Header image courtesy of TMK Rap & Rolls
Cooking is definitely an art form—the sinuous strokes of sauce on a plate, the blushing pink centre of a well-cooked steak contrasting with the dark caramel of its charred surface, the casually untidy layers of a mille-feuille coated with a delicate puff of icing sugar snow. Some restaurants take the extra step of transforming the space into a literal canvas of creativity, sourcing paintings, sculptures, installations, and other artistic creations to accompany patrons on their culinary journeys, and envelop them in a surround sound experience of art and eclectic taste. Here are the best restaurants in Hong Kong for art lovers, for a feast of two different persuasions.
The Lounge at The Hari is more than just a space to relax and socialise—you can also enjoy the exquisite offerings of the adjacent Italian restaurant, Lucciola, as well as Japanese delights from the other hotel restaurant, Zoku, from the comfort of your plush armchairs. The Hari has a dedicated art curator that sources contemporary art pieces from all over the world to accessorise the property, from the ground-floor lobby and each of the rooms and suites to the restaurants and communal spaces.
The Lounge is reminiscent of a chic home, complete with an outstanding collection of coffee table books and artwork curated by the Pontone Gallery and A Space For Art. Take in the abstract beauty of Kim Bumsu’s re-enactment of film images, the energy of Choi Soowhan’s monochromatic spray of light carved into black laminate, and the urgency of Do Min’s “Enjoy the Moment”—a photo-realist oil of a die’s splash as it hits water.
The Lounge, The Hari Hong Kong, 330 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong | (+852) 2129 0388
Home to an impressive selection of contemporary artworks by the likes of Javier León Pérez, Pasha Wais, Peter Yuill, and an array of renowned local and international artists, the plant-filled Mr & Mrs Fox champions easy living. Pasha Wais’s signature colour-blocking provides skins for two columns within the restaurant, and Peter Yuill’s three geometric renderings of symmetrical twists allude to the decorative knotting of Chinese folk art.
Mr & Mrs Fox, 23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay | (+852) 2697 8500
With a year-round art programme maintained by expert curators, Duddell’s has definitely earned a reputation for being a bougie haunt of the art and design-savvy crowd when it comes to wining and dining. Thankfully, art is no longer privy to just the bourgeoisie—the restaurant (and unofficial gallery) is open to all who might be interested in art. The striking mid-century and modern interiors, eclectic art pieces, and Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine make for a modern-day Aladdin’s cave of treasures. The two-storey space is also home to a collection of Chinese modern and twentieth-century brush and ink paintings—a nod to local heritage.
Duddell’s, 3/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central | (+852) 2525 9191
FAM—standing for “Food, Art, and Music”—features a light-art installation and street art pieces from international and local artists. The colour scheme is a study of saturated primaries, and the loudness of the art seemingly transports the beholder into a version of Takashi Murakami’s world. Let your attention be diverted to the gigantic sculpture of a metallic balloon, fashioned into the shape of the number one with a tilted crown—the work of Swedish graffiti artist Daniel Fahlströms, alias Huge. You can also see his two-dimensional works on the walls, though the subjects are uncannily three-dimensional. Hong Kong performance artist Frog King’s sculpture stands next to the bar area, a writhing mess of Chinese characters inked onto a misshapen monolith.
FAM, Shop GF01–03, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, 18 Museum Drive, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2866 3667
The industrial and bucolic space of Cobo House plays host to a number of artworks, juxtaposed with the mottled grey walls and sparse tables. Enjoy tasting menus featuring a different hero ingredient every six weeks while admiring pieces by Stefan Nikolaev, Zhang Enli, Matthew Day Jackson, Fred Eversley, and many more contemporary artists. Follow the delicate contour lines of Zhang Enli’s Line screen prints as Stefan Nikolaev’s gold-plated ATM machine glisten quietly nearby. Fred Eversley’s parabolic lens sculpture ringed with dark red, through which the scene of the harbour can be viewed in minute form.
Cobo House, Shop 602, 6/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2656 3088
The restaurant’s namesake cockatoo shares more than just its name with Popinjays—their sociable spirit is embodied in the gold-accented space as well. Talking points include the wrap-around terrace with views of the majestic skyscrapers in the area, sophisticated design details like marble tabletops and cool grey carpeting, and works by Kaws, the American artist and designer. Known for his pop culture collaborations, the neon iterations you can find on Popinjays’s walls offer a bright pop of colour and dose of cool.
Popinjays, The Murray, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central | (+852) 3141 8888
Comprised of six distinct spaces, each with a unique design and concept, Madame Fù invites diners into an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque maze of plush upholstery, leafy ferns, plump pillows, and psychedelic paintings. Find Chinese contemporary art in the Grand Café, the humanistic works of Luis Chan in The Artist room, and colourful lamps created out of Hermès scarves as well as an arresting mural of a woman in a bamboo hat and colourful robes on the veranda area. Situated in the historic Tai Kwun complex, Madame Fù captures the colonial grandeur of old Hong Kong while giving the space a modern twist. The original brickwork is kept intact, lending a vintage feel to your dining experience wherever you choose to sit.
Madame Fù, 3/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2114 2118
The whole restaurant is a mishmash of kitsch and iconic Hong Kong elements, as a foil to the contemporary Cantonese menu. A half-wall of mahjong tiles buttresses the glass panels of the open kitchen on the ground level, while a gleaming wall of waving maneki-neko (招き猫; beckoning cat), mesmerising in their uniformity and sheen welcome you down into the basement space, past a peacock in full plumage overhead.
The restaurant is dominated by shades of black and red—sleek black seating and tables contrasted with the bright red napkin fans, reminiscent of the sails of Aqua Luna. A perforated wall of negative space calligraphy covers the bar, inspired by local graffiti artist, King of Kowloon. The lively scenes of the nearby Gage Street market are immortalised, anime-style, in lightboxes on the walls by local artist Jonathan Jay Lee.
Ho Lee Fook, 1–5 Elgin Street, Central | (+852) 2810 0860
Inspired by earthy sand dunes in the Middle Eastern deserts, this restaurant predominantly takes on sandy earth tones and an abundance of light wooden shades. Interior designer Sean Dix borrows elements from Middle Eastern cultures, such as the oil lamp and artistic patterns from the region’s artworks, and transforms them into patterns that embellish the space through marble floor tiles and coarse, gritty textured walls. Hong Kong artist Wong Ting-fong’s abstract paintings each represent a different part of the founder’s family origins—Egypt, Israel, and Palestine. Arabic and Chinese characters are used in the works, to signify a melding of cultures.
Acme, 59 Elgin Street, Central | (+852) 2885 6066
Inspired by the golden era of hip hop, from LA to the Bronx in NYC, TMK Rap & Rolls is full of vintage knick-knacks and design flourishes that reference an iconic period in music history. A wall of vintage boomboxes clutters one side of the restaurant, flanked by custom illustrations on the walls depicting hip-hop legends such as Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J.
The sushi counter is lined with vintage and custom cassette tapes, another nostalgic nod to the music scene of the early 1980s. The exterior walls of the restaurant feature a mural installation by Elsa Jean De Dieu Studio—the lyrics of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” are scrawled across the facade, plus portraits of Biggie Smalls himself and hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa.
TMK Rap & Rolls, Shop A, Moonful Court, 17 Moon Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2779 9002