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No Flash in the Pan: TM Eats’s home-cooked success story

By Localiiz Branded | 12 November 2021

Header image courtesy of TM Eats

Nestled along the unassuming slope of Oakland Path in Sai Ying Pun, a modest tavern stands under the glow of a simple sign. Unpretentious, welcoming, and casual, The Den could not stray further from the veneer of lavishness and sky-high prices that often comes with the flourishing of top-shelf beef. And yet, The Den has garnered a status as a neighbourhood gem known for serving up a menu full of the finest cuts from the Wagyu variety.

Having earned a cult reputation as a neighbourhood gem, their steaks deliver on five-star deliciousness with the flashiness trimmed off. What remains is a salt-of-the-earth approach to keeping the focus on gratifying flavours, which extends throughout their robust line of restaurants, all falling under the TM Eats group.

TM and The Den

It all started with family. Possessing firm foundations as a family-run business, TM Eats is backed by a close-knit team of long-time staff and passionate collaborators. In the near-decade-long journey behind the restaurant group—first kindled by the establishment of The Den—the story of TM Eats is one that pays tribute to founder TM Chan’s heritage and bright-eyed aspirations. 

A love for food was instilled in Chan from a young age, starting with the fish and chip shop run by her father, Pete. Growing up in Australia, the surrounding landscape of food was one that revolved around seasonality and fresh ingredients—major features that later became embedded into the style of cooking amongst the TM Eats concepts. After some time spent in Hong Kong’s F&B scene, with experiences at Stanley’s now-defunct The Boathouse and at Planet Hollywood, she began to plant seeds of her own. In particular, it was The Den that kickstarted the lineage of restaurant concepts that came to form the portfolio of the TM Eats group.

The Den was created with the intent to bring prime Wagyu to Hong Kong. Bursting with umami flavour and ensconced in a mouthfeel of buttery tenderness, there is no sensation quite like tucking into one of their hand-cut steaks. Believing that such experiences should not be exclusive to upper-crust diners, affordability is integral to The Den, allowing a broader audience to fall in love with the iconic palate of Wagyu the same way Chan did.

Working to build a close relationship with a supplier based Down Under, the beef that makes its way to the storefront has been farmed with care and kept in tip-top condition through chilling instead of being frozen. From the lean and savoury Wagyu sirloin M5 to the made-to-wow Wagyu t-bone and Wagyu tomahawk that are ideal for sharing, every sizzling slab of succulent, medium-rare steak that is plated up has been hand cut to one-and-a-half inches of melt-in-your-mouth perfection, making a sumptuous five-star meal accessible to all.

A neighbourhood rendezvous

Apart from being recognised for its elevation of homespun gastronomy, the success of The Den created close ties between Chan and her team with the community in Sai Ying Pun. It was almost always a guarantee that guests would become friends with the staff by the time that the meal was over, armed with a full belly and cheery proclamations to meet again another time. Soon enough, the growing group of regulars inspired the birth of another addition to the line of TM Eats concepts: Pete’s Place.

First opening its doors in 2018, Pete’s Place is a neighbourhood bar through and through. From its venue—which once functioned as an auto-repair workshop—to the rotation of familiar faces that are always moving in and out of the restaurant, the location itself is rich with the area’s history. Traces of the venue’s previous life are honoured in the form of rustic, exposed concrete walls; collections of colourful license plates; and authentic mechanical relics dotted all over. Named Pete’s Place as a loving gesture to Chan’s father, she successfully carved out a spot that brings people together to eat, drink, and congregate like family.

Sharing a home with Pete’s Place is TM’s by The Den, a Latin-inspired restaurant evoking Peruvian flair. Similar to its predecessor, TM’s by The Den is widely loved for its affordable fare. Taking an unconventional approach to bar bites, Chan opted for a menu that integrated their signature quality Wagyu into dishes like sliders and empanadas, supplemented by zesty favourites like chicken anticucho and tuna tataki.

Only a door down, past the alluring mural exploding with the vibrant brushstrokes of a local artist and long-time friend of the bar, the hospitality group’s arsenal extends into Bingaz Street Food. As the fourth outlet in the TM Eats lineage, the name Bingaz is, in fact, the childhood nickname of Chan’s son Anthony D’azevedo, making the place an all-the-more significant continuation to the TM Eats legacy.

Serving a broad plethora of Asian dishes, the influence of street food is carried throughout their offerings, with star items like seafood laksa made from a soothing homemade broth, freshly grilled skewers, aromatic Wagyu beef teppanyaki varieties, as well as decadent beef rendang that entices every one of your senses.

All this came along with what could only be the next chapter of Chan’s story, as the team received a phone call that made clear the reach of TM Eats, surpassing their greatest expectations. It was in 2019 that TM’s by The Den was awarded The Best of The Best MasterChef Recommended Restaurant, an honour that placed them alongside Michelin-starred powerhouses and grandiose household names. This was a list that they would continue to occupy for three years in a row (and counting), proving that when an earnest love for food shines as the heart of the operation, it serves as the secret ingredient of well-deserved success.

Bringing it home

Many have been watching their holidays pass under a cloud of uncertainty that keeps them bound to Hong Kong, and TM Eats responded by blossoming into a purveyor of homely flavours for those who miss having traditional festive dinners with their long-distance families. Converging the catalogues of The Den, TM’s by The Den, as well as Bingaz Street Food, TM Catering brings the best of their bites beyond just the neighbourhood.

Authentic recipes, wholesome spreads of festive favourites, and the irreplaceable buzz of the upcoming holidays drive the desire for TM Catering. At the heart of their operation is the guarantee that the food that arrives at your door will have come straight from the TM Eats kitchen, rather than from a commercial kitchen cog of a centralised machine. This is what allows them to take on all sorts of customisations, no matter your diet or preferences, and make sure that everyone gets to enjoy the best food for them, cooked to perfection.

Choose from TM Eats’s lovingly crafted fireside dishes, with items such as their signature roasted Wagyu beef, crackled suckling pig over golden saffron chorizo rice, classic Christmas turkey with pork stuffing and cranberry sauce, and the ever-so-popular honey-glazed ham, all made for sharing with your loved ones. You cannot go wrong with Bingaz’s premium roast, triggering warm nostalgia of old holiday memories with its hearty selection of roast chicken, pork rack, lamb chop, Yorkshire pudding, and more.

On the other hand, you could opt for a balmy Christmas with a spiced-up Mexican set, which has you spoiled for choice between six different types of tacos. Add a bit of a kick to your Yuletide dinner with an Asian set that incorporates recipes from all over the continent, ranging from steamy Indian curries to Thai beef salad.

The story of TM Eats saw one woman take her passion and run with it, connecting with like-minded collaborators and loyal supporters along the way. Every single bite from TM Eats carries with it vibrant flavours drawn from wholesome, top-quality ingredients. From a chunky Wagyu steak down to a battered onion ring, each team member’s dedicated eagerness palpably shines through, no matter what is being plated up.

This holiday season, TM Eats is offering up an exclusive giveaway of their iconic turkey feast, which features the grand seven-kilogramme Christmas turkey alongside a decadent spread of homemade side dishes, like cauliflower gratin and Christmas slaw, to pass around a festive table. Find out more on how you can share this beautiful assortment of goodies with your favourite people by checking out the offer here!

TM Eats

A family business that runs on heart and homemade food, TM Eats brings to you the flavours of home cooking that make any occasion or celebration just that extra bit more special. With three distinctive dining concepts, a streamlined catering service, and a cosy neighbourhood bar under their helm, rest assured that you will always find the perfect taste for you at one of their restaurants.

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