Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s certainly no shortage of hot bars and restaurants to keep the good vibes flowing in the 852. With spicy Indian and Mexican restaurants, hip hidden bars, and sweet desserts shops popping up around every corner, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to seeking new adventures in the city. Enjoy!
New Bar – Hugger Mugger
Another hidden bar – yay! Concealed behind an unassuming red door on Wyndham Street, British salon Hugger Mugger is the latest Pirata Group venue to cause a stir in the city’s popular drinking district of Central. Located just across the road from the new Tai Kwun heritage and arts hub, this hidden underground gem offers an intriguing atmosphere, seating only 29 guests at any one time, giving it an exclusive kind of feel. Inspired by 1970s London, the bar features British racing green leather sofas, accents of brass, warm timbers, and an impressive menu of cocktails inspired by Britain’s cultural legends. Guests can find themselves sipping on the likes of Ian Fleming, Pink Floyd, and William Shakespeare – quite an eclectic mix we say! On the far side of the salon is a majestic hand-carved wooden door leading into Chaiwala, the adjoining Indian restaurant, which we will come to next …
Hugger Mugger, Basement, No. 43-55, Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2362 8988
New Indian Restaurant – Chaiwala
The latest Pirata Group restaurant to burst onto the dining scene, Chaiwala dishes up modern Indian cuisine and creative cocktails inspired by the colourful hustle and bustle synonymous with the nation. The huge, vibrant venue is divided into three main sections – the ‘Chai Bar’ which features a vintage Indian chai stand, long marble topped table, and booth seating along the wall; the ‘Kitchen’ where traditional tandoor ovens sit behind the open kitchen giving them a peak of the chefs in action; and the ‘Dining Room’ which is decorated with swaths of floating fabric and hanging pendant lamps, humorous signage, and rustic wooden door frames which create partitions. High-energy Bollywood beats help to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy some feisty dishes and Insta-worthy cocktails – the Magic Lamp ($120) with butter washed rum, banana, dill and spice is a must order! Among our favourites on the food side are the Wagyu Seekh Kebab ($260) served on warm naan bread with peppers and onion, the Kerala Fish Curry ($140) prepared in a classic coconut sauce with fragrant curry leaves, and the charred Lobster Nerulli ($390) grilled with south Indian spices and sautéed vegetables. Make sure to leave room for the epic Chaiwala Carrot Cake ($110) too. The perfect spot for sociable nights out on the town.
Chaiwala, Basement, 45 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2362 8988
New Mexican Restaurant – Te Quiero Mucho
Bringing a touch of spice and character to Sheung Wan’s dining scene, Te Quiero Mucho is a vibrant Mexican restaurant and bar housed within the new micro-hotel, Mojo Nomad. Helmed by Guadalajara-native, Chef Alfonso, the kitchen serves big and small plates ideal for sharing, and an impressive selection of 36 artisanal tequilas and mezcal. The 1980s retro decor is truly distinctive, giving an affectionate nod to the pop culture of that era, with giant-sized Purple Rain and Ramones record sleeves donning the walls, and a pink neon sign spelling the Guns N’ Roses lyrics “Oh…where do we go now?” leading you up the stairs to the restaurant. Here you can find sharing plates like Classic Guacamole ($78) served with crunchy homemade tortilla chips, and house special tacos such as the Green Taco ($35) with peppers, corn, bean purée, and fried kale, as well as the Trump Taco ($40) with beef tongue and crispy chicharron. There are two desserts on offer, including Churros ($60) and Deconstructed Tres Leches ($65) with pomegranate and lychee, but in all honestly, the cocktails are far more impressive than the food, which seems to fall short in flavour. The El Trebo ($90) with vodka, Thai basil, and fermented pineapple juice is an absolute delight, while the zingy Las Palomas Coloradas ($118) with tequila infused with dry orange peel is devilishly moreish. Go for the drinks we say!
Te Quiero Mucho, Mojo Nomad Central, 286 Queen’s Road Central
New Frozen Margaritas at Cali-Mex Taqueria
Summer may be over but Cali Mex Taqueria is keeping things chilled with its new frozen margaritas, available at its four locations across Hong Kong. Made from Olmeca Tequila, merlot tripple sec, fresh lime juice, and Funkin Pro 100 percent fruit juice puree, the drinks are available in lime or strawberry flavour and cost $68 per glass. We’ve tried both flavours and recommend the lime for sour palettes and the strawberry for those with a sweet tooth. Either way, these devilishly good drinks are bound to blow your socks off with their generous tequila content. The margarita machine is also available to rent for the whole day for $3,500, so if you have a big party coming up soon, this is one way to keep your guests fuelled and merry. A great little treat for office parties, junk catering, and general all round fun!
Cali-Mex Taqueria, click here for locations
New Treats at Tipsy Restaurant & Bar
Popular eatery Tipsy Restaurant & Bar is whipping up some new deals on the first floor of the Little Tai Hang Boutique Hotel. The trendy, spacious dining room features double height ceilings, a terrace overlooking the Tai Hang precinct, a mesmerising open kitchen, and an epic wall mural which gives it a stylish, yet unpretentious vibe. The venue’s new Oyster and Wine Combo is the perfect way to kick start your feast, serving up four freshly shucked Stella Maris oysters, paired with two glasses of house white wine – perfect for date night! Popular dishes on the menu include the Blistered Spanish Red Prawn in Sake and Sesame Oil ($188 each) which literally gets blow-torched at your table, and the delicious Signature Roast Spring Chicken Stuffed with Black Truffle ($338). Make sure to order a side of the Tuna Tartar with Watermelon and Avocado ($168) and the food-gasmic Truffle Toast with Parma Ham and Mozzarella ($88). The cocktails aren’t half bad either, with the vodka based Tipsy Cooler ($118) and cheeky Kahlua and Bailey’s based Black Devil ($108) winning us over.
Tipsy Restaurant & Bar, 1/F, Little Tai Hang Boutique Hotel, 98 Tun Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, (+852) 2818 8807
New Speakeasy – Room 309
Another bar within a bar concept, but one that doesn’t fail to impress, is Room 309. Hidden behind a seemingly ordinary hotel room nestled within boutique hotel, The Pottinger, this discreet little cocktail bar oozes class and creativity. Helmed by award-winning mixologist Antonio Lai, of Quinary and Origin fame, the bar only seats a maximum of 13 guests at a time, making it an excellent choice for an intimate catch up – or date. Keeping things simple, the unique perspex menu features eight imaginative handcrafted cocktails that are created before your very eyes. These include the gin based Cream Soda ($128), the Vanishing Watermelon Martini ($128), and the Gone Gimlet ($138) which features re-distilled yoghurt gin with lemon peel and lime cordial. The imagination doesn’t stop there either, as to gain entry to this little haven you need to check in at ‘The Reception’ and receive a key card which lets you in on this little secret. Lovely.
Room 309, 3/F The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road Central, (+852) 2169 3311
New Vegan Pizzas at Pizza Express
The shift towards plant-based foods is well underway in the 852, so much so that popular restaurant chain Pizza Express is now serving a vegan Just Egg Pizza ($138) topped with JUST’s mung bean based ‘Just Egg’. As part of the chain’s commitment to expanding its menu beyond just vegetarian choices and other options that could be modified to be vegan-friendly, the pizza features an ingredient that is said to perfectly mimic a chicken egg, but offers a healthier alternative that’s packed with plant-based protein and contains no cholesterol. The pizza is available at all 23 branches around Hong Kong, and the chain is the first in the world to create a vegan pizza made ‘Just Egg’ – go team!
Pizza Express, locations vary
New Desserts from Sweet Fashion House
Let’s finish with something sweet, shall we. New luxury dessert boutique, Sweet Fashion House, has opened its doors at Lee Gardens Three, inviting Hong Kongers to indulge in a collection of handcrafted chocolates, cakes, and macarons. The boldly designed treats are inspired by art and aim to delight and surprise customers while “bringing moments of joy and optimist with every bite” – hmm, sounds heavenly! Each creation is made with painstaking precision and passion, fusing innovative flavours with the freshest ingredients. The newest collection, which includes things like the Dragon and Velvet, is inspired by the art of Feng Shui, and is characterised by a variety of round and oval shapes (pictured). All the desserts cost $58 each and if you happen to find yourself in the store at 11am or 5pm any day between September 17 to 19, you might be one of the 100 lucky people to receive a complimentary macaron, cake, or chocolate. Yum!
Sweet Fashion House, Shop G16, Lobby level, Lee Garden 3. Causeway Bay, (+852) 2658 8218