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Mr Porter Eats

Hong Kong Hang-outs

The hippest haunts change as quickly as the weather. Here are the eight new destinations whipping up a storm

  • Soy chicken at Ho Lee Fook

Eateries and drinking holes pop up constantly all over Hong Kong, from the all-out glam in Central to the subtly stylish in Sheung Wan. One week, a place is heralded as the white-hot epicentre of hip; the next, it’s a hackneyed no-no (or it disappears entirely). Hong Kong’s business infrastructure makes it relatively easy for investors to open up restaurants in the city. However, rents can double or triple within a year or two. This is indicative of a city that moves at an incredibly fast pace. As they say: “A New York minute is a Hong Kong second.” 

From a hidden hipster hang-out in Sai Ying Pun, to a sleek bar on busy Wellington Street – new, exciting and stylish (and with all the ingredients to outlive the buzz) – here are eight of the best new Hong Kong spots to drink and dine in right now.

The Pawn

  • From left: the elegant dining room in The Pawn; house-made ricotta, olive oil, dried herbs and aged balsamic vinegar

This four-storey building – listed as a heritage conservation site – once housed a pawnshop but is now a popular gastropub with a balcony overlooking Wan Chai’s meandering trams below. After a highly anticipated revamp last year, the second-floor Botanicals Bar serves handcrafted cocktails and artisanal spirits in a retro-modernist interior. On the roof garden, fresh herbs and vegetables are grown for the restaurant’s kitchen, where world-renowned chef Mr Tom Aikens serves up what he describes as “naturalism on a plate”. We call it high-end yet honest British food with a local twist.

What to order:
The juniper-marinated venison with smoked beetroot. Or, if you’re craving comfort food, try the duck Bolognese with a duck confit mash.

62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
thepawn.com.hk

What to wear:

  • Gucci Knitted Shawl-Collar Suede Jacket

  • Brioni Button-Down Collar Cotton-Chambray Shirt

Mott 32

  • Architect Ms Wang's Chinese restaurant, Mott 32 Joyce Wang

Located in the former storage basement of Standard Chartered Bank, this cathedral-like 7,500sqft underground space boasts an interior designed by award-winning architect Ms Joyce Wang, who has combined an industrial warehouse aesthetic with a touch of Chinese luxury and whimsy. The menu is authentic Cantonese, with a few signature Beijing and Sichuan dishes thrown in. If you like pork, you’re in luck. There are six different varieties of pig on offer.

What to order:
Go for the signature barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey, or the sweet-and-sour pork dressed with aged Chinese black vinegar – the perfect execution of a Cantonese classic. For lunch, the Kurobuta pork siu mai topped with a quail egg and black truffle is a firm favourite.

Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road, Central
mott32.com

What to wear:

  • Club Monaco Beige Knitted Linen and Cotton-Blend Blazer

  • Officine Generale Auguste Striped Linen And Cotton-Blend Shirt

Little Bao

  • From left: the exterior of Little Bao; a green tea ice-cream bao

It’s always a street party outside talented chef and It-girl Ms May Chow’s modern Hong Kong diner. The menu of this casual Asian burger joint demonstrates her multicultural culinary skills, with interesting takes on Chinese flavours. Signature steamed buns include a slow-braised pork belly bao, with leek and shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing and hoisin ketchup. For vegetarians, there’s the sloppy chan – a muscular Taiwan-style (“lurou”) shiitake tempeh, with truffle mayo, fried shallots and sweet pickled daikon.

What to order:
The pan-fried dumplings are so delicious you’ll want to eat them every day (try them stuffed with slow-braised organic grass-fed beef short rib, topped with creamy celeriac coleslaw). Then there’s the Iberico lamb tartare for the summer, with fermented bean curd mayo, takana pickles and crisp tofu chips, Ms Chow’s deliciously cool reimagining of the Cantonese lamb casserole, a classic winter stew. 

66 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central
little-bao.com

What to wear:

  • Saturdays NYC Esquina Checked Cotton Shirt

  • Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Slim-Fit Organic Dry Denim Jeans

Aberdeen Street Social

  • Lamb rump, confit neck, kidney powder, pale aubergine and French beans

Located in the old clubhouse of the refurbished Police Married Quarters compound (PMQ), the 1950s architecture and design give Aberdeen Street Social a unique ambience – especially with celebrated artist Mr Adrian Wong’s barbershop pole installation spinning psychedelically at the entrance. The buzzy downstairs Bar & Bistro, overlooking an emerald-green lawn (something of a luxury in Hong Kong), serves bar bites, comfort food and cocktails all day, while the upstairs dining room offers modern British cuisine along the same, simple-yet-refined vein of Michelin-starred chef Mr Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social in London.

What to order:
Upstairs: try the barley risotto with parsnip, apple and sage from the lunch menu, or the sea bass with quinoa, black curry and sour cream. Downstairs: go for an American lobster roll with a Bloody English cocktail – their umami version of a Bloody Mary, with Sipsmith gin, tomato juice, full English spice mix, lemon, Bristol cream sherry and a garnish of egg on toast.

PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
aberdeenstreetsocial.hk

What to wear:

  • Brioni Blue Wool, Silk and Cashmere-Blend Blazer

  • Turnbull & Asser White Slim-Fit Checked Cotton Shirt

Tycoon Tann

  • From left: the entrance to Tycoon Tann; baked crab shell stuffed with fresh crabmeat, onions and cheese

With a knowing nod to local heritage, Tycoon Tann’s intimate ground-level Mod Bar serves immaculately crafted cocktails in retro-kitsch Chinese ceramic ware. Order the yum cha (made with home-made cinnamon gin, St Germain, lemongrass and fruit tea) or the salty mandarin lemonade (combining vodka, mandarins and Wuliangye – a Sichuanese spirit made from five organic grains). A stately Chinese apothecary cabinet rests on the back wall, and a stylish staircase leads you to an intimate two-floor restaurant, with an avant-garde, artsy vibe on the first floor and a more relaxed feel on the second.

What to order:
Modern dim sum for lunch and dinner (try the Wagyu beef dumplings with snow pear), as well as signature dishes such as crispy salted chicken, braised abalone with black truffle in a casserole, and baked crab shell stuffed with fresh crabmeat, onions and cheese.

74 Wellington Street, Central
tycoontann.com

What to wear:

  • Massimo Alba Cashmere Shawl-Collar Cardigan

  • Gucci Striped Wool And Silk-Blend Scarf

Ho Lee Fook

  • From left: chef Mr Yu; a selection of roast meats

An effortlessly cool basement restaurant, Ho Lee Fook (which means “good fortune for your mouth” in Cantonese) is inspired by the spirit of late-night Chinatown in 1960s New York. Influenced by his Taiwanese roots and his time spent in North America, chef Mr Jowett Yu serves up an evolutionary interpretation of urban Chinese food (see below). A thumping soundtrack, clever cocktails and solid flavours in generous portions ensure an intoxicating night out. 

What to order:
The melt-in-mouth roast Wagyu short ribs caramelised with a soy-glazed crust, topped with mounds of marinated scallion kimchi and a dollop of green jalapeño purée. If you’re in a nostalgic mood, go for the Horlicks malt ice cream with Corn Flake honey joys, oats, cocoa coffee crumbs and dried longan fruit.

1-5 Elgin Street, Central
holeefookhk.tumblr.com

What to wear:

  • Neighborhood Rip Repair Distressed Denim Shirt

  • Oliver Peoples Jack Huston Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Ping Pong 129

  • The buzzy interior of Ping Pong 129

Pat yourself on the back if you manage to find this hidden hang-out in the predominantly residential area of Sai Ying Pun. Enter a red door next to a nondescript Chinese diner and descend into an old table tennis hall-turned-gintonería (a suave Spanish gin and tonic bar). Proprietor Mr Juan Martinez Gregorio offers a comprehensive list of G and Ts (from Martin Miller’s to rare and premium labels such as Valencia’s Ginself), served up in special glass goblets from Spain with a perfectly chiselled block of ice.

What to order:
Jamón Ibérico and Padrón peppers to go with a Dry Gin 19 Flors with tonic and Japanese kumquat, or a Mombasa Club gin with orange zest.

129 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun
pingpong129.com

What to wear:

  • Remi Relief Striped Button-Down Collar Denim Shirt

  • AMI Slim-Fit Cotton Chinos

Armani/ Privé

  • From left: the intimate dining room; grass-fed black Angus beef cubes, warm rocket jelly, Parmesan crisps, vintage balsamic vinegar drops and Hoarfrost salt

A collaboration between fashion house Giorgio Armani and Aqua Restaurant Group, this sophisticated club has been a mainstay of the city’s high-end nightlife scene for some time. Expect to find everyone from the Hong Kong glitterati to financiers treading these floors. The big draw is its spacious wraparound rooftop terrace with commanding views over Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road, in the midst of the skyscrapers typical of downtown Hong Kong.

What to order:
Try savoury drinks such as the blue margarita (Patron Silver tequila with Iranian Persian Blue salt shavings) and BBQ Bloody Mary (made with Indonesian peppercorns and smoked salt collected from the fjords of Norway).

2/F, Landmark Chater, 8 Connaught Road, Central
armaniprive-hk.com

What to wear:

  • Kingsman Stone Slim-Fit Double-Breasted Wool and Linen-Blend Suit

  • J.M. Weston 180 The Moccasin Leather Loafers