Just arrived and wondering where to eat in Hong Kong? Add these five tried and tested restaurants to your must-do dining list.
Waterfront Bar & Terrace
The Harbour Grand’s Waterfront Bar & Terrace might come as a surprise recommendation as a must-do dining experience, but it presents a beautiful afternoon or evening of waterfront alfresco dining. This experience of dining right on the water and in the open air is, strangely, not common in our harbour-centric city.
The Harbour Grand Kowloon is located a short walk from Whampoa MTR Station. It’s an interesting position and worth a little day trip to explore a new area of Hong Kong for those who live on the Island. Just around the corner is the famous cruise-ship-shaped shopping centre at Whampoa Garden.
But before you explore the rest of the neighbourhood, sit outside and enjoy this unique view of Hong Kong. From your table, you’ll be able to look down towards the city one way, and over to Kai Tak (the old runway) the other.
The menu is heavy on seafood, so if that’s your thing, this is a great place for a long lunch. For those who aren’t such a fan of fish and the like, the choices are limited. We started with the ahi tuna appetiser, an Insta-worthy stack of fresh tuna tartare, soft avocado and sweet mango served with tortilla chips. It’s a generous serving you could share. Next came another appetiser, shrimp and crab lump – it’s served with a tomato salsa that’s a real treat and was a standout of our whole meal. Both of these dishes pair perfectly with a crisp white.
For mains, one of the city’s favourite dishes is on offer here: lobster pizza. Our pizza came loaded with the meat of a whole lobster. Also available is a beautiful baked cod that comes straight from the oven with steamed vegetables nestled in the same paper package. While these are both worthy choices, my recommendation is the Jumbo Sea Scallops. The scallops are wrapped in pancetta and sit in a cream sauce.
If you’re staying for a long lunch, you must include dessert. The pineapple carpaccio with coconut ice cream is light and perfect for a sweet treat at the end of a big meal at this time of year. If you have a sweet tooth and you love cakes, the red wine ganache with raspberries and cream cheese icing might hit the spot.
– Rebecca Simpson
Waterfront Bar & Terrace
The Harbour Grand Kowloon G/F, One Harbourfront, Whampoa Garden
2996 8455 | kowloon.harbourgrand.com
This is the boutique private-dining concept of Umberto Bombana, the renowned chef of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana. For those new to Hong Kong, Otto e Mezzo is the only Italian restaurant outside Italy to be awarded three Michelin stars. It’s a big deal in Hong Kong.
Octavium is billed as the place where Chef Bombana serves food that is especially close to his heart – loved dishes crafted with seasonal ingredients. Those are some big expectations for Chef Silvio to meet. Chef Silvio is the talent running Octavium, and boy has he been delivering! He’s already secured a Michelin star, less than a year and a half after opening. After our dinner experience, it’s not hard to see why.
We enjoyed the chef’s tasting menu on our visit, referred to as the Octavium Experience. This is a seven-course triumph that started with a “Daniel Sorlut” oyster with Kaluga caviar and champagne foam – truly the best oyster I’ve had in Hong Kong. Another highlight was the homemade ravioli with pecorino “Riserva del Fondatore”, fava bean and ’nduja (spreadable salami) – amazing. And the New Zealand lamb was another great dish.
Chef Silvio makes this experience very personal by visiting the dining room and connecting with guests throughout the evening. He spoke with great passion to us about ingredients and his mission to shift the perception of Italian food from a family meal into the fine-dining realm within the collective conscience of Hong Kong’s food scene. He’s definitely achieving that goal with the Octavium Experience menu.
The wine pairing for our meal was also flawless. So much thought has gone into every course, from each member of Silvio’s team. Take someone special here to celebrate something important – you won’t be disappointed.
Octavium is also open for lunch, serving an executive menu. If you’re looking for a power lunch on a reasonable corporate budget, this is an impressive option.
– Rebecca Simpson
8/F, One Chinachem Central, 22 Des Voeux Road, Central
Gough’s on Gough
*This Hong Kong restaurant has been closed
We are writing you this special letter because we know many of you are homesick. And although your British resilience means you will all simply get on with it and not dwell, we thought it timely to recommend a very British escape.
There’s a place in Hong Kong, tucked away in Central, where you can experience a rather delicious slice of home. It has proper man-sized beef Wellington, with juicy beef, real duxelles and crispy pastry. It also has the best beef dripping toast – the kind of dripping toast your Granny fed you back in the old days. And don’t get us started on the sticky toffee pudding.
Gough’s on Gough is a meal and a walk down memory lane for expats with roots in the UK. If you’re homesick or new to Hong Kong and looking for a fix of the motherland, this is the place to go.
Not only can you eat your memories here, you’re also being served in style. We visited in the days leading up to the arrival of Archie Harrison MountbattenWindsor, and General Manager Jonathan Jones even indulged us in some royal baby banter. Jonathan is a good laugh and an exceptional hospitality professional; he’s even served HRH Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
Meanwhile, Executive Chef Cary Docherty is a Vancouver native (wait, what?) but his British immersion has spanned two of Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred kitchens (Maze and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay). Gough’s on Gough is his first Hong Kong posting and we are very glad to have him.
The man responsible for bringing Cary out our way is famed British designer Timothy Oulton. Gough’s on Gough is Timothy Oulton’s first and only restaurant experience. Visually, it’s everything you’d imagine – a dramatic marbled entrance from Gough Street leads upstairs to dining seats in deep-tufted leather and boxing glove-inspired light fittings.
It’s quite fitting that Brits abroad might find some solace in these walls. As a designer, Timothy Oulton says he’s inspired by the past, but likes to reconceive it from a modern perspective. And that’s really what being an expat is all about. This is a great venue for a date night or a special evening out with friends.
With love, The Expat Living Team
Gough’s on Gough
15 Gough Street, Central
Even on a damp and chilly evening in May, the view here is simply breathtaking. Maze Grill is perched on the end of Ocean Terminal and offers expansive panoramas of the harbour and Lamma Channel. These views are normally afforded from the rooftop bars and restaurants around town; but the real treat here was to be so close to the water, as if you were in fact dining on a majestic cruise liner.
Focusing on the job in hand, we were quickly seated by the window, where we studied the menus. We chose the Spring Tasting Menu ($888) with wine pairing ($288) – and what a treat: five delicious and seasonal courses paired with five wines.
The first course, Oscietra Caviar, was served with a smooth pea mouse and just a hint of wild garlic. A perfect start and perfectly matched with a light and fruity Prosecco.
Next up, asparagus. I’m British and a bit fussy about asparagus as I was spoiled with my father’s annual home-grown crop. This version definitely didn’t disappoint. Assembled at the table for a little dining theatre, the perfectly cooked asparagus was coupled with a soft poached egg, kombu hollandaise foam and rye bread crumb for texture.
The winning dish, though, was the Atlantic cod. This perfectly flakey fish was served with a deep, rich morel sauce and a crispy breaded oyster. We thought the wine pairing here was particularly interesting too. St Joseph Blanc, a rich white wine from the Rhône Valley, poured through a Coravin to ensure freshness.
One of Gordon Ramsay’s signature dishes, beef Wellington, takes pride of place on the Maze menu. And, while the beef could have done with a few extra minutes in the oven for our taste, it’s easy to see why this is such a crowd-pleaser with diners.
Just when we think we can eat no more, our final course arrives: chocolate crémeux. This is a rich and decadent dessert – a chocoholic’s delight, in fact. Whether you’re entertaining out-of-town guests, celebrating a special birthday or simply enjoying amazing food with your best friend, Maze Grill is a must visit.
– Kate Woodbury
Roganic is the brain child of British celebrity chef Simon Rogan. The Causeway Bay restaurant is the second with this title to open. Its older Michelinstarred sibling is in the UK (London), along with L’Enclume, the renowned chef’s two-Michelin-star restaurant in the Lakes District.
That link back to the UK is important because Rogan is a known locavore, and the Hong Kong restaurant has a very tangible link to this in the form of a vertical garden. The garden allows produce to be grown on site but managed via new technologies by the same team that manages Simon’s farms in the UK. Roganic is clearly a very cool experience in more ways than one!
You enter from the intensity of Causeway Bay into the peace of a space peppered with green potted plants and wooden detail. It’s pretty, but the wow factor is delivered through the food. To place our experience into context, this is the first and only time I’ve seen my husband switch plates and finish my food in a fine-dining environment. Normally, he has very nice manners. However, the cheese ice cream, an additional course we were served on top of the ten-course Roganic Long Taster Menu (HK$980), was too tempting.
As the name suggests, this is a long meal, with plenty of peaks. Sometimes, it’s so good you’ll be compelled to steal your partner’s food. We started with the pea, cod roe and caviar appetiser, one of the highlights of the whole meal for me; the light and “proper” fresh peas with a pop of cod roe in a crispy cradle were just heavenly. A later high point came in the form of a cube of truffled bread-and-butter pudding, while a special mention should also be made of the tender serving of codfish with broccoli and roast bone. The soda bread with cultured butter was another pure delight. The handmade butter is flown in from the UK.
We transitioned to dessert through the seductive cheese ice cream. The dessert courses consisted of a medley of subtle earl grey and beetroot ice cream, then a dish of bittersweet stout, molasses and burnt milk, and finally two cakes – a cherry cake and a light-as-air doughnut. It was a sweet ending to an epic meal.
Roganic is an impressive and well thought-out experience, executed by a team that timed the courses perfectly with a side-serve of darkly humoured wit.
– Rebecca Simpson
See more in our Wine & Dine section
This article first appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.