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: Hidden behind the mid-levels escalator and a stone’s throw away from Lebanese canteen Maison Libanaise — Kinship is currently one of only two eateries in the newly-built 25-story commercial tower called LL Tower.
Who: The brain child of chefs Chris Grare (formerly of Lily & Bloom) and Arron Rhodes (modern British restaurant Gough’s on Gough) — describes itself in its promotional materials as “new world cuisine meets rustic elegance at this charming neighborhood eatery, where family always comes first.” So in this case, European or American food with hints of South East Asian influences.
What: Kinship is a restaurant that pegs itself as “broadly international,” which means beautifully presented, expensive dishes created using high-quality ingredients. What kind of fancy ingredients are we talking about? Think fresh peas grown in local farms in the New Territories, to salmon fished from the seas of the Faroe Islands. The result is a restaurant that serves a small yet very well done selection of dishes that are excellently executed.
We went to check it out recently and found that the Faroe Islands salmon (HK$158) had a lot of that “fresh from the sea” flavor, which was enhanced by salmon roe that just burst in your mouth. The latter added that extra bit of sea water freshness and was almost palate-cleansing. Other standout dishes include the burnt onion risotto (HK$138 for half, HK$238 for a whole portion), that’s spiked with Worcestershire sauce, topped with shallot dust and an egg yolk beignet. The result is a risotto with a strong onion flavor (but not overpoweringly so) combined with a bit of bite from the Worcestershire, the sweetness of the shallots, and the creaminess of the runny egg yolk. Don’t forget to order a side of their Brussels Sprouts (HK$78), which is served with ponzu that lends an extra bit of sweetness and spark to the humble, earthy sprouts.
3/F, LL Tower, 2 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central
+852 2520 0899
Mon to Fri 6pm-11:30pm; Sat to Sun, 11:30am-4pm and 6pm-11:30pm
Where: Inside the very distinctive curved aluminum walls of the new Cantonese opera house and arts hub the Xiqu Centre, alongside a few other eateries.
Who: Chan Wai-teng (from Cantonese dining room Man Hing at Greater China Club, which we checked out earlier this year) and “Chaozhou masterchef” Chen Ze-jia (he cooked for Deng Xiaoping once) helm this “nostalgic” Chinese tea house (or cha chaan teng).
What: Nostalgic Chinese tea house (or cha chaan teng) food with a slight western twist, so a more elevated version of Hong Kong classics like the pineapple bun and roast meats like barbecue pork, roast goose, soy-flavored chicken and crispy pork belly.
Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include the premium marinated meat (sliced goose fillet, goose liver, goose intestine, pork belly and pork intestine) with Taiwanese ramen (HK$138), coriander scrambled eggs with smoked salmon sandwich (HK$38), and the matcha pineapple bun with ice cream and red bean paste (HK$38).
G/F, Xiqu Centre, 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
+852 2320 7455
Mon to Sun 11am-10pm
Where: A short one-minute stroll away from PMQ in Sheung Wan stands this minimalistic, white-walled taqueria hoping to bring a taste of bites and beverages from coastal Mexico.
Who: Chilean-born chef Billy Otis (who spent two years as head chef of Lily & Bloom and has trained under Mexican food expert Rick Bayless) heads up this new restaurant which comes under the Black Sheep Restaurants umbrella, the hospitality group behind restaurants like Artemis and Apollo, Maison Libanaise, and Osteria Marzia).
What: This Baja-inspired taqueria serves a small selection of coastal Mexican food, and some decent tequila and rum cocktails. Expect pricey food.
There are tacos, ceviches, and quesadillas on the menu. Everything has a decent amount of spice that creeps up on you and leaves you feeling warm inside. Things we enjoyed included Super Macho’s version of elotes, charcoal-grilled Mexican street corn (HK$42) which came served with queso añejo, guajillo chili, lime that create a nice, flavor-packed combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour.
The crispy fish taco (HK$32) is a house favorite here, with fresh and tender fried fish encased in a crispy and deep-fried outer layer that’s not too greasy. A sprinkling of crunchy cabbage slaw adds an extra bit of crunchiness to the taco, and you can top it off with the condiments of your choice.
33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan
+852 2333 0111
Tue to Sun 6pm-12am
Where: Curry on the Peak with a view of the city, ooh la la.
Who: This is Black Sheep Restaurants’ first foray into the Peak dining scene, and executive chef Palash Mitra oversees the kitchen. For those who don’t know, Mitra is the head chef at another Black Sheep institution, the New Punjab Club, and it was the only restaurant specializing in Punjabi cuisine to be awarded a Michelin star.
What: This Anglo-Indian (read: byproduct of colonialism) restaurant was inspired by the mess halls of the British Indian Army of the 1920s. It’s named after the famed Rajasthan Rifles (now the Indian Army’s Rajputana Rifles), the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian army and famed for their bravery, skill, and also — apparently — for partying hard.
Dishes include a fusion of British and Indian food, like the club sandwich (HK$148) which has chicken tikka, celery, white sauce, masala omelette, tomato chutney and cheddar sandwiched between two soft slices of white bread, and served with thick-cut chips. Other star dishes includes the Soola salmon sizzler (HK$278), made with salmon from the Faroe Islands marinated in Soola spices and seared.
Shop G01, G/F, The Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, Central
+852 2388 8874
Tue to Sun 12pm-10pm
Where: Beachside Repulse Bay restaurant
Who: Hospitality Group Maximal Concepts is behind this restaurant inspired by Thailand’s beach culture. Heading up the kitchen is Bangkok native Nuch Srichantranon, who before joining Maximal Concepts worked at Melbourne-based Thai restaurant Chin Chin.
What: Thai street food with a slight twist inspired by head chef Srichantranon’s experience of growing up in Bangkok and working in Australia.
According to the menu, signature dishes includes their Roti Kor Muu Yang Prik Pow (HK$95), which is BBQ pork neck with chili jam, herbs, crispy shallots and served with the cryptically named “Don’t Tell Mom” roti pancake. Another signature dish also features a cryptically named ingredient, the Kai Loog Keuy, which has a “Thai son-in-law Scotch egg” with minced chicken and crispy shallots.
Rice, noodles, soups, and whole steamed or grilled fish are also on offer here for those of you want to feel like you’re not in Hong Kong but in Bangkok. Also good news if you’re a family with distracted tots and just want a quiet moment with your significant other — there’s a children’s play area here.
Shop 114 & 115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Rd, Repulse Bay
+852 2328 8385
Mon to Thurs 11:30am-2:30pm and 6pm-9:30pm; Fri to Sat 12pm-4pm and 6pm-10pm; Sun 12pm-4pm and 6pm-9:30pm
Where: Slightly further away from Sip Song is another Thai eatery called CoCoNuts Thai Bar and Grill (absolutely no relation to us), a beach hut with questionable capitalization on its restaurant name and outdoor seating that’s hoping to “become one of ‘the’ restaurant destinations of the southside of Hong Kong.”
Who: Jean-Paul Gauci is well-known in the expat community as the executive chef behind Mediterranean beachside restaurant Cococabana in Shek O.
What: Modern Thai food with asado-style grills are on offer at this eatery. Things are a bit on the pricey side but a good option to consider heading to after a day out at the beach. On Saturday afternoons, they host Sunset Sessions (weather permitting) with DJs spinning the decks to a mix of deep house, dance, classics and electro.
At a recent visit, we tried their Pad Thai (HK$120), which had a nice balance of sour and spice — definitely not for the faint of heart. Paired with a nice, cold drink, it’s a perfect light summer lunch. We also had the pomelo and tofu salad (HK$125) which was refreshing, the pomelo wasn’t too overpowering, and the silky texture of the tofu went well with the crunchy salad.
If you’re eating with a group, then we’d definitely recommend getting a few of the kitchen’s grilled meats. We tried the grilled pork neck (HK$110) and half a grilled chicken (HK$175), both flavored with an herb sauce of lemongrass and fresh chili, which were excellent. The chicken especially was generously portioned and retained that nice, smoky charcoal taste.
G/F West Block, Island Road, Deep Water Bay
+852 2333 0111
Tue to Sun 6pm-12am
Where: Located on the 6th floor of LKF Tower, smack in the middle of the love-it-or-hate-it (or both, simultaneously) nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong, jazz-centric Silencio (which ironically is also the name of the silencing charm from Harry Potter) is a far cry from the shots bars and sidewalk beers of the neighborhood below.
Who: Operated by Le Comptoir Group — the cats behind Lily & Bloom, among other hot tables — Silencio’s kitchen is run by executive chef and Nobu alum and Sean Mell, who shows off his Japanese cuisine chops (and sense of humor) from behind the bar, where diners can watch much of the food being prepared.
What: Given that live jazz is part of the “contemporary izakaya’s” DNA, the name Silencio is a bit of head-scratcher. Likewise, some of the descriptions on the menu might confuse at first glance, but the often-unorthodox flavor pairings prove to be on point, and in some cases, outstanding. For instance, finely diced strawberries at the bottom of a bowl of kumamoto tomatoes in a chilled parmesan dashi (HK$130) looked a little out of place during a recent visit, but tasted right at home, adding welcome little pops of sweetness and acidity.
Similiarly, “coffee cured hamachi” (HK$180) might strike the ear a bit funny, but the bitter notes of the coffee played well with the pepperiness of a watercress puree, and the sweetness of the honey in a wasabi yogurt served alongside. Nigiri of white-fleshed akamatsu topped with shaved foie gras (HK$180) was predictably decadent, grilled Hokkaido scallops “butteryaki” (HK$190) were doused in melted yuzu butter and very addictive, and everyone’s favorite menu item/Instagram fodder, the wagyu katsu sando (HK$350), also turned up — tender and straightforwardly satisfying as usual. But the real standout of the evening, at least in our opinion, was a riff on the humble caesar salad, this one featuring baby gem lettuce in a creamy yuzu dressing enriched by the yolk of a barely-cooked onsen egg (HK$130).
House-smoked fish roe pulled double duty as a stand-in for both the bacon and the anchovy of the classic caesar, while dehydrated squid ink rice crackers served as funky croutons. The dish was excellent — cold, crunchy, creamy, tangy, rich, and salty, just as any good caesar should be. (Trust us, we’re aficionados of the genre. It was such a good caesar, we literally wrote “f**king awesome” in our notes — twice.)
6/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central
+852 2480 6569
Mon to Sun 6pm-3am