Hong Kong Cornucopia
A sampling of these choice dining spots confirms the city's special place as a foodie haven
A sampling of these choice dining spots confirms this city’s special place as a foodie haven
Lin Heung Lau
From its origins as a pastry maker in the Chinese city of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in the 1880s during the Qing dynasty, Lin Heung Lau later morphed into a famous Cantonese restaurant and flourished, expanding to Hong Kong in 1918. The operation on the mainland has since been nationalized, but the Hong Kong location is still managed by the founding family. Dim sum is served from very early in the morning until late afternoon, and you must be prepared to deal with chaos – reservations are not accepted and you’re likely to be sharing a table with strangers. Once you’re given an order slip, you must also chase after the dim sum trolleys or tussle with the crowd at the kitchen door to get the more popular dishes such as har gow (shrimp dumplings), char shiu bao (roast pork buns) and ma lai gao (Chinese sponge cake). Dinnertime is full service, and courses are also bigger and more expensive, with braised stuffed duck one of the signatures.
Open daily 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM (dim sum served until 4:00 PM); 160-164 Wellington Street, Central; tel +852 2544 4556
The first Asian branch of a US chain of tapas bars that started in NewYork, this new addition to the foodie LKF Tower promises a piece of Barcelona in the middle of Hong Kong. The open kitchen, the high chairs and the Moorish tiles, combined with hanging legs of Iberico ham, aim to resemble the market after which the restaurant is named. It’s not exactly déjà vu, but the ambience created is rather pleasant in itself. Staples such as gambas de ajillo and seafood paella are well done – the rice had a layered flavor, achieved using a lobster broth. Other less common dishes include dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón (blue cheese) wrapped in bacon. These morsels were delicious – although the chef could have been a little more generous with the cheese, as the saccharine fruit overpowered it. The wine list, subdivided by characters, is modest, but choices are well picked – we loved the rich, honeyed Palacio de la Vega 2010 chardonnay – and prices are reasonable.
Open Mon-Wed 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM, 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Thu-Sat till late; Sun evening only, 6:00 – 11:00 PM; 7/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central; tel +852 2321 8681. Visit boqueria.com.hk
8½ OTTO E MEZZO – BOMBANA
The only three-Michelin-star Italian restaurant outside of Italy, this sophisticated establishment is the creation of brilliant chef-owner Umberto Bombana, who headed the kitchen of Toscana in The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong before the hotel relocated to Kowloon. The master chef has always been respected, but it seems that with his namesake, he has been able to shine even more, as one can see in dishes such as Tajima short rib and beef tenderloin, red wine and plum sauce; and homemade tagliolini, Boston lobster, bottarga, rucola and sweet. The ingredients are all of the highest quality, of course, but the magic in every dish is how Bombana manages to bring out the best of every piece of meat, vegetable and fruit, with every sauce playing like an orchestral suite on the palate.You can tell that he is having fun, decorating the space with his own collection of artworks, include pieces by Warhol and Picasso. The“ageing cellar”of ham and cheese is also a famous feature. Prices are high, but the set lunch is a good deal.
Open Mon-Sat 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM – 11:30 PM; bar opened from 12:00 PM till late; Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central; tel +852 2537 8859. Visit ottoemezzobombana.com
Its name stands for“Bistro Laurent Tourindel,”and the celebrity chef imported this successful American steakhouse concept from NewYork to Hong Kong in early 2009. The menu features prime cuts from the US and Australia, with the usual sides such as grilled asparagus, creamed spinach and potato gratin, alongside others with a twist, like black truffle mac & cheese, and jalapeno mashed potato. There are also poultry and seafood dishes. All these are complemented by an international wine list with many by-the-glass options. The food has won praise, but many frequent this restaurant because of the open-air ambience and waterfront location. If you can, reserve a table on the outdoor deck, from where you can admire views of the city’s famous harbor and skyline, and the iconic Star Ferries making their cross-harbor runs. There is a brunch buffet on weekends and public holidays.
Open daily 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM, later on weekends and public holidays; Shop G62, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui; tel +852 2730 3508, Visit diningconcepts.com.