Is that cool breeze we’re feeling after weeks of relentless rain, oppressing humidity, and soggy shoes? As Hong Kong takes baby steps towards what can only marginally be called autumn, we take our taste buds on the prowl for the latest and greatest that the city’s culinary scene has to offer. Celebrate the start of a new season (and the relaxing of social distancing measures and dine-in restrictions) with the most exciting new restaurants and pop-ups to be found in Hong Kong this October.
One of our favourite fried chicken places is making a comeback—and it’s done some growing up in the hibernation process! Little Birdy performs a return in the form of Big Birdy, relocating from its former Sheung Wan haunts to the indelible food avenue of High Street in Sai Ying Pun. From their epic Heisenberger—upgradable to a triple stack!—to cluckin’ good chicken & waffles, Big Birdy is presenting some of our Little Birdy favourites alongside a new menu, featuring delights like the flame-grilled peri-peri birdies and superfood sides so you can indulge in guiltless noshing. For those who simply cannot wait, Big Birdy is finally hatching and welcoming hungry patrons into its brand-new best starting from Monday, 12 October—we’ll see you there!
Big Birdy, Shop 11, 48–78 High Street, Sai Ying Pun
Lantau Island residents are in for a treat this season! America’s favourite cinnamon rolls are making a beeline for Citygate in Tung Chung, Hong Kong’s largest outlet shopping experience, so you can shop ’til you drop and reward yourself with cinnamon rolls, coffee, and frozen drinks for a sweet, sweet refuel. Made with trademarked Makara cinnamon from West Sumatra and topped with smooth frosting, Cinnabon’s signature classic Cinnabon ($38) propelled the brand to legendary status, and their delectable iced beverages—including the cinnamon roll cold-brew (starting from $43)—only help to round out the sweet experience. With the opening of its second Hong Kong location, Cinnabon is also introducing a new menu of savoury dishes and drinks, as well as flavours exclusive to the new shop! No official opening date and hours have been announced yet for the Tung Ching outlet, but we can anticipate a soft-opening around the end of October.
Cinnabon, Unit 298, Citygate, 20 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung
From the hospitality group that brought you Catch, Mama Malouf, and Elementary—all solid restaurant concepts in our books—comes a brand-new younger sibling called Chickpea. Highlighting the best of casual Lebanese dining, Chickpea is a quaint deli with one singular focus: slinging out freshly-made hummus bowls and pita pockets for convenient grab-and-go meals! Slated to launch this October, we are waiting with bated breath on details of its opening times. Check back for more updates!
Chickpea, Shop 3, Union Commercial Building, 12–16 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Perfect for the (slightly) chillier weather that we are hotly anticipating this month, JIA Group presents an electrifying concept that highlights the best of Southeast Asian flavours in all its spicy, herbal, and tangy glory. Open for lunch and dinner, Bibi & Baba specialises in Nyonya cuisine (also known as Peranakan cuisine) and its famed comfort dishes, blending Chinese ingredients with spices and cooking techniques popularised by Malaysian and Indonesian communities. Under the guidance of the culinary masterminds behind PasirPanjangBoy, a pink-haired private kitchen duo hailing from Singapore, Bibi & Baba’s menu is stacked and attractive from top to bottom—so you’ll want to bring a good crew with you so you can try everything. Don’t miss out on obvious contenders like the beef rendang ($138), prawn crackers ($38), laksa ($102), Penang prawn mee ($102), prawn sambal petai ($148) with bitter sato beans, chendol ($58), Milo dinosaur ($88), and so much more. Come hungry!
Bibi & Baba, 1–7 Ship Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2555 0628
While travel restrictions reign, the fair Pacific isle of Japan remains on Hongkongers’ minds, and hot on the heels of Crown Super Deluxe—Black Sheep Restaurants’ lavish teppanyaki affair—comes a brand-new sushi concept. Sushi Haru is the culmination of a long-time friendship between the restaurant group’s founders and their favourite sushi shokunin, Motoharu Inazuka. Providing a space for Chef Inazuka to showcase the fruits of his strong and lasting relationships with suppliers, Sushi Haru serves an omakase menu ($1,500) that highlights the small-batch producers and seafood merchants of Japan, as well as the unique flavours of sushi where the fish is marinated rather than served fresh.
Expect nothing but the finest Edomae-style sushi here in the most intimate of settings, and be sure to book early—Sushi Haru offers just eight counter seats for an exclusive dining experience to remember. Why such a small number of seats, you ask? Because that’s exactly how many can fit at the 250-year-old natural hinoki wood bar, a Japanese cypress that is used to construct shrines and other sacred spaces in Japan, and can only be acquired through trusted referrals.
Sushi Haru, Mezzanine, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2111 1450
With skiing season in Niseko looking more and more unlikely for Hongkongers as the year goes on, there’s a longing in our hearts for the unparalleled holiday feeling that only a mountain of cold and snow can bring. While the pure exhilaration of zooming down a hill might be out of reach, the post-adrenaline rush relaxation is well within grasp at Lounge Hakuba.
Named after the famed mountaineering base in Japan, this luxe drinking hole evokes memories of winter sports lodgings and cosy atmospheres. Step outside into their alfresco space for a camping-inspired set-up, perfect for kicking back in a hammock and indulging in a range of Japanese cocktails, such as the coffee-based Breakfast in the Alps ($118) and citrus-centric End of Autumn ($108), and feasting on delicious snacks like fried dumplings ($58) and popcorn chicken ($68). Personalised shisha service is also available!
Lounge Hakuba, Unit 302, Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2111 1707
Make the most of Hong Kong’s concrete jungle vibe with a visit to newly-opened Glasshouse Greenery, an urban dining experience that doubles as a tropical getaway. Combining a plant-filled garden terrace, brightly lit interiors, and a vibrant colour palette with comforting and modern Asian cuisines elevated with a Western twist, Glasshouse Greenery is a lush alfresco oasis that’s perfect for soaking up the summer sun and all sorts of chill vibes.
Of course, there’s something for everyone on the extensive menu of 20-plus pages, and enough choices to placate even the pickiest of eaters. Don’t miss the satay skewers (starting from $58) in an authentic peanut sauce, the signature Greenery salad ($158) with burrata, stir-fried Malaysian-style flat rice noodles ($138), BBQ pork rib ($268) in a homemade kimchi barbecue sauce, and an indulgent vanilla soufflé ($118). Wrap up with one of Glasshouse Greenery’s house signature teas (all $58) for a flawless finish!
Glasshouse Greenery, Shop 501, 5/F, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2152 1518
Prepare yourselves for exquisite Italian dining with the most glorious views in all of Hong Kong! Michelin-starred chef Enrico Bartolini is opening his second restaurant in Hong Kong in October, bringing the best of Italian haute cuisine to the Peak Galleria for a lofty dining experience. After opening SPIGA in 2016, FIAMMA will see Chef Bartolini flexing his culinary muscles across a menu of wholesome comfort food, served in an ambience that’s reminiscent of Italian family kitchens.
Whether you take to the main dining room and spacious alfresco seating area, the menu of Mediterranean seasonal dishes will speak to taste buds of all persuasions, promising family-style Italian cuisine that is ideal for sharing and produced in-house. Expect fresh pasta selections, homebaked delicacies, and comprehensive Mediterranean-inspired cocktails and wine lists that you can enjoy on the outdoor patio or in coastal-inspired, blue-washed interiors of timber and oak.
Combine the elegance of Italian opera with the pure flavours of artisanal produce and you’ll end up with something that might look a lot like Aria. Perched high atop California Tower, with sweeping views of the city as the palatable sides to your modern Italian feast, Aria is the brainchild of executive chef Andrea Zamboni, who draws on his Michelin-starred background to leads diners on a flavourful symphony. And the celebrated chef keeps himself busy as well; although Aria has been open only for a few short months, Chef Andrea is already thinking of the next thing, and so diners are treated to a slew of new additions to the à la carte menu.
Shining a spotlight on seasonal ingredients both from local producers and overseas, the refreshed menu keeps crowd favourites like the tagliatelle with Zarda sauce and blue lobster and bagna-cauda fondue and Italian milk-fed veal cutlet prepared in a Milanese style and also introduces bold creations that pay tribute to Chef Andrea’s accumulated experiences. Under the moniker of Italian XLB, his take on the Chinese xiaolongbao combines the flavours and colours of beetroot and squid ink in the wrappers, whilst the ravioli is stuffed with French turbot tartare and a citrusy medley and paired with French crawfish for added sweetness. Other notable additions include the Tribute to Life, a three-egg starter with potato mousseline and Baeri caviar topped with Alba white truffle. Pro tip: Don’t miss the pizza al tartufo with porcini mushroom & black truffle and the prosciutto di Parma pizza—they are incredibly moreish.
Aria, 24/F, California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong, Central | (+852) 2804 1116
Aching for the flavours of Japan? While our travel plans to the Land of the Rising Sun are on hold, that doesn’t mean you have to deprive your taste buds. Honjo, Pirata Group’s modern Japanese restaurant, is taking its guests on an odyssey to Japan this season with a progressive tasting menu. Combining the classic Japanese precision with best-of-the-best ingredients and elegant presentation, The Dreamer ($680 per person) highlights a culinary journey through Japan’s bountiful land and sea.
From starters of edamame, chicken wings in Okinawa black sugar, and hamachi to a kani salad of king and snow crabs, the menu starts off strong, followed by East meets West, a heritage tartare with a confit yolk. Mellowing out with softer flavours with the chef’s selection of sushi & sashimi, bolder flavours then come back into play with the zucchini flower tempura and Australian striploin BMS 7. Finish off with a lemongrass granita with basil cream and apple crumble and the refreshing North to South—a symbolic finale of Hokkaido milk chips, genmaicha, white chocolate, and satsuma mandarin.
Honjo, 1/F, 77–91 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2663 3772
Raise your hands: Who’s ready for casual Peking duck that won’t break the bank? After a wonderful stint at Taste Kitchen late last year, What Da Duck is now returning for another dine-in pop-up, this time at The Code in Central. Celebrating the best of crispy Peking duck, diners can look forward to tucking into either quarter, half, or full portions of the signature aromatic crispy shredded duck (starting from $108), served with paper-thin pancakes, cucumber, and leek, and a choice of homemade sauces, ranging from hoisin, sweet chilli, Peking fruit, and plum.
Your favourite snacks will be making a reappearance as well, from crab claws ($58) and prawn on toast ($68) to lotus chips ($58) and fried wonton ($58). To commemorate their new dine-in services, new items on the menu include duck salad, duck poutine, duck steamed rice rolls, duck baos, duck cheese spring rolls, and Scotch quail eggs! There’s really no excuse not to go if you’re a duck lover.
What Da Duck, The Code, 17/F, L Place Building, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Take the sultry ambience of a speakeasy and marry it with time-honoured Chinese cuisine and you’ll get something that looks a lot like 888 Fatfatfat. Showcasing the rich diversity of cuisines across the breadth of China’s many regions, this two-month sensation at Exchange Square merges auspicious traditions—such as the number eight and the Chinese term fat choi (發財; “good fortune”)—with the modern concept of dining pop-ups, and will run from 15 October until 5 December.
Don’t expect a conventional pop-up, either; to enter 888 Fatfatfat, you must first seek out a lady dressed in white, who will lead you into the concealed white-and-gold restaurant. Filled with multi-sensory modules to keep you entertained, order your drinks through the simple touch of a button or bond with your fellow diners over food-related Chinese idioms. Spearheaded by chef Wong Hon Keung, the pan-Chinese menu welcomed consulting from Grassroots Pantry’s chef Peggy Chan on plant-based dishes to create an inclusive dining atmosphere.
Highlights of the menu include sour & spicy pickles ($88), the double-boiled elixir of youth ($88), Peking duck wraps ($238), Xinjiang “lamb” skewers ($188), and Chinese custard “churros” with a condensed milk dip ($88). For the full monty, try the curated 888 experience ($888 per person) that includes a complimentary baijiu tasting flight or two cocktails. There’s also a 888 noodle bar menu (starting from $138) that’s available for lunch.
888 Fatfatfat, Shop 402, 4/F, Exchange Square Podium, Central
The Upper House has launched an artisanal cheese and wine pop-by that will take happy hours and apéro to the next level. Take your taste buds for a jaunt to C’est Cheese for the ultimate cheeseboard (starting from $275), to be enjoyed while lounging in the lush surroundings of The Lawn after a long day at work or as a savoury appetiser to the upcoming weekend.
A rotating cheese menu spotlights eclectic varieties from France, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, all complemented by a wine list that has award-winning chef sommelier Leo Au’s seal of approval. Highlights include the Vacherin Fribougeois, an aged Swiss cheese with a robust and creamy nuttiness that goes best with the sparkling notes of a sake. Noteworthy also is the Italian taleggio from the Bergamo region, a ripe cheese that is aged for 100 days for a soft, pudding-like consistency and an intense aroma. Swing by from 5 pm to 7 pm for 50 percent off on selected bottles of wine!
C’est Cheese pop-by, Level 6, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty | (+852) 3968 1106
From now until 15 October, savour the taste of summer at Le Dessert’s pop-up at Landmark! This boutique French pastry bar will be serving their freshly-made signature pavlovas and jar desserts for a limited time only, with a highlight on their seasonal creation, the summer pavlova ($55), which combines Le Dessert’s renowned meringue with exquisite vanilla Chantilly cream, fresh peaches and raspberries, slivered almonds, and a peach and lime coulis.
Of course, Le Dessert’s perennial favourites are available at the pop-up as well, so you can sink your teeth into convenient jar desserts that can be consumed on the go—try the lemon tart ($45) and the French sundae ($45)—and gluten-free pavlovas in three different flavours. Our favourite’s the Louis ($50) with Valrhona chocolate, fresh mangoes, and a passionfruit coulis. If you simply cannot get enough of pavlovas, just order one of Le Dessert’s DIY pavlova kits ($550) online to recreate this gorgeous Australian and New Zealand sweet treat at home!
Le Dessert pop-up, Shop 350, Level 3, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central