Header images courtesy of Ministry of Mussels
From lesser-known Alsatian cuisine and authentic Japanese donburi to British-Chinese fare, we travel around the world with the most exciting new restaurants, menus, and culinary pop-ups in Hong Kong this August.
Who’s excited for Halloween? Get into the festivities early with Yokai, a brand-new themed restaurant in Central featuring the illustrations of Japan’s supernatural folk creatures by renowned Japanese mangaka Shigeru Mizuki. Based on the spirits from his celebrated Yokai Picture Book, the restaurant is dressed in gold and black interiors with a ceiling of traditional Japanese red lanterns that almost seem like they are floating above your heads—eerie!
As ghostly as the surroundings might look, the food served is as real as can be, with a focus on yakitori and Michelin-grade bluefin tuna. Helmed by veteran chef Okuma Hirofumi, the menu specialities include cuts from different breeds of chicken from both Hong Kong and Japan, such as the heart ($38), liver ($42), tender ($40), tail ($38), and gizzard ($38). For a splurge-worthy choice, consider the five kinds of Yamayuki tuna sashimi donburi ($468) for the perfect fat ratio and exquisite mouthfeel, paired with curated premium sake.
Yokai, 23/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2368 8331
From the minds of acclaimed chef Shane Osborn and Arcane veteran Michael Smith comes Moxie, the third establishment flying under the flag of The Arcane Collective, one of Hong Kong’s latest hospitality groups. Making its debut in Alexandra House at Landmark in early August, Moxie will propel conscious dining to the forefront in an all-day format that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Driven by an uncomplicated approach of social responsibility and putting ethical ingredients first, chefs Shane Osborn and Michael Smith will present a multi-cultural spread of healthier dishes, a vegetable- and seafood-focused menu, and sustainable options for Hong Kong diners.
Moxie, Shop 203, 2/F, Alexandra House, Landmark, 18 Chater Road, Central
From the hospitality group behind omakase restaurant Sushi Yonjugo, the exclusive Tellus Lounge, and nightclub C45 comes Ministry of Mussels, a “playground for people who love to eat, drink, and cheer on their favourite sports teams”—just in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Part sports bar, part all-occasions restaurant, the new opening sits within the prime high-rise of California Tower, an elevated location that belies the concept’s down-to-earth nature.
Perfect for family get-togethers, lively dinners with friends, happy hours, and casual lunches, Ministry of Mussels fits the bill for a range of dining and drinking experiences, but especially ones where major sports events are the centre of attention. Matches are live-streamed across a 4,000-square-foot space featuring almost a dozen HD 4K television screens, so you can join in on the excitement no matter where you choose to sit. But the entertainment does not stop there—treat yourself to a post-dinner game of beer pong on high-tech tables for the best way to end the night.
Our favourites from executive chef Dee Kwok’s comforting American bistro menu include the crispy coconut prawns ($128); the chicharron ($98) of deep-fried pork skin with BBQ pulled pork, sour cream, and chives; and the flavourful Singaporean chilli crab mussels ($318) made with belacan, chillies, lemongrass, ketchup, shallot, and garlic, served with perfectly deep-fried mantou to soak up the broth. Other highlights from the “Around the World Mussels” menu include the toothsome lobster bisque mussels ($318), the Italian formaggi mussels ($318) with melted blue cheese, and the Singapore laksa mussels ($318).
Ministry of Mussels, 3/F, California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong, Central | (+852) 2838 4588
From foodie heaven Hokkaido comes Butahage, a famous butadon restaurant specialising in authentic Japanese pork donburi. Not the first donburi opening this summer—and not the last, we hope—Butahage’s main draw lies in its simple formula: the hero ingredient of Kamikomi pork, Hitomebore rice from the Miyagi Prefecture, and a secret sauce recipe that has been passed down through the generations for over 80 years.
Although Butahage has only been around since 1996—getting its start as a quaint hole-in-the-wall outlet at JR Obihiro Station—the brand draws on its Hokkaido origins to showcase culinary roots that reach as far back as the Shōwa period of the early twentieth century. Not to be missed is the award-winning Obihiro Meibutsu premium rare pork loin don ($92) and the Japanese premium rare pork belly don ($88).
Butahage, Shop G54A2, Phase 1, Telford Plaza, 33 Wai Yip Street, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 2717 0988
Hong Kong hospitality group Leading Nation is on fire this summer, opening restaurant after restaurant hot on the heels of one another. Following Margo and Kyle & Bain, discerning diners can now look forward to Sushi Mamoru, led by experienced chef Hirofumi Chiba. Instructed in the long-established art of Edomae sushi-making through his family, the third-generation master brings over 20 years of experience to the counter in a bid to “preserve and safeguard centuries-old sushi traditions.”
From the laboursome preparation of aged, hand-blended Hokkaido rice to the use of famed wasabi imported directly from farmer Keiichi Tashiro in Shizuoka, the attention to detail at Sushi Mamoru is staggering. Expect a 20-dish seasonal omakase experience that is second to none, proudly curated by Chef Chiba to highlight the subtle flavours and textures of prized ingredients, such as sustainable, line-caught fish and local vegetables from Leading Nation-owned farms in New Territories.
Sushi Mamoru, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2133 5700
What is Alsatian cuisine? Let Bretzel, the “little brother” to Parisian bistro Bouillon, show you the ways. Helmed by chefs Johan Ducroquet and Gregory Alexandre, the neighbourhood diner introduces authentic, lesser-known gastronomy from the historical Alsace region, paired with boutique labels from family wineries.
Expect starters of foie gras terrine marinated in Gewürztraminer and platters of Alsatian charcuterie and artisanal cheese, as well as mains of tartes flambée—the restaurant’s speciality—as the concise menu at Bretzel highlights multiple iterations of the famously thin “flatbread” tart. La Foret Noire, with caramelised onions, Emmental cheese, arugula, and slices of Black Forest ham, and La Savoyarde, with bacon, potatoes, caramelised onions, and Reblochon cheese, are our go-to orders.
Bretzel, 22 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2886 8076
Well, the name really says it all. At Carbs, expect to dig into moreish iterations of the blessedly delicious macronutrient that is found in good stuff like sugars and starches. Specialising in Detroit-style deep-dish pizzas, Carbs delivers all the components of a decadent cheat meal, in addition to treats like mac and cheese, pasta, milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and tiramisu cups that will make your taste buds burst with joy.
Carbs, Unit 3, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central | (+852) 2886 2801
For the British-born Chinese amongst us who are aching for a taste of home, you might be pleased to know that 1908BC has heard your woes and brought the likes of chicken balls, deep-fried shredded duck, and lemon chicken to Hong Kong. Proprietor Suzanna Ho presents the concept as bringing British-Chinese cuisine “back home to Hong Kong,” naming the establishment after the year that the first Chinese restaurant opened in the UK.
Diners unfamiliar with British-Chinese food might be startled by the menu and the loose resemblance the items bear to local dishes, but for homesick Britons (and possibly North Americans from across the pond), the crispy egg rolls ($90), butterfly prawn toast ($120), and barbecued honey pork ribs ($110) will strike a nostalgic chord.
1908BC even offers a “chip shop” curry based on the British-Chinese takeaway staple of thick-cut chips with a curried dipping sauce, served with half portions of rice and chips and toppings like prawns ($250) and chicken ($180). Just don’t expect to eat out of oyster pails here; the teal- and neutral-driven décor is sophisticated and challenges the cuisine’s humble origins, and the creative beverage programme—with notable cocktails such as the pu’er Old Fashioned ($95) and The Far East ($95) with vodka, plum wine, and Prosecco—is endlessly intriguing.
1908BC, The Pemberton, 22–26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2116 4668
Gaia Group throws its contender for new izakaya openings into the ring with Nami, a contemporary and casual rendition of the much-loved Japanese cuisine that’s experiencing a surge of interest in Hong Kong of late. Focusing on a seafood-forward à la carte menu, Nami presents izakaya favourites done up in a modern way with premium ingredients and Japanese traditions as the backbone of the dishes.
Soak up the Edo period-inspired interiors of dark wood and red accents and indulge in chef-recommended dishes like the Wagyu & maitake mushroom rolls ($168), the seared minced toro aburi sushi ($128), the chicken meatball skewer with Japanese egg yolk ($58), and more from the exhaustive bill of fare.
Nami, 1/F, Midtown, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2383 4038