With the Christmas countdown now underway, we look forward to filling our stomachs and glasses with the best food and drink our city has to offer. Good job then that this month’s roundup of new menus give us plenty of practice, with plate loads of delicious bites and tantalising cocktails to get us in the festive spirit. Christmas is only seven weeks away — so let’s start training for it!
La Piola Italian Restaurant & Bar
After more than a year of waiting, Italian eatery La Piola has reopened its doors in the heart of Wan Chai (beneath The Pawn), serving up simple yet hearty dishes and some tasty wines to boot. Founder Enrico Gilihas has done a sterling job of bringing his passion for “home style cooking” to the table within the stunning 19th century Chinese heritage building which boasts high ceilings, an intimate dining area, and a causal bar opening onto the street. Thankfully, the bar hasn’t lost its charming atmosphere and appealing happy hour deal which made it a popular post-work watering hole during its Lyndhurst Terrace days. Free tapas are yours for the taking every day when you buy drinks here between 5pm and 8pm – but let’s talk about the food.
La Piola specialises in food from the north west region of Piedmont, which is famous for rich and hearty dishes that make use of rich ingredients. You can expect generously sized pizzas, rich and cheesy pastas, and cold cuts bursting with flavour – and plenty of olive oil! The Margherita Pizza ($148) is one of the best we’ve tried in Hong Kong, and is served on a thin, crispy crust that allows the tomato, basil, and mozzarella toppings to steal the show (pictured left). If you love cheese, the Plin Al Castelmagno ravioli ($198) is a good choice, but be warned it’s very heavy on the olive oil and the portions are much smaller than the other dishes. Seafood lovers will enjoy the Fritto Misto di Pesce ($258) a selection of fresh fried seafood served in a cheeky brown bag sprawled across a wooden tray (pictured right). The set lunch menu sets you back an affordable $188 for 2 courses, or $218 for 3, and if you go for the latter, make sure to try the gorgeous jar served Traditional Tiramisu ($78), which although somewhat lacking in booze, goes down swimmingly with a hot cup of coffee. Delizioso!
La Piola, 60 Johnson Road, Wan Chai, (+852) 2806 1028
Jamie’s Deli in Harbour City
If you’re a fan of the British Naked Chef and his passion for healthy “pucker tucker”, then it’s well worth checking out his new deli in Harbour City. Open for breakfast and lunch only, this casual grab-and-go venue boasts an overwhelming selection of prepared salads, sandwiches, hot entrees, and pizza that are as nutritious as they are delicious and conveniently served in takeaway tubs and boxes. You can choose a hot item and load it up with two veg for $88 or three for $98, which is surprisingly reasonable given the generous portion sizes.
The Gennaro’s Meatballs and Lemon and Herb Salmon are hands down the ‘hottest’ items on the menu, while the Kale Caesar and Mixed Grains with Caramelised Onions and Feta come with tangy dressings that add a burst of flavour to the tub. Aside from the impressive selection of hot and cold dishes on offer, there is a beverage counter with thankfully no Coke in sight! Kudos to Oliver for not cashing in on branded sugar-laden sodas like so many supposed “healthy” cafes do. Instead, you can choose from a selection of fresh fruit juices and smoothies, of which the Green Smoothie is an absolute delight. If only we had a deli like this on Hong Kong Island *hint hint*.
Jamie’s Deli, Shop 412, 4/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, (+852) 3758 3333
Calling all sushi lovers! You are in for a serious treat at this newly opened Omakase Japanese restaurant. Located on the 17th floor of a commercial building on Ashley Road, this modest 30 seater venue boasts impressive views of Tsim Sha Tsui, a slick minimalist Japanese garden design, and perhaps the most extensive selection of sushi we’ve seen, all prepared by executive Chef Roy. The restaurant offers an à la carte and set lunch menu starting from $180, but the real appeal of this place are the three Omakase dinner menus put together by Chef Roy himself. You can choose either the Ume, Take, or Matsu menu, which range from $800 to $1,580 per person.
Our favourites from the overwhelming Matsu selection include the beautifully smooth Tuna Loin, thinly sliced Flounder, and Salmon Roe which is bursting (quite literally) with freshness and is surprisingly un-fishy in flavour. There are some hot treats thrown in there too, namely the Sea Bream Soup, Beltfish Tempura, and Salt-grilled Sweetfish, which add a tangy twist to the authentic feast. All this can be enjoyed while sitting at the seven-seater sushi bar and watching the pros prepare each dish with sheer precision and skill. If you love sushi and a touch of entertainment with your meal, then Sushi Taki is definitely worth checking out.
Sushi Taki, 17/F, 17-19 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, (+852) 2706 2028
Casa Lisboa Gastronomia Portuguesa
Oh we do love a bargain boozy brunch here in Hong Kong, and recently opened Portuguese restaurant Casa Lisboa delivers just that with its new 8-course weekend offering. Available for an affordable $350 per person every Saturday, Sunday, and public holiday (hurray), the menu invites you to tuck into six starters, including the foodgasmic Garlic Octopus, fluffy Codfish Cakes, and refreshing Clams Casa Lisboa, as well as a main of your choice. We have to warn you though, picking a main is a tough call, given that you have six equally mouth-watering dishes to choose from, including the Slow Roasted Suckling Pig, Oven Baked Duck Rice, and the whopping too-big-to-finish Casa Lisboa Francesinha (pictured above). This Portuguese style hamburger is the stuff of dreams, packed with – wait for it – roast beef, chorizo, pork belly, cheese, egg, potatoes, and house sauce in bread.
And if you do get beyond this point of face-stuffing, there are four rich desserts to choose from, including the cheeky Drunken Pear in Port and Portuguese Biscuit Cake with vanilla ice cream, which tastes as heavenly as it sounds. There are also two free-flow drinks packages to choose from for an additional $150 or $188, so you can sip on as much sangria and wine as you like – within your budget. Alternatively you can just hit the cocktail menu and savour the highly-addictive Lisboa Cooler ($68), Ginger Sour ($78), and several other equally tantalising options. The verdict? If you live for brunch, then this is a no-brainer!
Casa Lisboa, 2/F, Parekh House, 63 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2905 1168
Picada Chino-Latino Brunch
Brunching doesn’t always have to mean stuffing your face until you’re about to burst (although that is a lot of fun). The newly launched Picada brunch is a nice reminder of that, offering a moderately sized menu of seven tasty dishes that blend together popular Chinese and South American recipes served in cute dim sum baskets. The selection includes a refreshing Mini Peruvian Ceviche, tangy Colombian Empanadas with slow cooked beef ribs, and deliciously moreish Cheese Spring Rolls with guacamole sauce.
For an affordable $198 per person, this is a great option for afternoon snacking when you aren’t completely ravenous. That said, the bite-sized dishes do sufficiently fill you up – largely thanks to the spicy Latin Fried Rice, which blends together chorizo with chicken, egg, ginger, and soy sauce. This satisfying feast is rounded off with two adorable chocolate coated marshmallow Beso De Moza characters which make for an amusing finish. Free-flow sparkling Cava can be added for an additional $198 per person, or you can order a variety of other drinks from the bar. A good option for afternoon snacking.
Picada, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 3425 4037
Every Saturday and Sunday, (12pm – 3pm)
New Cocktails at Lobster Bar & Grill
The Shangri-La’s much-loved Lobster Bar & Grill has undergone a little cocktail makeover with the introduction of ten newfangled handcrafted signature tipples, which we can confirm taste as incredible as they look. Voted one of the ‘World’s 50 Best Bars 2017’, it’s hardly surprising that the presentation of these expertly executed cocktails (each priced at $120) is second to none.
The highly Instagrammable bunch incorporate Absolut Elyx, Chivas Regal, Beefeater 24, Monkey 47 gin, sherry, absinthe, and champagne into the mix meaning there’s something to satisfy every palate. Among the crowd favourites are the zesty Taste of Ling, a gin-based concoction with herbs and spices; the sweet Electric Pink Cadillac, made with wine, gin, and cooked rhubarb; and Therapy, made from a home-made horchata blend of cashew nuts, sugar, and rice. Served in decadent glassware bought especially for the collection, these charming drinks add a touch of glamour to your after-work soirée or romantic date night in a sophisticated setting.
Lobster Bar & Grill, Island Shangri-La, Supreme Court Road, Level 6, Pacific Place, Central, (+852) 2820 8560
Venue and Menu Refurb at Tiffin, Grand Hyatt
Ooh, we do love a good buffet – especially when there’s free-flow bubbly involved. After five months of refurbishment, the Grand Hyatt’s Tiffin buffet is bigger and better than ever, bringing new treats to the table including six different types of freshly-shucked oysters, a new dessert counter with three live stations freshly preparing and serving sweets, and a whole live lobster served table-side in three different cooking styles – bouillon-boiled, herb butter grilled, or Thermidor.
The Beef Wellington remains a firm favourite at this impressive spread, as does the carving station which dishes out roast lamb, prime rib, and roast hog. And to wash it all down, the drinks sommelier at the Hyatt has created pairings to accompany each menu. As for the venue itself, the brand new flooring, furniture, fixtures, and lighting give it a shiny new feel which doesn’t go unnoticed.
Tiffin at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, (+852) 2584 7722
Brunch costs $728 for adults and $364 for children (kids under 6 years are free of charge) Beverage package – $218/person (includes selected wine, beer, soft drinks, juices, and mineral water)
New Cocktails and Bar Snacks at STUDIO
Love jazz? Love cocktails? We know just the spot for you. High-end jazz lounge STUDIO has launched a brand new menu of premium cocktails and bar snacks to keep audiences happy as they kick back to live performances six nights of the week. The impressive range of mouth-watering drinks include the devilishly moreish Wild Flower ($120) served with Absolut Elyx, Chambord, raspberries, herbs, spices, foamy egg white, and roselle blossom – plus a sticky toffee disk to please those with a sweet tooth (pictured above). The Jessica Rabbit ($140) is equally as alluring, blending together Plymouth Gin, strawberries, bourbon vanilla extract, and Mumm Grand Cordon, served with a floating rose petal scattered with edible silver pearls. Fancy!
While the sharing dishes are extremely tasty and clearly use top-notch ingredients, they certainly don’t come cheap considering the portion size, but then we wouldn’t expect anything less from a high-end joint in the heart of Central. That said, if you spend more than $350 on food, you can enjoy a complimentary bottle of house wine which evens out the expenditure – the fried Chicken Karaage ($120) and US Grass-Fed Beef Tataki ($180) are extremely good and pair beautifully with the handcrafted cocktails. Be sure to swing by on a Thursday after 9pm to catch the wonderfully talented Pete Kelly Trio, who work wonders on the jazz flute, sax, and keyboard.
Studio Club, 1/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central
Read more! Discover the Best Live Jazz Bars in Hong Kong
Hairy Crab Seasonal Treats
Feed Me Guru Crabalicious Festival
If you’re one of the many Hong Kongers who have been waiting with bated breath for hairy crab season to arrive then you’ll be thrilled to know that it’s finally here and that FeedMe Guru has teamed up with more than sixty restaurants across Hong Kong to offer crab-oriented tasting menus throughout November. Participating restaurants range from the trendiest dining spots to eateries with glowing Michelin star reviews.
On the Chinese cuisine front, Shang Palace of Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel is leading the way, serving up steamed shrimp dumplings filled with crab meat, coriander, and water chestnut. Modern Sichuan style restaurant Qi-Nine Dragons is dishing up hot and sour crab soup, spicy soft-shell crab, and chili fried Dungeness crab, which is perfect for spicy food lovers. On the international side, Tempura Taki in Central is offering lunch and dinner menus with fresh snow crab from Japan, while Petrus of Island Shangri-La is showcasing the “Le crab à la presse” – Alaskan king crab with custard and handpicked warm salad. Time to get cracking!
New Crab Roe Dishes at Dragon Noodles Academy
The highly Instagrammable 70s Kung Fu themed restaurant has introduced ten “gastronomic reinventions” of hairy crab’s rich, golden crab roe that are ready to eat in dim sum style without fiddling with shells – thanks goodness! Among the selection of delicacies ode to the tasty crustacean are Crab Roe with Tofu ($149), Golden Crab Roe Crispy Rice Cakes ($169), Crab Roe on Shrimp Dark Bamboo Toast ($179), and Braised Shanghai Cabbage with Crab Roe ($129).
If you are keen on enjoying the hairy creature in true Hong Kong fashion, however, you can order the traditional Steamed Whole Fresh Hairy Crab (pictured above) for $189 and have a whale of a time cracking open its hearty 4.5 tael shell to savour the flavour within. And don’t worry about sticky fingers as they provide a pair of gloves and plenty of wipes to clean up afterwards. Phew!
Read more! Check out our latest restaurant reviews in our Food & Drink section.