and a sleek main dining room where Challans duck, Dover sole and more are served family style, with knockout side dishes to accompany. Unsurprisingly, stellar wine and cocktail lists complete the impressive picture.
The Grand Majestic Sichuan
Hospitality group Black Sheep Restaurants clearly have a thing for the 1970’s and the decade looms large again in their latest venture, The Grand Majestic Sichuan. Velvet, marble, silk and Gucci wallpaper create an extravagant and undeniably sexy backdrop, while someone has even been hired to pour complimentary champagne by the vanity area outside the restrooms.
The menu takes diners to the flaming heart of Sichuan, thanks to head chef Robert Wong collaborating with one of the world’s foremost Sichuan food experts, Fuchsia Dunlop. Fans of the famed málà style of lip-numbing and fiery dishes won’t be disappointed with red snapper in a sea of chilies or Chongqing Laziji, also known as ‘firecracker chicken’ for obvious reasons. But subtlety and nuance are on display, too, showing the full range of Sichuanese profiles including smoky, flowery, bitter and garlicky across an impressive breadth of dishes.
Hidden away in charming and historic pedestrianized Upper Lascar Row, Mora is the latest venture from chef Vicky Lau. With her elegant new 28-seater, she pays homage to humble but incredibly versatile soy in dishes reflecting the ‘French x Chinese’ cooking approach that has seen her win great acclaim and two Michelin stars at Tate Dining Room. But don’t think you’re in for a one-note experience – far from it.
Working with co-founder Romain Herbreteau and head chef Percy Ho, the tasting menu wows with dishes such as delicate homemade soft tofu with ossetra caviar, or brilliant cold chicken noodle with bean paste and a soy-milk bouillon. Most of all, though, it was the mapo tofu that steals the show – doesn’t it always? – especially when topped with lobster. Allied with a strong focus on sustainability and sourcing, Mora seems set to be another hit for Lau and co.
Woo Cheong Tea House
FROM LEFT: Tea-smoked chicken; sweet and sour pork pineapple; baked egg tart, Bailey.
Courtesy of Woo Cheong Tea House (3)
No dining destination in Hong Kong is as storied as Woo Cheong Tea House. Housed in an historic four-story Wan Chai tenement building that was formerly a pawn shop, today it’s home to high-end Cantonese dining. The first floor offers dim sum, premium teas and tea-infused cocktails, as well as one of the city’s most iconic terraces to enjoy the urban buzz and ding-ding of trams passing below.
The second floor is all about finer dining in elegant, colorful surrounds that have already drawn in countless Instagrammers. Young head chef Edmond Ip is a true rising star and oversees classics such as caramelized char siu pork or wild shrimp carved using remarkable knifework. Most of all, his local ‘three-yellow chicken’ comes smoked with soy sauce, jasmine, tea and osmanthus leaves to beautifully floral effect.
Finally, to a taste of Italy, by far Hong Kong’s most popular European cuisine, at modern trattoria Testina on Lyndhurst Terrace in the heart of Central. Serious props go to this collaboration between ZS Hospitality Group and Trippa Milano, one of Italy’s most beloved and acclaimed restaurants. Testina means head in Italian and reflects their nose-to-tail philosophy of using every part of the beast.
“Testina” Pig Head is their signature not for the faint of heart, where tender but decadent head topped comes under the whack of salsa verde and horseradish. Diners can also expect fried honeycomb beef tripe as an antipasto, before a simple but delicious roasted onion with Sicilian capers and dried tomatoes. Don’t miss their tagliatelle with duck ragu, which shows total mastery of a righteous classic.