While 2017 was a fantastic year for the local dining scene, we can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store, with a wave of fresh chef talent and renowned international concepts making their way to our shores, as well as Hong Kong’s homegrown restaurateurs and veteran chefs debuting brand-new concepts of their own. From veggie-forward dining to homey Italian joints and the unveiling of a New York institution, this month alone is shaping up to be an exciting one for Hong Kong gourmands. Here’s where to get a taste of January’s best new restaurant openings.
Replacing the short-lived Ee Da Le on the third floor of Lyndhurst Terrace is Yakimon, the new Japanese grill from ZS Hospitality, who also operate ground-floor eatery Lee Lo Mei and American-Mexican joint MEXUS in the same building. Yakimon is set to be an instant crowdpleaser, with the menu consisting mostly of grilled skewers, Wagyu beef dishes and hot stone pot items such as the Yaki Chicken Onigiri (HK$108, shown above). With details such as arrow patterns and archery targets meant to resemble the Tokyo sports arena Budokan, a sacred studio dedicated to Japanese martial arts training, Yakimon provides a slight twist on traditional sushi counters while sticking with familiar territory. Come here for a casual after-work bite with plates such as grilled A5 Wagyu beef with sukiyaki sauce and king crab legs with lemon soya washed down with premium Japanese sakes.
Yakimon, 3/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2896 1838
The Southside is getting another culinary addition this month with Komune, an all-day diner in boutique hotel Ovolo Southside. Head chef Alvaro Ramos injects a South American twist with hints of Asian influences in his sharing-style menu celebrating the humble vegetable, from ‘The Hipster Toast’ with baba ghanoush and sautéed shitake mushrooms; to kale with Brussels sprouts, almond praline and crispy quinoa; and an array of healthy tacos and house flatbreads topped with greens. Guests can stop in early for the European-inspired Continental breakfast buffet, or come by for happy hour drinks and desserts (we’re loving the sound of the liquid cheesecake and Komune’s twist on HK–style egg waffles). Set across two floors, Komune offers a convivial, open setting with a large garden terrace which can accommodate over 60 guests for large parties and cocktail hours, with special events entertainment curated by DJ Arun R.
Komune, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 3460 8100
Pasta fans can breathe a sigh of relief as popular pasta bar Pici has opened its second outlet, just steps from PMQ, on Aberdeen Street. More spacious than the St. Francis Yard shop and featuring the addition of an open kitchen, the new Pici Central will serve the restaurant’s most popular items (think tagliolini with shallots, white truffle paste and shaved truffle; orecchiette with Italian sausage and spicy n’duja; and Pici’s take on cacio e pepe), alongside exclusives to the new location, including the hand-rolled garganelli pasta with duck ragu and Sichuan peppers, and the tagliatelle with mussels scented with saffron cream. To round out the offerings, Pici Central offers an array of Italian–style desserts and aperitifs to be enjoyed in the cheery, open-fronted venue.
Pici Central, G/F, 24-26 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2755 5233
Club Albergue 1601
Shopping in Times Square and need a break for fuel? Head to Club Albergue 1601, a brand new, four-in-one dining space encompassing a restaurant, bar, café and skycourt. Catering to all tastes, the 7,000-sq.-ft. venue includes the café veranda Beansmark, featuring dessert and coffee from Blooms Roastery & Craft Tea; Bar Sportz, a sports bar specialising in handcrafted cocktails; Oyster Room, a modern restaurant serving up 16–20 oysters from around the world; and the Courtyard, a 2,5000-sq.-ft. balcony space where guests can soak in the city views while sipping on premium cocktails and whiskies. After a long day of shopping, we’d recommend popping by Oyster Room for fresh oysters and seafood platters, before enjoying a nightcap at Courtyard overlooking the sparkling city lights.
Club Albergue 1601, Shop 1105, 11/F, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2573 3344
Lan Kwai Fong’s snazzy California Tower gets another dose of Japanese food this month in the form of Fumi, a restaurant specialising in seasonal kaiseki meals, yakitori skewers, fresh sashimi platters and ramen. In sophisticated surrounds punctuated by Japanese art, furniture and elegant tableware, diners can feast on a selection of seasonal ingredients from Japan, from plump Hokkaido oysters to premium cuts of sushi from Tokyo’s famed fish markets. The restaurant will also serve as a showcase for celebrity guest chefs from Japan, with Fumi showcasing limited-time guest chef menus throughout the year. For a first taste of these exclusive showcases, mark your diaries for March, when Fumi welcomes renowned Edomae–style sushi master Aoki Toshikatsu, chef-owner of the famous Sushi Aoki in Tokyo’s Ginza district.
Fumi, 6/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2328 3302
PDT (Please Don’t Tell)
One of the most highly anticipated new openings of 2018, the Hong Kong branch of renowned New York cocktail bar PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is set to not only become one of the city’s premier drinking destinations, but also a hotspot for foodies. Accessed through MO Bar in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, the World’s 50 Best Bars regular is slated to open at the end of the month, providing exceptional cocktails by mixologists Jim Meehan and Jeff Bell as well as a sumptuous food menu curated by a roster of rotating Hong Kong chefs. With New York’s PDT famous for its New York–style hot dog, PDT HK kicks off with a special free-range pork, chicken and beef hot dog created by the hotel’s culinary director, Richard Ekkebus. Keep your eyes peeled for the hidden phone booth entrance leading the way to this world-class bar.
PDT, Entrance through MO Bar, G/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
Catering to the droves of office workers in Quarry Bay, Swire Restaurants is debuting REPUBLIC this month, a spin-off from PUBLIC, the international restaurant-deli at One Island East. Opening in Devon House in Taikoo Place, REPUBLIC is a 110-seat self-serviced eatery which offers healthy dining options from Monday to Friday: think healthy salads and breakfast bowls, pastries and made-to-order hot dishes. The menu takes its cues from Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian and Italian cuisines, with dishes including tamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelettes), Vietnamese pho bowls and nutritious breakfast bowls with home-made yoghurt and fresh fruit. For a quick lunch, takeaway options range from Vietnamese banh mi to spaghetti with kale pesto cream sauce and Sichuan–style dan dan noodles. Happy hour is also available daily from 6–8pm with discounted wines, beers and bar snacks.
REPUBLIC, Shop C&D, 1/F, Devon House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2896 6696
Another veggie-forward restaurant to kick off a healthy start to the new year, Aha has recently opened in Central — an all-day dining hub offering an array of balanced food options. Boasting a contemporary and stylish space, Aha serves up a selection of bento boxes, homemade pastas, meat and seafood options, desserts and afternoon tea. Meanwhile, vegans and vegetarians can go for the comprehensive salad bar (HK$50 for two choices; HK$70 for four choices) with quinoa kale salads, pan-fried tofu salad, pumpkin and beetroot and more, all washed down with a cold-pressed juice (from HK$35). The menu has been consulted on by registered senior dietitian Sylvia Lam, with nutrition labels indicating good sources of protein and fibre as well as low-sodium choices. For the calorie-conscious or those just looking for a more balanced diet in 2018, Aha should be at the top of your list to visit this month.
Aha, G/F, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2881 1811
The little sister of The Den steakhouse in Mid-Levels, Pete’s Place offers a Latin gastronomic experience in the heart of Sai Ying Pun, a family-run restaurant with a homely neighbourhood feel. Serving up Spanish and Peruvian bites with a touch of Italian, British and Asian fusion, Pete’s Place celebrates the diversity of Hong Kong’s landscape with signature dishes such as tuna tataki, grilled octopus with potato purée, vegetarian Peruvian pasta, Scotch eggs and squid-ink seafood paella. Meat lovers will want to tuck into the roasted BBQ pepper pork ribs with a sticky caramelised glaze or the grilled lamb chop, which comes seared to a pink medium-rare with vegetable couscous on the side. For dessert, it’ll be hard to resist the crowd favourite: molten chocolate lava cake paired with fresh fruit and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Pete’s Place, 23A High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2872 6288
After an extended hiatus, popular Italian restaurant PAPI is back with a bang, unveiling a brand-new location in Fashion Walk. With restaurateur Benjamin Lung (previously of Isola, Gaia Ristorante and Va Bene) leading the way, PAPI is back spreading its brand of accessible, affordable and high-quality Italian food across Hong Kong. With a return of the small plate sharing–style format that popularised the restaurant a few years back, the menu features over 15 Italian small dishes to share, from pan-fried Hokkaido sea scallops with white wine and fregola, to Florentina stewed beef tripe, grilled whole calamari, black truffle and gorgonzola cheese pizza, and more. Set in colourful tones of bright blue and orange, the two-storey location is all about fuss-free, unpretentious dining, celebrating classic and comforting Italian dishes in a family-friendly atmosphere.
PAPI, G/F, 8 Cleveland, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2808 0820