Header image courtesy of The Sixteenth
From modern Chinese vegetarian food and a Spanish tapas bar to a Japanese mazesoba chain, we travel around the world with the most exciting new restaurants, menus, and culinary pop-ups in Hong Kong this November.
Say ciao to Little Napoli, the newest pizzeria serving the Happy Valley neighbourhood. Chef Gavino Pilo presents delights from his native Naples in the form of handmade pizzas, panuozzo (sandwiches made with pizza dough), and ripieno fritto (stuffed pizzas). Served up as convenient grab-and-go fare, the goods are baked in a custom-built brick oven imported from Italy, resulting in perfect pies with a charred crust and gooey centre.
Aside from the ever-popular Margherita ($158) and the chilli-sprinkled Diavola ($178), Little Napoli presents specialities like the volcano-inspired Vesuviana ($220) with Italian fennel sausage, turnip greens, two cheeses, and chilli flakes. Sandwiches like the roast pork & bell pepper panuozzo ($218) with porchetta and smoked mozzarella are not to be missed, and the cicoli ham & ricotta ripieno fritto ($198) is a piping-hot pocket of deliciousness.
Little Napoli, 8 King Kwong Street, Happy Valley | (+852) 6882 1823
OBH presents its latest izakaya concept, Torihachi, in the rather corporate neighbourhood of Quarry Bay. Combining modern sensibilities with traditional influences, Torihachi is dressed in a sophisticated palette of slate grey and blonde wood, elevating the restaurant and its atmosphere. Come for after-work tipples with colleagues or social dinner with friends and delight in the menu of yakitori and small plates, perfect for sharing and tasting.
Highlights include the rich hanjuku tamago with pork belly ($48), the charcoal-grilled chicken skin lollipop ($35), and the tsukune Benedict ($48), a chicken meatball skewer served with a Hollandaise sauce. For a touch of fusion, tuck into the decadent sea urchin French toast ($98) and the seven-layered tuna mille-feuille ($108). Finish off the meal with a sweet and savoury monaka ice cream with foie gras ($108) made with French foie gras ice cream.
Torihachi, Shop G03, K11 Atelier, 728 King’s Road, Quarry Bay | (+852) 3563 8532
Pirata Group expands to the Eastern District with a multi-concept venue consisting of four restaurants under one roof. Dubbed The Sixteenth, this collection of eateries caters to professionals and residents in the neighbourhood.
Going back to where it all started for the ever-growing hospitality group, La Favorita dishes up Italian classics sprinkled with the dramatic flair of 1960s opera houses. Diners will love the touch of grandeur and opulence, and theatrical signatures like the lobster tagliatelle, cheese wheel al tartufo, and bistecca alla Fiorentina will no doubt prove to be crowd-favourites. Wines on the menu are of the Italian variety, of course.
Honjokko takes Pirata Group’s Honjo concept and transforms it into an even more artful and sophisticated sushi experience. Using authentic Japanese ingredients and expert techniques, the menu presents nigiri, gunkan, maki, and rolls to tantalise the taste buds, while the beverage programme highlights over 30 sakes and a thoughtful wine list to pair with the food. Opt for a seat at the counter to watch the masters in action, or one with full views of the city.
Back for its third iteration, TMK Funk & Rolls carries on the music-inspired torch for its older siblings Punk & Rolls and Rap & Rolls. Look forward to similar creative handrolls and temakis and an eclectic mix of nori bowls, sushi, and sashimi to go along with sake, umeshu, highballs, and draught beer.
Last but not least, Tempo Tempo makes use of the restaurant venue’s expansive outdoor terrace to create a space that’s perfect for hanging out any time of the year. Lined with lemon trees that give off a perpetual Mediterranean summer vibe, guests can look forward to a wide range of bevvies, such as champagne cocktails, martinis, Aperol spritzes, and more, alongside flavourful Italian bites like cold cuts, sliders, crostini, and pizzette.
The Sixteenth, 2/F, Oxford House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay
Michelin-starred sushi master Hisayoshi Iwa and his protégé Tsukasa Kaneko are bringing the quality and finesse of award-winning Ginza Iwa to Hong Kong with the opening of Sushi Hisayoshi. Highlighting the most premium selection of seafood available from Japanese waters, the upscale sushi restaurant presents four different omakase menus to choose from, each showcasing the expert techniques honed by its celebrated chefs.
Fish is sourced from seasoned suppliers on a daily basis to guarantee the best quality. Its interior design is no slouch, either; Sushi Hisayoshi commissioned Junzo Irikado, whose portfolio includes Sushi Saito and Shinji by Kanesaka, to design a clean 30-seater restaurant with a wrap-around counter of the ancient hinoki cypress.
Omakase menus include the 15-course Setsugekka ($780) and 19-course Kazabana ($1,180) for lunch, and the 19-course Oboro ($1,780) and 23-course Sumeragi ($2,180) for dinner. Of these delicacies, the signature of Sushi Hisayoshi is the fermented otoro, dry-aged in-house using time-honoured Japanese preservation techniques from before the invention of refrigeration. Sitting in a custom-built maturation cabinet for two weeks, the tuna belly undergoes a transformation to develop a stronger umami note, before finally being seared over charcoal for melt-in-your-mouth texture and taste-bud-hugging flavour. Other notable courses include the dreamily tender soft-braised octopus, red sea bream in marinated egg yolk vinegar, marinated scabbardfish, corn tofu, braised conger eel, and the rather unusual monkfish liver, prepared two ways with red wine and bonito broth.
Sushi Hisayoshi, Shop G111, G/F, Gateway Arcade, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2383 3366
Spread across two floors and 5,300 square feet in the heart of Causeway Bay, Kacho Fugetsu is a veritable dining playground and cocktail heaven, presented in a spectacular and opulent fashion for those who like a touch of drama with their food and drinks. Leaning on the wabi-sabi (侘寂) concept of imperfect aesthetics, the glamorous “urban izakaya” is dressed in striking black and white, with statement light fixtures and an exciting open kitchen.
From the fresh seafood counter to the menu of speciality kushiyaki, kamameshi, and more, must-tries include the Matsuba crab roll with sea urchin topped with caviar; the tuna trio of prime fatty tuna, seaweed-wrapped fatty tuna, and leek tempura grilled tuna jaw; and the Japanese pot rice with foie gras and eel. One-of-a-kind omakase menus can be requested from the chefs in the private room for up to eight guests.
After dinner, continue the fun through a mysterious corridor that leads you to a dark speakeasy, where plush furniture and subdued colours welcome intrepid guests to drink the night away under star-like decorative lights. Whet your whistle on custom cocktails and a curated sake and whisky list of over 30 labels.
Kacho Fugetsu, 23/F & 25/F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2872 8968
Fish for your food (metaphorically) at Gassan, a theatrical new Japanese restaurant replete with a traditional yakatabune (屋形船; Japanese houseboat) as the eye-catching centrepiece. In this dramatic “fishing village,” diners can indulge in a meal of kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理; a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) centred around fresh catches and seasonal produce. Named after the highest of the three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan, Gassan brings the immaculate culinary techniques of Japan to Hong Kong courtesy of executive chef Wong Kwun-wa, who opened Hiyama in Harbour City, and head chef Hoso Hidekatsu, a veteran of kyo-ryōri (Kyoto cuisine).
Opt between two different omakase menus (starting from $888) or sample the Gassan experience with the more affordable lunch set ($268) and à la carte menu. Larger groups can take advantage of the grand private dining chamber for up to 14 guests, while those who seek an intimate affair can book a seat in the omakase washitsu (和室; Japanese-style room), which accommodates for six diners at a classic hinoki counter with a dedicated chef to prepare the meal. Allow Gassan’s sommelier to hand-select seasonal sake, whisky, and wine from the restaurant’s cellar, which houses over 350 different labels, for the perfect pairing. Rare finds include the legendary Karuizawa whisky and the award-winning Ginrei Gassan junmai daiginjo, brewed in the foothills of Mount Gassan.
Gassan, 19/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 3499 1427
With the meteoric rise of plant-based diets and an increased focus on health in recent years, it’s easy to forget that vegetarianism has long been rooted in culinary traditions around the world, especially in the East. Born from its place in history as one of the global centres of Buddhism and Taoism, Chinese vegetarian food has enjoyed a storied past, and it is this centuries-old cooking tradition that Veggie Kingdom pays homage to.
Dishing up old classics with a modern twist that’s completely its own, this new addition to the Tsim Sha Tsui dining scene is a hidden gem that offers more than meets the eye. Despite its homely and humble interiors, Veggie Kingdom serves up big flavours, putting forth not only mock meat dishes with convincing textures and tastes that are made of natural alternatives, but also dim sum delicacies that highlight the beauty of greens and “seafood.”
Notable favourites include the honey-coated barbecue “pork” ($118) and the sweet & sour wok-fried monkey head mushroom ($128), while the carrot saltwater samosas ($36) shine on the dim sum menu. Good for work lunches, convivial family get-togethers on weekends, and shared meals with friends, Veggie Kingdom brings a modern and fresh touch to Chinese vegetarian food that elevates the art form from its modest origins.
Veggie Kingdom, 7/F, VIP Commercial Centre, 120 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2366 3233
A sprawling space by Chevalier Group has opened in Tsuen Wan, featuring distinctive zones dedicated to different aspects of Japanese cuisine. Ikigai Concepts’ clean and contemporary interiors are reminiscent of a zen den, replete with two private rooms in addition to the main dining areas. Depending on your mood, you can opt for skewers from the kushiyaki grill, a pleasant omakase meal of seasonal delicacies, or teppanyaki cooked tableside.
But that’s not all—a “sake tasting lounge and bar” offers diners tastings options by the glass from more than 30 different bottles of award-winning, classic, and seasonal sake labels. Featuring an interactive vending dispensary that invites you to scan QR codes for flavour profiles and purchasing, this is a sake bar crawl in one convenient place. Try the Daimon 35 Junmai Daiginjo, which was the sake of choice served to world leaders and dignitaries at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, or the Soutenbou Takane Nishiki Junmai Daiginjo, produced by a centuries-old brewery with local Japanese rice and mountain water for a unique palate.
Ikigai Concepts, Shop 211, Nina Mall II, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2618 2812
Showmen Group, the hospitality venture behind Kinship and Smoke & Barrel, is introducing Brooklyn Yakuza, a new izakaya concept by chefs and restauranteurs Arron Rhodes and Chris Grare. Presenting an eclectic Japanese-American take on East-meets-West cuisine, Brooklyn Yakuza aims to reel in the late-night crowd with its buzzing vibes and down-to-earth flavours. While the bartenders serve up dramatic sake, shōchū, and umeshu tipples fit for rambunctious drinkers at Oyabun—the Manhattan-inspired cocktail bar located within the restaurant—the kitchen team complements the experience with a menu of bold, Western-inspired Japanese delicacies.
With a focus on seasonal ingredients, the menu is split into sections like Cold Blood, featuring mainly raw starters like the hamachi crudo ($158) with mustard teriyaki sauce; Nibblz, where diners can delight in the shishito & corn salad ($88) in miso lemon butter; Fried 911, which covers crab croquettes ($118) and BFC karaage ($108); Grilled 911 with chicken skewers (starting from $114) and grilled salmon ($188); and Baller, where the Bluefin chutoro & caviar ($640) steals the show. Finish off with something sweet from Booty Call—how about the Ishigaki pineapple soufflé ($88)?—and bop along to infectious hip-hop tunes and monthly DJ nights.
Brooklyn Yakuza, 29 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2866 1034
Decked out in a beautifully atmospheric design meant to invoke the mystique of Japan’s forests, the entrance to Sakeh seemingly transports you into another world. Once past the instantly recognisable ukiyo-e take on The Last Supper, diners can settle into bell-shaped booths, counter seats, and group tables to indulge in Sakeh’s signature dish: the chochin ($68), a lantern-like skewer made with an immature egg yolk attached to fallopian tubes.
For the less adventurous amongst us, Sakeh offers plenty of other yakitori favourites, such as the homemade chicken meatball with cartilage ($48), gizzard ($38), chicken neck ($38), and more, all made from Hanamidori or Awa-odori chicken for the best flavour. Seafood, pork, and beef also make appearances on the menu in the shape of the grilled Kagoshima A5 Wagyu ($388), tiger prawns with uni paste ($128), and Hokkaido scallops ($118).
Sakeh’s private rooms are a more subdued affair, all elegance and clean lines with a pop of colour from the décor of sake barrels, oil-paper umbrellas, and decorative lanterns. Bang the gong right outside the dining area with a call of “Okori desu!” if you are feeling generous—it signals that you will buy a round of drinks for all patrons!
Sakeh, The Bauhinia, 5–9 Observatory Court, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3709 9251
Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba is the latest Japanese restaurant chain to make its way over to Hong Kong. Opened in 2013 by chef Takuma Ishikawa, the popular concept was quick to sweep honours and awards for its gourmet mazesoba (まぜそば), a Japanese dry noodle dish. Crafted according to a secret recipe developed by its founder and with premium ingredients, their noodles are made in-house with multigrain flour to guarantee maximum freshness.
Choose from nine flavours of mazesoba, including well-loved options like the premium Tokyo mazesoba ($109) that comes with 12 toppings, and the Hong Kong-exclusive yuzu salted mazesoba ($99) with slow-cooked chicken. As for the environment, Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba had its space tactfully designed by Seiki Mori, creating a minimalist dining room of blonde wood furniture, marble textures, and splashes of contemporary Japanese calligraphy.
Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, Shop 1C, G/F, 68 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3751 6966
Modern noodle bar Dam:a has landed in Sai Ying Pun! Brought to you by the folks behind Korean gastropub OBP and 11 Westside, this “experimental dining affair” is headed up by chefs Waheeb Abrahams and Kevin “Ching” Lam, who collectively bring their combined expertise from working at Ho Lee Fook, Carbone, Jinjuu, and Brass Spoon to the new venture. Pushing creativity to the forefront, Dam:a’s compact menu covers noodles (obviously), snacks, and daily specials, with all noodles made locally according to a secret recipe developed by Chef Ching.
Go for the sullung ($148) with toothsome South African M5 Wagyu in a warm Korean beef broth, or the sam gae ($128), which features chicken char siu, soy egg, fried garlic, and leek in a Korean ginseng chicken broth. Spice-lovers will not be able to resist the spicy chicken noodles ($118), topped with furikake and a duck egg. Other highlights include the house-smoked lamb kalbi ($148) served with crab ssamjang; the dubu kimchi ($88) of crispy fried tofu and kimchi coleslaw; and the beef tartare ($138) drizzled in spicy soy sauce with a cured duck yolk. Finish things off with Dam:a’s selection of sake, highballs, soju, or draught beers.
Dam:a, G/F, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Indulge in delicious bites, sumptuous wines, and a cheerful atmosphere at Chueca on Gough Street, a new tapas restaurant that channels the passionate energy that personifies Spain. Inside its Yuki Yasukagawa-designed interiors, let the calming palette of cornflower blue and textured beige wash over you like waves crashing on soft sand, and allow yourself to be whisked off to the coastal bars of the Mediterranean.
Led by chef Jordi Vallés, who previously made his mark as the executive chef of Aqua Group and Pirata Group restaurants, draws upon his upbringing in Spain for the driving concept behind Chueca’s menu. No shared feast can start without a platter of nibbles, and dishes like the croquetas de jamón ($60) and sobrasada bikini are signatures that always hit the mark. Round out the spread with the bountiful lobster rice ($650) and finish off with Spanish classics like the flan de nata or Basque-style cheesecake. Chueca also offers a set menu ($588 per person) that highlights the best of the best, including a seafood platter, some tapas, a main course, and dessert. Amp up the vibes with a carafe of sangria or cava and live life the carefree Spaniard way!
Chueca, 8–10 Gough Street, Central | (+852) 2703 0810
A new wine-centric destination has opened in the Sheung Wan neighbourhood to the delight of vino aficionados across town. Helmed by the formidable trio of executive director Hervé Pennequin, chef consultant Laurent Varachaud, and executive chef Mickael Messina, Bacchus is a lavish new venture that aims to foster and indulge a greater appreciation for rare wines in Hong Kong. Housing over 800 labels from across the globe in its extensive collection, the list is curated by Pennequin, a passionate and award-winning sommelier who counts being head sommelier for Amber by Richard Ekkebus and the Hong Kong Jockey Club amongst his many accomplishments.
Of course, good wine should go with good food, and Bacchus has invited seasoned chefs Varachaud and Messina to craft seasonal dishes to complement the wines. Inspired by childhood flavours, the vibrant spirit of Hong Kong’s wet markets, and the treasure trove of Asian ingredients, the two French chefs leverage their experience in the fine-dining kitchens of Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire to create a signature à la carte menu that pays tribute to the restaurant’s namesake. Each dish comes with pairings as per Pennequin’s suggestion, and diners can enjoy their meal in a brightly lit dining room or in the alfresco wine garden.
From the Japanese sea urchin & Black Angus beef sirloin rolls ($238) to the poached Macao Dover sole in filets & sake creamy sauce ($488), the creative recipes perfectly reflect a union of East and West, accentuated by select labels such as the Volnay 1999 pinot noir ($660), the Vin Blanc de Palmer 2018 sauvignon gris ($510), and the Ao Yun 2017 cabernet sauvignon & franc ($390), amongst many others.
Bacchus, 3/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 3750 5200
If you like your meals with a touch of mystery and a side of shisha, look no further than Dark Leaf Café & Lounge, a brand-new venue that specialises in East-meets-West plates, signature cocktails made with home-brewed teas, and over 80 different shisha flavours. More of an elegant parlour than a full sit-down affair, Dark Leaf nonetheless puts forth a focused and thoughtful menu that emphasises rich flavours that go well beyond run-of-the-mill bar bites.
Feast on trademark dishes like the lobster mentaiko spaghetti ($188) and M4 Australian Wagyu rib-eye steak with truffle fries ($228), alongside creative tea-infused cocktails like the smoky lapsang souchong ($88) with whisky, calming chamomile ($88) with tequila, and the sencha ($88) with vodka and homemade lychee syrup.
Dark Leaf Café & Lounge, 8/F, 726 Nathan Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 9016 0223