The Business Traveller Asia-Pacific team test out new culinary hotspots and check in with old favourites
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reviews some of Hong Kong’s premier dining establishments
The newest dining venture from Le Comptoir, Umi brings authentic Japanese tastes within easy walking distance of the Central business district.
Natural materials and minimalist décor offer a Zenlike environment, with a spectacular showpiece in the form of a hanging orchid tree. A set omasake (chef’s choice) menu is prepared live by fourth-generation sushi master Yukio Kimijima, with two seatings for 10 patrons at a time (HK$1,588/US$205 per person).
Our four appetisers comprised six-month dried rice with lavish shavings of French truffle; seasonal hirame (Japanese halibut) adorned with the vibrant hanaho flower; Narita-sourced abalone; and grilled Hokkaido scallop wrapped in seaweed with sweet chestnut.
Before the ten sushi courses, a few etiquette rules were explained:
No cutlery – each piece of handcrafted sushi is placed on the bare table before you.
– to maintain the optimum temperature and airy texture the sushi is created with a looser construction, which is easier to eat by hand.
– a common faux pas apparently. Following authentic tradition, chef Kimijima adds fresh wasabi and a light brushing of soy sauce to each piece before serving.
– fresh, pickled ginger is on hand to nibble between courses.
The sushi procession started with the lighter flavours of sayori, snapper and kohada fish, through to the more meaty textures of akami tuna and toro. A rich miso soup, a powerfully flavoured sea urchin roll, and a dessert of mochi and matcha Valrhona chocolate followed. The menu is available with sake pairing.
Authentic Edomae sushi presented in a lovely environment, Umi is a fantastic addition to the culinary scene. Tamsin Cocks
Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-8pm and 8.30pm-10.30pm. Shop 3, G/F, 159-163 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong; tel +852 2956 3177;
YEE TUNG HEEN
Located on the second floor of The Excelsior hotel in Causeway Bay, Yee Tung Heen is a superb example of Cantonese fine dining, with a new and innovative sensibility towards the cuisine embodied by executive chef Wong Wing Keung.
The décor is dramatic, with a contemporary artistic bamboo pattern in red and black leading through to floral-patterned partitions, which create five separate dining rooms and disguise the fact that this is a large restaurant (200 covers). There’s an elegant tea counter at the restaurant’s entrance where you can choose from a range of premium tea and bespoke blends.
The restaurant has won a lot of awards in recent years, including being recommended in the Michelin
Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2015, one of Hong Kong’s Best Restaurants from 1997 to 2016 by Hong Kong Tatler and one of Hong Kong’s 100 Top Tables by the South China Morning Post.
The à la carte menu is huge – 14 pages – and includes several dishes, which have their own awards. We tried the twin mushroom platter, which won a Gold with Distinction Award at the Hong Kong Tourism Board 2015 Best of the Best Culinary Awards. The two mushrooms were stuffed, but light in both texture and flavour, and exemplified the subtle approach of the chef.
Another highlight was the steamed rice roll with tiger prawn, kale and beetroot dumpling served with prawn oil soy sauce. This well-known restaurant deserves a return visit. Great food and service and some innovative cooking. Tom Otley
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2.30pm; Sunday and public holidays 10.30am-3pm; dinner served daily from 6pm to 10.30pm. 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay; tel +852 2837 6790;
FLINT GRILL & BAR
Flint Grill & Bar may be housed on Level 5 of the JW Marriott, but it’s not your typical hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a luxurious sense of space and upmarket industrial-chic décor, with hallmark features such as exposed brickwork and raw pipe work.
In 2016, Flint welcomed new head chef Pieter FitzDreyer, who has revamped the menu with exciting, modern creations.
Our meal started with options “from the Sea”. First, the Akaroa king salmon with oyster, charred cucumber and white balsamic (HK$190/US$24): a seafood sensation elegantly served in a black, oval dish. Another standout was the Ahi tuna (HK$190). Prepared at the table, the concoction of fresh flavours served with homemade Nori crackers was a melt-inthe-mouth moment.
From the daily specials, we enjoyed the lobster ravioli, decadently smothered in a creamy coconut sauce infused with Thai herbs and decorated with young asparagus tips.
The main event was the Linz Heritage USDA Prime cut, 45-day dry-aged on the bone steak (20oz rib-eye HK$590/US$76). The strong taste of the ageing process was prominent, though this may not be for everyone.
Desserts included pannacotta with lychee granite, black sesame and edible rose petals, and a crunchy, tangy apple crumble, which my companion declared the best she’s ever had in Hong Kong.
Flint ticks all the boxes for both individual business travellers and locals looking for a high-end but informal setting, with an inventive menu that delivers in spades. Tamsin Cocks
Open daily 12pm-2.30pm; 6pm-10.30pm; Bar: 5pm -12am. Level 5, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; tel: +852 2810 8366; marriott.com
Opened in December 2016, Bizou offers Danish-born chef Magnus Hansson’s fresh interpretation of the classic American brasserie tradition. The menu is farmto-table in style, with no GM foodstuffs and organic produce as the rule.
Located on the ground floor of Pacific Place mall in Admiralty, Neri & Hu Design has created a cool, comfortable area with natural wood finishes, dark leather and wood chairs, white tiling on the walls and warm lighting.
To start, we chose fried camembert cheese with cloudberry preserves, fried parsley and toasted sourdough; rich with the perfect combination of crusty skin and melting centre. We also sampled the grilled octopus with crispy potatoes, olives, young celery, mint hummus, sumac, extra virgin olive oil and lemon – a fascinating mix of flavours.
For mains, we tried the slow-braised boneless short ribs in red wine with potato purée, gailan green vegetables and fresh horseradish; and the panseared Icelandic cod fillet with butter, soft-boiled egg, cauliflower purée, sautéed kale and fresh horseradish. The ribs were cooked beautifully, the meat shredding easily and filled with juicy flavour. The fish was also excellent, the egg adding a nice soft touch along with the cauliflower, while the crispy kale and horseradish were a piquant injection into the otherwise mild, creamy dish.
A selection of six appealing desserts included gooey chocolate cake with lemon-cumquat marmalade, whipped ricotta and fried sage, and lemon yoghurt Bundt cake with Greek yoghurt, lemon syrup and honeycomb.
The wine list was a reasonable size, strong on Italian but with a good global spread, while the highly creative cocktails menu at the bar comes from celebrated mixologist Joseph Boroski. (HK$1,500$2,000/US$190-US$250 for a three-course meal for two with wine.)
The atmosphere is a nice mix between modern and traditional, the service was excellent and, most importantly, the food was consistently delicious – I was impressed. Jeremy Tredinnick
Open daily 11.30am-10.30pm; Shop 132, L1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; tel: 2871 0775; diningconcepts.com/ restaurants/ bizou
Cobo House (short for “community of bohemians”) is an arty eatery tucked away in the Shek Tong Tsui district. Focusing on a farm-to-table experience, the restaurant grows its own herbs and plants, while other ingredients are procured from local markets.
The inside of the restaurant features artwork from around the world curated by Adrian Cheng, founder of the K11 Art Foundation, with the pieces rotating every three months.
The menu is brief and to the point. For starters, we chose the “Mushroom” and the “Crab”. The former consisted of a king trumpet mushroom, egg tofu and herb butter, along with more mushrooms, a pan-fried egg tofu cube and smashed potato. The ingredients were fresh with a pleasant hint of truffle subtly upgrading the overall flavour.
For the mains, we selected the pork and the vegetarian somen. The slow-cooked pork belly comes with potatoes and charred spiced pineapple giving the dish a slightly peppery taste.
A key part of this restaurant’s appeal is the collaboration with Janice Wong, a Singapore-based chef known for founding 2am:dessertbar.
The restaurant’s dessert degustation menu offers three dishes and complementing beverages for HK$298 (US$38). We sampled the Popcorn, a combination of sweet and savoury popcorn-flavoured parfait; Kyoto Garden, a floral dish with orange blossom ice cream in a white-chocolate shell; and Basil White Chocolate, a sharp, fruity dish with passion fruit, white chocolate and basil. Perhaps the most impressive dessert is its à la carte Cassis Plum, a signature dish of Wong’s that notably made an appearance on Master Chef Australia 2015.
Main picture: Yee Tung Heen Above from left: Umi chef and dining room