In Hong Kong, new restaurant and bar concepts are like the hydra’s heads — one falls, and two new ones appear. It can get tedious keeping up with all the new F&B options competing for your attention, so let the Coconuts HK Restaurant Roundup cut through the noise with a rundown of some of the latest openings in the city.
Where: One floor up from street level in the former home of Koh Thai, overlooking Ship Street in Wan Chai.
Who: The restaurant is purportedly the brainchild of a group of friends homesick for Thailand, and features a Thai team in the kitchen.
What: With its spacious, open-air dining space (thankfully covered, in the event of rain), Ruam makes for a relaxed spot to munch on chargrilled snacks and spicy curries while smashing cold Thai beers (they just go down so easy!).
On a recent visit, we tried a very serviceable pad see ew (HK$118), as well as a decent penang curry with prawn (HK$158), and some admirably meaty chicken laab spring rolls (HK$78) — a good antidote to the wan, under-stuffed spring rolls lurking on menus the world over.
But while those dishes were perfectly fine, the real standouts at our table were the moo ping (HK$78) and the duck leg and lychee red curry (HK$188). The moo ping — beautifully blackened pork belly skewers — were good on their own, but even better with the sweet/sour/spicy nam jim jaew sauce served on the side. The duck leg and lychee curry, meanwhile, was excellent. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with tender duck swimming in a well-balanced curry, but it was the lychees also bobbing around in the dish — an unorthodox (again, to us) and frankly delicious addition — that really made the dish.
Still, the best part about Ruam really is the space. It’s green and airy, and the kind of joint you could easily see yourself spending a couple hours in while the Singha flows.
Shop 9, 1/F, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road (entrance on Ship Street), Wan Chai
+852 3160 8535
Mon. to Fri. 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Sat. 11:30am-11pm; Sun. 11:30am-10pm
Where: In the new commercial tower LL Tower, the same building as pan-Western restaurant Kinship. Also has a great view of Pure Gym across the street, if you feel like taunting the healthy people with your booze and cheese.
Who: French sommeliers Romain Loriot and Jean-Benoît Isselé are the co-founders of this new wine bar, which boasts more than 600 wines from France, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Germany, as well as less-represented countries such as Lebanon and Morocco.
What: Wine here will set you back HK$60 to HK$560 per glass, and HK$280 to HK$46,000 for a bottle. One third of the wines on offer are priced under HK$1,000 per bottle, and more than 50 are less than HK$500 a bottle, so there’s something to suit all budgets and tastes.
Wines we tried included Vigneron Schmolzer & Brown’s Prêt-à-Blanc from Australia (HK$480 per bottle) and Ermitage’s Tour de Pierres from France (HK$430). We paired the white with a platter of three cheeses of the day (HK$190), which included Comté, Saint-Félicen, and Saint-Nectaire cheeses, all of which were very good. The stronger Saint-Nectaire played particularly well with the crisp “Alsatian-inspired” white. We also paired the red with a platter of meats (HK$210) that included truffled and Iberico hams. The Iberico was a standout, though we were a bit iffy on the truffled ham.
Their Balik-style salmon (HK$190), meanwhile, was smoked to perfection and went well with the white wine — and for HK$150 more, you can add caviar for an extra hit of brininess.
For dessert, we also had the Araguani chocolate tart with smoked salt and vanilla homemade chantilly (HK$100). The chocolate was rich and not too sweet, and would have gone well with a nice port.
ThinkWine also has a private room and you can also book the venue for private parties.
2/F 2-4 Shelley Street, LL Tower, Central
+852 2886 3121
Mon. to Sun. 3pm-2am
Where: Squeezed in between the street stalls of Central. You can’t miss it, with its large hanging lanterns and vintage Chinese furnishings. The interior was designed by Albert Tang, who’s known for being the interior designer of many Shanghai Tang outlets.
Who: Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Octavium is behind the new venture. The kitchen is headed by Wong Yiu-por and Poon Kwai-chung. Wong, who looks after the dim sum, boasts 50 years of experience whipping up Cantonese dishes, and was at one point head dim sum chef of Michelin-starred Island Tang. Poon, meanwhile, has 30 years of experience cooking Chiu Chow cuisine.
What: Contemporary Chinese restaurant serving dim sum and Chiu Chow-marinated dishes. (We should add that, oddly enough for a dim sum establishment, it does shut on Sundays.)
Expect traditional Cantonese and Chiu Chow dishes with a twist.
Signature dishes include pork belly buns, baked abalone cheese tarts, and sliced goose, goose wings, and pig’s trotters, which are marinated in a 40-year-old marinade. The xiaolongbao, meanwhile, is made with a seafood bisque broth.
Shop B, G/F, 9 Li Yuen Street East, Central
+852 2180 6799
Mon. to Sat. 12pm-10pm; Closed on Sun
Where: Mong Kok’s Langham Place.
Who: One of Japan’s most popular pancake joints is opening up its first outpost outside of Japan. Micasadeco first originated in the food-mad city of Osaka, and is home to Instagrammably puffy pancakes.
What: The stars of the show are the restaurant’s signature fluffy pancakes, namely the ricotta cheese pancake (HK$118), the very berry pancake (HK$128), and the matcha fluffy pancake (HK$138).
Coffees are also not unreasonably priced, and will set you back between HK$35 to HK$55. Savory bites and brunch options are also on offer, like the eggs Benedict (which comes with either smoked salmon and spinach, or ham and mozzarella for HK$98 and HK$88 respectively); and a pork kakuni omelette rice (HK$88).
Shop B2 26-27, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok
Mon. to Sun. 8am-11pm
Where: A 60-seat Instagram-friendly space (Instagram boyfriends, beware) inside Tsim Sha Tsui’s “museum-retail” mall K11 MUSEA.
Who: London’s original Avocado-themed restaurant first opened in fancy and picturesque Covent Garden in 2017. This is their first international outpost.
What: Avocados (obviously).
The restaurant’s signature Avo Bun burger (HK$148) — a sweet potato and lentil patty sandwiched between two avocado halves — is on offer here, as are some new dishes, like another Avo Bun burger with pulled beef, tomato salsa, and salsa verde; matcha pancakes (HK$128); and a choc-avo brownie (HK$54).
Shop B201-4, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Mon. to Sun. 10am-10pm
Where: Tsim Sha Tsui’s K11 MUSEA.
Who: Singaporean go-to Chatterbox Cafe made its name as one of the best places for Hainanese chicken rice.
What: It’s all about the chicken rice — somewhat confusingly billed as Mandarin chicken rice (HK$118) — made exactly the same way as the original Singapore outlet’s. The chicken is boneless and poached in a rich broth, and served with dipping sauces of ground ginger, egg yolk, minced chile, and soy.
Other signatures include the jumbo scallop laksa (HK$158), pan-fried turnip cake (HK$78), and deep-fried chicken wings coated in salted egg, curry leaf, and chile padi (HK$78) .
B110, Level B1, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Mon. to Sun. 11am-2pm and 5pm to 10pm
Where: IFC Mall. Probably the one with the long queue.
Who: London restaurant Duck and Waffle opened its first international outpost in Hong Kong this fall, three years after hosting a pop-up at Ozone in the Ritz-Carlton.
The restaurant made a name for itself in the UK for being open 24/7 and boasting a fantastic view of London from its 40th-floor location. It has also been lauded by restaurant critics as being “more than just a view,” and “just the right amount of hipster.”
Unsurprisingly, expectations are high.
What: Contemporary British cuisine fused with ingredients and elements from other European countries.
Some dishes include D&W classics like the duck congee (HK$150), made with confit duck, egg, spring onion, hazelnut, ginger, and hot sauce; and the English breakfast (HK$150), with Cumberland sausage, two eggs any style, dry-cured bacon, roasted tomato, Portobello mushroom, hash browns, and sourdough toast.
The restaurant’s signature crispy duck leg confit with fried duck egg served atop a hearty waffle will set you back HK$230.
Shop 1081, Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central
+852 2267 6338
Sun. to Thurs. 8am-12am; Fri. to Sat. and public holidays 8am-1am