By Chris Dwyer
Aug 11, 2021
IN HONG KONG’S FRAGRANT HARBOUR you’re never far from somewhere to let your chopsticks or fork connect with something ridiculously delicious. The city’s dining scene has ensured a torrid time since the onset of you-know-what, but with a population not traveling and an insatiable appetite for good food – and spending money – new restaurants continue to mushroom all over town. From a spot celebrating British Chinese dishes to Italian fine dining 101 floors up, here are six of the best recent openings:
REX Wine and Grill
Courtesy of REX Wine and Grill (3)
British chef Nate Green is well known in the +852 for big flavors and serious meat-cooking skills. His elegant new home of REX Wine and Grill, hidden from the always-on energy of Central in a cool basement channeling a Mad Men feel, is the perfect platform to let these talents shine – but also showcase his finesse.
Our suggestion is to start with the house-smoked cold cuts or sensational devilled lamb’s kidney with parsley and shallot salad. His lobster and scallop ravioli is beautifully balanced, while among the mains it’s all about brilliant house-made pies and peerless steaks including the rarely seen Japanese olive-fed Wagyu Kagawa.
rexwineandgrill.com.hk; three-course set lunch from HK$450 per person, three courses à la carte at dinner approx HK$800
Courtesy of Moxie (3)
You may well recognize him from Netflix’s Final Table, but Australian maestro Shane Osborn is known in the restaurant business as a true ‘chef’s chef.’ Moxie, at the swanky Landmark complex, is the latest addition to his independent Arcane Collective family of restaurants, and this is a sneak peek – the place opens next week.
Here, meat is off the menu and the kitchen is led by Osborn’s hugely talented protégé, Michael Smith. Featuring all-day dining, Moxie’s mission is to serve unpretentious food that is socially and environmentally aware, but always firmly rooted in unforgettable flavor and texture. The vegetable-centric menu features sustainably sourced seafood alongside ingredients predominantly from Hong Kong’s local farms.
moxiehk.net; two-course set lunch from HK$288 per person, three courses à la carte at dinner approx HK$500
Courtesy of Margo (3)
A compact, sleek and intimate brasserie, Margo is the stage for German chef Mario Paecke to work his magic across contemporary European cuisine featuring influences from his homeland. On the plate, that translates into königsberger klopse, a mouthful to pronounce but a comforting combination of veal meatballs with delicate Norwegian langoustines, under a creamy caper sauce. Other standouts include tilapia, a fish cleverly paired with grilled peaches, chanterelle mushrooms and a decadent Verbena-Champagne sauce, all atop mashed potatoes.
Did we mention comfort?! Don’t miss their creative desserts or Kyle & Bain, a hideaway new American martini bar on the mezzanine level with cracking libations from John Nugent.
margohk.com; two-course set lunch from HK$400 per person, three courses à la carte at dinner approx HK$750
Courtesy of Radical Chic (4)
Sitting an almost-unbelievable 101 floors above the city, the quirkily named Radical Chic is the latest addition to the International Commerce Centre’s high-rise dining hotspot. Once you’ve taken your eyes off those views, minimalist gallery-like interiors are the setting for upscale Italian cuisine under the watchful eye of executive chef Andrea Tarini.
Innovative and artful combinations may include the Sicilian classic of caponata, an umami bomb of capers, pine nuts and tomato, turned into a delicate savory ice cream. Impeccable seafood risotto and perfect pastas underscore chef Tarini’s decades working in some of the world’s finest Italian kitchens, while his deliberately spelled ti-ra-mi-su is a real wi-nn-er.
www.radicalchichk.com/restaurant; lunch from HK$480 per person, six-course set dinner from HK$1,380 per person
Courtesy of 1908BC (4)
Another intriguing name, this time referencing the year that the U.K.’s first ever Chinese restaurant opened its doors. ‘BC,’ however, stands for ‘British Chinese’ as this is Hong Kong’s first restaurant to celebrate the country’s unique take on Chinese cuisine. Memories come flooding back in dishes such as crispy shredded duck, chop suey and fried chicken balls with sweet-and-sour sauce.
Far from authentically Cantonese (but never claiming to be) these are familiar, comforting and tasty in equal measure. Some dishes were even crowdsourced through social media, while ‘chip shop curry’ — melding Chinese, British and Indian cuisines as crispy fries meet curry sauce and prawn, chicken or veggies — is an instant classic. That curry sauce, incidentally, is made by the owner’s mother who ran takeaways and restaurants in the U.K. for decades, making it unquestionably real-deal. Such as it is in this delicious mixed-heritage context.
1908bc.com; three-course set lunch from HK$210, à la carte dinner from approx HK$350 per person
Courtesy of Whey (2)
Hong Kong and Singapore have always had a gentle rivalry, especially around food, so the recent opening of Whey from Singaporean chef Barry Quek reminds diners exactly what they have missed about the Lion City. He celebrates his heritage in contemporary style to dazzling effect across tasting menus.
From his bread — brioche made with buah keluak, a native Southeast Asian nut — onwards, the hits keep on coming, notably seared scallop on jackfruit emulsion with prawn floss and a pork rib dish to stop you in your tracks. It’s inspired by the classic Singaporean peppery and porky soup, bak kut teh, but he serves the rib alongside pork heart and fermented cabbage, with a homemade pepper jus and black garlic jam.
whey.hk; six-course tasting menu HK$790, nine-course tasting menu HK$1,190