Autumn is finally here, and while it gradually cools down in Hong Kong, we’re on the look-out for hearty eats and belly-warming bites. Check out some of the most exciting new restaurants and menus to be found in Hong Kong this October.
New Henko Collection menu at TokyoLima
Tried-and-true Nikkei institution TokyoLima makes a triumphant change to their menu with the introduction of the Henko Collection. Drawing on the Japanese term for ‘change’, executive chef Arturo Melendez brings the heat with a new selection of small plates, mains, and desserts alongside fan favourite dishes, all impeccably-plated and bursting with flavour. The Ceviche Mixto ($180) is a classic stunner, with bright flavours that dance on the palate. For a warmer touch, the Pork Pincho ($190) combines luscious Iberian pork tenderloin with a tangy Peruvian red pepper and kimchi sauce. Paired with gorgeous and bright cocktails dreamed up by bar manager Alison Acuna, the cocktail pairings are a match made in heaven.
TokyoLima, G/F, Car Po Commercial Building, 18–20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central | (+852) 2811 1152
Seasonal sanma menu at UMAI
Casual Japanese bistro UMAI is hosting a double celebration to salute the start of Japan’s plum wine season as well as one of the country’s most iconic seafood. Nicknamed the “autumn swordfish”, the sanma fish plays a leading role in this limited-time menu, with dishes like Sushi-Grade Sanma Kamameshi, cooked with ‘kettle rice’ in an iron pot called a kama, and Fresh Sanma Sashimi as the highlights. To accompany the hearty meal, UMAI is partnering with Kakibuchi, a renown umeshu distillery from Wakayama, to promote a homemade, mellow autumn plum wine, specially brewed under personal instruction from the distillery’s fourth-generation owner.
Modelled after the cosy post-work vibes of traditional Japanese izakayas, the inspired decor and interiors of UMAI will send you on a trip to the quaint fishing villages by the coastline of Japan as you wine and dine. The availability of the Sanma Tasting Menu is dependent on the catch of this seasonal fish, so best be quick to book your seats!
UMAI, G/F, D2 Place ONE, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 2743 8011
Award-winning chef John Nguyen joins Chôm Chôm
Those who have been up and down the streets of Soho will need no introduction to Chôm Chôm, Elgin Street’s rambunctious curbside bia hoi. Having just celebrated its sixth birthday, this Blacksheep Restaurants stalwart now welcomes a newly-landed, star-studded culinary talent to lead the kitchen. Chef John Nguyen, named Chef of the Year by Eater in 2017, has relocated to Hong Kong to revolutionise the classic Vietnamese dishes we know and love.
A menu revamp to showcase Chef John’s distinctive and creative take on Viet cuisine is surely in tow, and new dishes include melt-in-your-mouth Roasted Bone Marrow ($128) and a curious fusion Vietnamese Pizza ($88), a medley of crispy rice papers topped with braised short rib, Sriracha mayo, fried shallots, peanuts, pickles, and Vietnamese herbs. Locally-sourced seafood also makes a prominent appearance, with the aromatic Grilled Diver Scallop & Pomelo ($128) and Charred King Clam ($98) in a brown butter fish sauce.
The Hanoi House alumni puts particular emphasis on the growing vegetarian culture in Hong Kong. With the development of a vegan, soy-based ‘fish’ sauce, Chef John’s unique nuoc cham dressing gives plant-based dieters a rare opportunity to experience the memorable flavours of Vietnamese dishes. To say that we’re excited is an understatement!
Chôm Chôm, 58–60 Peel Street, Soho, Central
Summer’s coming to an end at Beef & Liberty
Summer may have come to an end, but we are scrambling for the last vestiges of light, refreshing flavours before we move on to pumpkin spice lattes. Luckily, Beef & Liberty is offering the perfect go-between from now until October 27. Start your meal off with the simple Grilled Watermelon & Feta Salad ($49) that bursts with flavour, followed by a limited-time Lambrosia ($129), a Greek-inspired lamb burger with organic Rhug Estate lamb patty, tzatziki, cherry tomatoes, red onion, mint, and cucumber, in an effort to transport us to the Mediterranean coast for one last summer jaunt. Truly, food fit for the gods.
Contemporary Chinese food at Jasmine Citygate
Contemporary Cantonese restaurant Jasmine has just opened its new branch in Citygate Outlet at Tung Chung. Upon arrival, the eatery boasts a garden ambience, complete with unobstructed, double-height, and floor-to-ceiling windows which allows natural light in. Offered in the modern environment is the brand new a-la-carte menu that’s a fusion of the East and West.
The Grilled Lamb Rack with Turnip Cake ($228), for instance, blends the deep-fried and specially marinated lamb rack with Chinese radish cake. Another must-try is the Deep-fried Yellow Croaker Eggplant (138). When served to your table, the dry ice effect creates a spooky fog that’s perfect for your Instagram snap. Finish off the feat with the Western twist dessert, Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream ($78).
Jasmine Citygate, Shop 255, L2, Citygate Outlets
Read more! Here are the best places to indulge in new drinks and cocktails this October.
Fifth-anniversary menu at Carbone
Hong Kong’s original red sauce giant Carbone is celebrating half a decade in our city of gourmands with a limited-time menu, just for meat and pasta lovers. Bringing together a special Anniversary Set Lunch ($488) featuring the best of the best at Carbone (and all of their fan-favourite dishes), this is the perfect opportunity to revisit the restaurant’s outstanding Spicy Rigatoni Vodka with Calabrian chilli, or try it for the very first time! Along with classics like the Chicken Parmesan with tomato and buffalo mozzarella and Carbone’s signature Caesar alla ZZ—a salad prepared tableside for that theatrical touch—the four-course, wine-paired lunch is versatile (and filling) enough for client schmoozing, midday catch-up between friends, and a casual workweek cheat meal. If you’ve always wanted to give Carbone a try, but could never find the right moment: this is the moment.
Carbone, 9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central
Free-flow a la carte vegan brunch at Nectar
The loss of Grassroots Pantry hit us hard, but the tears have been shed and the doors to Nectar have opened. Plant-based dining pioneer Peggy Chan is going high end with unlocking the full potential of vegan cuisine, and the latest trick up her sleeve is a new Weekend Brunch Menu ($550).
Start off with the Caesar Salad with butterhead lettuce, dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, cultured Parmesan, and a raw cashew dressing, and delight in the divine Steamed Momo with tomato masala achar and cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto. Follow up with a Poke Bowl that boasts Chef Peggy’s homemade tomato tuna and sesame and ponzu dressing, but don’t stuff yourself too much before you get to the desserts, because the Moringa Ice Cream Sandwich and Lemon Vanilla Waffles are excellent finishers.
For a healthy tipple, add on the Free-Flow Wine Package ($180) with three natural wines to choose from, or the Elixir Flow ($158) for gut- and immune-boosting shots like the oregano oil-driven Flu Be Gone and Gut-luv with kefir.
The perks? Order as much as you want from the a la carte brunch menu within a two-hour window, but in the name of sustainability, please don’t go overboard and overorder—we should still be working hard to reduce potential food waste, even at free-flow brunches.
Nectar, G/F, Centrestage, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2873 3353
Duck & Waffle presents playful, modern British cuisine
There has been much buzz about the opening of London’s much-loved Duck & Waffle on our shores, and we can confirm that it is finally open! First introduced to Hong Kong foodies during a short stint at Taste of Hong Kong a few years back, the IFC shopfront marks their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in the city. Understandably, they have brought some of their crowd favourites over from the UK, including the celebrated Duck & Waffle ($230), a confit duck leg sandwiched between a piping-hot waffle and a fried duck egg and topped off with a homemade mustard maple syrup. Just the thought of it has us drooling.
While you’re noshing down on the signature, you might as well dabble in other all-time favourites, like the Foie Gras Crème Brûlée ($150), a caramelised foie gras custard, and a Chinese bao-inspired Spiced Ox Cheek Doughnut ($135), filled with slow-braised ox cheek, cream cheese, herbs, and spices, then rolled in smoked paprika sugar. Pair that off with cocktails like the #Snapquack ($128), a tropical number of pineapple gin, lychee, raspberry, bergamot, and bitters, and the beloved Duck & Stormy ($148), with dark rum, toasted coconut, lime, and ginger.
Honestly, the menu is unique and extensive, so we’d suggest having a look (and taste) for yourselves to see what the hype is about. Grab a lunch to go from their take-out counter, or kick back and enjoy a slow meal with sprawling harbour views keeping you company.
Duck & Waffle, Shop 1081, Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central | (+852) 2267 6338
Photo courtesy of @cova_loves_travel
New Saturday lunch menu at Octavium
Live la dolce vita this weekend with Octavium and be prepared to indulge in a length siesta afterwards. Backed the Michelin heavyweight that is Umberto Bombana, Octavium’s new Saturday Lunch Menu ($788) clocks in at a hefty price, but the decadent four-course meal boasts a roster of unforgettable dishes that are worth a special weekend meal.
From the homemade bread starter (seriously, some of the best bread we’ve ever had) to the crisp starter of Summer Tomatoes with sucrine lettuce and burrata cheese, you are taken in by the premium ingredients and delicate attention to detail. For the pasta and main courses, choose between Trenette “Mancini” with basil pesto and kampachi fish or “Malloreddus” with traditional pork ragout (this was our favourite), and Warm Snapper or Roasted Australian Quail. Of course, the Octavium Tiramisu at the end of lunch is not to be missed, and the “Lorenzini” Melon dessert provides a fresh palate cleanser before you move on to your much-needed food coma nap.
Octavium, 8/F, One Chinachem Central, 22 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 2111 9395
Read more! Your ultimate guide to where to eat at K11 Musea.
Photo courtesy of @whatdaduck852
Casual Peking duck wraps at What Da Duck
Raise your hands: who’s ready for casual Peking duck that won’t break the bank? Helmed by dynamic duo Amy and Jaicy, the latest pop-up at restaurant incubator Taste Kitchen comes in the form of a crispy Peking duck take-out concept, where aromatic roast duck shines in the limelight.
Tuck into either quarter, half, or full portions of signature Crispy Duck ($88–$320), served with a choice of homemade sauces, ranging from hoisin, sweet chilli, Peking fruit, and plum. To complete your meal, add on regulars like rice, salad, soup noodles, or Pancakes with Cucumber and Leak ($20). For a guilty snack on the side, we’d highly recommend Prawn on Toast ($58–$88) and the Crab Claw ($48), though lesser-seen dishes like Stuffed Spring Onion Pancakes ($38) and Lotus Chips ($48) are also on the menu.
The inspiration for What Da Duck is traced back to the previous generation, all the way in Manchester, where co-founder Amy’s father operates a Chinatown takeout that sees crispy duck take-out orders fly out the door. In a bid to cure her homesickness and reform the prevailing Peking duck culture in Hong Kong, a casual duck concept was born. In a city where the most prominent roasted Peking duck and goose offerings lead to queues out the door and overpriced meals with middling results, What Da Duck is a much-needed plug for the hole in the market.
What Da Duck at Taste Kitchen, H113–H114, 1/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Photo courtesy of @15squarestreet
Authentic Scandinavian fika experience at KAFFE
For coffee lovers seeking that special fika moment in the heart of the city, you’d be surprised to find a drop of Swedish quintessence right in Sheung Wan. Combining coffee and lifestyle with that unique brand of laid-back Scandinavian flair, KAFFE is a quiet and intimate nook, with homemade Swedish pastries and surprising coffees on offer. Your usual caffeine cravings can be had, as well as oddities like Ice Black Soda ($35) and Fresh Mint Ice Latte ($45). There’s even a luxurious twist on a Hong Kong classic, the Dong Yin Yeung ($45), infused with Kashmiri saffron, sea salt, and Icelandic liquorice. Be sure to browse around the shop for Scandivanian design goods as well.
KAFFE, 15 Square Street, Sheung Wan
Photo courtesy of Micasadeco & Café
Micasadeco & Café adds to the burgeoning Japanese soufflé pancakes scene
Osaka’s famed Micasadeco & Café has opened its very first flagship location outside of Japan, bringing their award-winning Ricotta Cheese Pancake ($118), as well as an extensive sweet and savoury café menu, to Hong Kong. All ingredients used are directly imported from Japan to preserve the highest level of authenticity, and the Hong Kong kitchen staff underwent in-depth training with their Japanese counterparts to create the perfect pancake stacks.
The addition of Italian ricotta cheese to their signature recipe instantly elevates the sweetness and softness of each pancake, and for the finishing touch, their airy stacks are topped off with butter, Hokkaido milk whipped cream, and maple syrup. This seemingly humble stack won three stars at the Sarah Japan Menu Awards last year and is causing quite a stir in Hong Kong as well.
Micasadeco & Café, Shop B26–27, B2/F, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok
Read more! These are the fluffiest Japanese soufflé pancakes to be found in Hong Kong.
Gunpowder presents modern, flavourful Indian cuisine
The group behind Indian stalwart Gaylord has moved into Hong Kong Island with brand-new Gunpowder, a modern restaurant and bar experience that centres around the formidable spice mix known as milagai podi—or gunpowder—that forms the tried-and-true magic bullet base of many Indian condiments.
Nestled in high-end J Residence, counting Bo Innovation, Koh Thai, and Bib n Hops amongst its neighbours, Gunpowder brings a refined brand of Indian cuisine to the table. Its modern approach to Indian cuisine sees the menu drawing influences from all around Asia, noticeable in signatures like the Patarani Sea Bass ($118), a fish prepared Parsi-style in banana leaves with a spiced coconut and coriander mix.
Our personal favourites have include Gunpowder Chicken ($98), crunchy chicken nibbles brushed in gunpowder, and Chicken Chettinad Tikka ($98), chargrilled chicken brochettes bursting with the added flavour of spiced curry leaf pesto. The sweet and mellow Chicken Makhani ($108), with seared barbecue chicken swimming in a rich tomato and butter sauce to be mopped up with Cheese Truffle Naan ($38), also landed a big hit with us. An affordable lunch menu, along with a comprehensive cocktail, spirits, and wine list, shapes this new restobar into a one-stop destination. When palate-pleasing Indian treats and digestible price tags are thrown together into one convenient location, we’re guaranteed to make repeat visits to Gunpowder.
Gunpowder, G/F, 18 Ship Street, J Residence, Wan Chai | (+852) 2827 7777
Originally published on September 27, 2019. Last updated on October 24, 2019.
Read more! Discover new restaurants and bars in Hong Kong on our Food and Drink section on Localiiz.