In Hong Kong, new restaurant and bar concepts are like hydra’s heads — one dies, and two new ones appear. It can get tedious keeping up with the many new F&B options competing for your attention at any given time, so the Coconuts HK Restaurant Roundup is meant to help you cut through the PR noise with a breakdown of some of the latest openings in the city, as well as our quick take on whether or not they’re worth your precious time and dollars.
Where: Wedged in between Admiralty and the “work hard play hard” district of Wan Chai.
Who: Mana — stylized as Mana! — was founded by Bobsy Gaia, who founded vegetarian cafe the Bookworm Cafe and Life Cafe, which serves gluten-free and raw food. He’s also opened Mana in Central and Sheung Wan.
What: Vegetarian food and vegan food, a lot of wraps — pretty much the ideal lunch for the busy Wan Chai office worker in need of something on the healthy side. You can also build your own burger, salad or wrap, or pick from one of the flavor combinations already on the menu.
Wraps cost HK$90 to HK$95 for a whole one, and HK$50 for half. The signature wraps include the Mana!Love made with halloumi cheese, grilled veggies and rocket greens; the Mana!Green made with grilled tofu, roasted cauliflower, spinach, rocket greens and tahini sauce; and Mana!Falafel made with falafel, tomato, romaine lettuce, pickled peppers, parsley and tahini.
Another popular item is the rainbow yams and dip (HK$50), made of hand-cut yellow and purple yams tossed in sea salt. We’d also recommend checking out their raw vegan and gluten-free desserts and sweet treats like their “kinda cookie” (HK$20 for mini, HK$40 for giant) made of oatmeal, cacao butter and chocolate chips.
8-10 Queen’s Rd E, Admiralty
+852 5501 7591
Mon to Fri 8am-9pm; Sat to Sun 9am-9pm
Where: The Causeway Bay end of Jaffe Road — and with its ground floor location, it’s bound to get a lot of foot traffic.
Who: This famous ramen joint first opened in a small Japanese town in 2009, and became famous for its spicy ramen. It then opened outlets in Tokyo, and two outlets in Taiwan. Hong Kong is its third international outpost outside of Japan.
What: Kikanbo’s made-to-order spicy miso soup is made using broth made of pork bones, chicken bones and seafood that is stewed together for more than 10 hours and served with a variety of toppings. The bowls cost between HK$90 to HK$135, and the restaurant offers five levels of spiciness.
G/F, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
+852 2481 3383
Mon to Sun 11am-12am
Where: Inside the Mong Kok mall, MOKO.
Who: Lee Chi Kwong and Chan Sai Fai head up the kitchen. Lee previously worked at Sichuan spots San Xi Lou and Golden Valley, while Chan previously served as dim sum executive chef at Wing Lei Palace in Macau’s Wynn Palace.
What: The menu focuses on authentic Sichuan food and dim sum dishes, including signatures such as sliced pork with mashed garlic (HK$118), which is made of meat from the back of the pig and topped with Shandong garlic. The chilled poached chicken (whole HK$388, half HK$268) made with Qingyuan free-range chicken and served with house-made chili oil dressing is great too, and uses ingredients that are mostly sourced from Sichuan province.
Another signature is chef Lee’s deep-fried duck blood (HK$108), which is served with a thin layer of crispy golden batter and finished with Sichuan peppercorn powder, salt and pepper.
Shop 501, 5/F, MOKO, 193 Prince Edward Road West, Mong Kok
+852 2339 1900
Mon to Sun 11:30am-11pm
Where: A two-story restaurant on On Lan Street. The 28th floor dining room has an open kitchen that serves “haute cuisine lunch and dinner a la carte, and degustation menus.” The 29th floor lounge will pay tribute to Japanese culture with set menus and bento boxes ideal for “power lunches,” and craft cocktails.
Who: This is the latest restaurant by hospitality group Lai Sun Dining, which also runs 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, CIAK, Kaiseki Den, and Takumi. The kitchen is headed by Japanese chef Mitsuru Konishi who has worked at Michelin-starred L’atelier de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo, and Taillevent in France, where he was the first Japanese sous chef in the restaurant’s history. Konishi also worked at Wagyu Takumi (also known as Takumi).
What: Although Konishi’s style has been described as a “delicate blend of contemporary French technique and intelligent Japanese flair,” the food is not quite Japanese-French fusion. Signature dishes include a black-throated sea perch or nodoguro — a “highly sought-after fish” in Japan that’s referred to as the “white toro” — that is steamed and served with walnut gyuhi, which has a mochi-like texture. It’s served with spinach rolls made up of of sauteed enoki and Chinese spinach and a broth made of fish bone, chicken dashi, grilled onion and clams.
There’s also Green Garden, a very fancy salad made up of 20 types of vegetables sourced from farms across Hong Kong. Another star dish meant for sharing is the Ping Yuen Chicken, a locally-sourced chicken that’s stuffed with lotus-leaf wrapped Japanese rice, water chestnut, chicken liver, and foie gras, before being smoked over a fragrant bed of sage, rosemary and thyme.
18 On Lan Street, Central
+852 2715 0878
Mon to Sat 6:30pm-10:30pm (dining room); Mon to Sat 5pm-12am (lounge)
Where: Pottinger Street, AKA the uneven stone slab street in Central.
Who: The bar is headed by Sandeep Hathiramani (founder of the Gin Festival and the Bar Awards), and Gagan Gurung, the man behind the cocktail menu at Asian fusion restaurant Fang Fang.
What: Tea-inspired cocktail bar, the perfect place for you to, you know, spill the tea with your friends. Each of the bar’s cocktails — or “teatails” — is named after the origin of the tea blend and mixed with ingredients inspired by that tea’s country of origin, and will set you back HK$95 per glass.
The Australia, for instance, is made with the earthy Yalangi Rain Tea, and is mixed with chocolate Tim Tams, clarified strawberry, blue cheese, whisky and a garnish of koala munches. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is made using the country’s famous Ceylon Tea, which has been blended with coconut, basmati rice, green algae, rye whisky and ape amma milk wine. There is also a T&Tonic subsection of the cocktail menu comprising of quirky takes on the classic gin and tonic, which includes mango and strawberry, Italian almonds and truffle, chocolate and coconut, and the non-alcoholic T&Tonic of rosemary and sweet lime.
LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central
+852 6038 4020
Mon to Fri 6pm-11:30pm; Sat to Sun, 11:30am-4pm and 6pm-11:30pm