Header image courtesy of Musubi Hiro
Originally published by Inés Fung. Last updated by Annette Chan.
What in the world are single-item restaurants? Well, simply put, they are restaurants with menus designed around one single ingredient. While they may seem like a new gimmick in the dining scene, these speciality restaurants have actually been kicking around for ages in the form of ice cream parlours and pizzerias.
In the age of oversaturation, restaurants that offer limited or no options at all are growing increasingly popular in Hong Kong. We’ve rounded up the best speciality restaurants in the city that have a narrowly-focused menu for when you’re craving just that one thing.
Those who have been to Hawaii (or know their way around the menu at Pololi) will likely be aware of spam musubi, the hand-held snack comprising seared luncheon meat atop a small patty of sushi rice and wrapped with a belt of roasted seaweed.
At Musubi Hiro, the musubi is the hero item, with 10 versions of the Hawaiian snack ranging from the classic ($68) to creative takes like the Quack duck musubi ($118) and OMG sea urchin musubi ($288). Go all-in with the super mega musubi ($108), a super-sized musubi seasoned with a creamy, spicy sauce and deep-fried in a crispy batter, or get a taste of luxury with the Wagyu & truffle musubi ($158).
Musubi Hiro, 37 Cochrane Street, Central | (+852) 5597 6911
Crazy about crab? Kanidou Noda is a sleek and elegant Japanese restaurant specialising in the crustacean, specifically those from Hokkaido. Though you can get non-crab dishes like the Kagoshima eel rice set ($380), the main attraction here is the Kanidou omakase (starting from $1,600), which you can enjoy from underneath the giant golden crab hanging above the chef’s counter. Highlights include grilled crab legs, lobster tempura, crab shabu-shabu, and a crab fried rice topped with a mound of sea urchin, which the staff reveals by lifting layers of increasingly small crab shells.
Kanidou Noda, Shop G1, Baskerville House, 22 Ice House Street, Central | (+852) 28130380
Yet another Japanese crab-centred eatery is Kani Kei, a subterranean crab den just a few paces away from the famous Sogo crossing. Down the stairs, you’ll find a casual atmosphere and hamayaki (浜焼; fisherman-style seafood barbecue) style of preparation that brings to mind the no-frills crab shacks in downtown Osaka.
Happily, the sets are relatively wallet-friendly considering the price that crab usually commands, with an elaborate nine-course crab set meal coming in at $888 per person. Tuck into assorted appetisers and sashimi before getting to the crab chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し; steamed egg custard), steamed hairy crab, hamayaki crab legs, and other delights. If you’re partial to a glass of sake or two, you’ll be pleased to hear that Kani Kei is one of the few spots around town where we’ve seen a sake vending machine.
Kani Kei, B/F, Macau Yat Yuen Centre, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2602 1600
Like Wingman, this local chicken wing shop does exactly what it says on the tin—serve up mountains and mountains of chicken wings. Besides the original crispy wings, there are a host of other flavours, ranging from obvious hits like garlic and chilli, black truffle and garlic, miso, and salted egg yolk to inexplicably popular but eccentric-sounding rose, lemon tea, and yoghurt and cream cheese chicken wings, with one explosive seasonal option being the South African-style spicy wings with popping candy. Pricing starts at $38 for four wings and increases in increments, with the largest package being a 120-wing package.
Artisan De La Truffe is the ultimate love story to the aromatic gourmet tuber. Hailing from Paris, Hong Kong is its only Asian outpost, but the classic and straightforward menu remains the same. Everything—and we mean everything—on the menu contains truffle that’s sourced year-round to ensure freshness, from starters to desserts and drinks.
Go for the lunch tasting menu (starting from $258) or dinner tasting menu (starting from $888), both of which feature luxurious dishes like lobster bisque and Australian Wagyu sirloin cooked with truffle. You can even get a truffle gift set to take home after your meal overlooking the gorgeous Hong Kong skyline to really make the meal memorable.
Artisan De La Truffe, Shop OTE303, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2885 2030
If you have no plans to ever own property, why not spend all your money on avocado toast at Avobar? This trendy avocado restaurant originally based in London opened in K11 Musea to great fanfare and it’s brought an energetic new twist to the current superfood trend.
As reflected in the name, Avobar offers a clean, all-day avocado-centric menu full of favourites like tacos and avo toast. There are dishes for both herbivores and carnivores—provided you love avocados in every form imaginable—all of which are made from ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients.
The menu is a near-carbon copy of the menu in its original Covent Garden, but there are some Hong Kong exclusives, such as the avo bun lobster ($198), a burger made up of halved avos as the bun and succulent lobster chunks as the patty. If you fancy a drink, the menu features milkshakes like vanilla ($80) and cacao ($80) with a—you guessed it—avocado twist!
Avobar, Shop B201–4, B2/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
La Vache! only offers one dish, and you best believe they do it well. This lively Parisian brasserie serves up a mean steak frites: succulently marbled USDA Prime trimmed entrecôte steak ($368) with unlimited thin-cut fries, a green salad with walnuts, and generous amounts of a secret recipe sauce. It’s a simple formula for success, and even after half a decade in business, the wait for a table is still lengthy.
To make the most out of your steakhouse experience, bring a large group with you to cut out the waiting time (La Vache! accepts dinner reservations for parties of five or more), and the sharing platters piled high with juicy cuts of steak and free-flow fries will ensure that everyone gets their fix, but still has room for their ridiculously indulgent dessert cart. The vibes here are always upbeat and welcoming, but for a real party, plan your visit for their Disco Brunch which serves the standard menu but with free-flow drinks and loud disco beats.
Don’t feel like making the pilgrimage to Kobe for real Wagyu beef? Famed top-notch Japanese wagyu beef purveyor Wagyumafia opened its first overseas venture in a sleepy corner of Wan Chai and it has taken the local Instagram gourmand scene by storm. The secretive restaurant offers a tasting menu of seasonal small plates that showcase rich top-grade Kobe beef, presented on the intimate chef’s counter as your dinner is prepared for you via live cooking and butchering demonstrations.
You don’t need to be a member to book in for dinner, but the members-only menu does offer more dishes with a focus on local flavours. It may not be the cheapest option, but we promise the serving of their world’s most expensive wagyu cutlet sandwich (the decadent chateaubriand katsu sando) already makes it all worth it. For a more casual option, their tsukemen shop Mashi no Mashi is at the same location, and serves up hearty bowls of wagyu tsukemen for a small fraction of the price of the tasting menu.
Wagyumafia, Shop 1B, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2608 0677
Wingman is Hong Kong’s answer to Buffalo Wild Wings, and with a name like that, you know your wing cravings will be satisfied. Following the runaway success of their pop-up at PMQ Taste Kitchen, Wingman now has their own physical location. The fun-loving team at Wingman keeps it simple with 19 chicken wing flavours, from a classic buffalo to specialities like espresso BBQ dry rub, hoisin-glazed and salted egg yolk.
Wing deals happen frequently: Wednesdays are $5 wing nights, there’s a free-flow wing package from Thursdays to Tuesdays, and you can have your fill of wings and other dishes (like wraps and snacks) with their daily two-hour all-you-can-eat deals.