Hong Kong Cor­nu­copia

A sam­pling of th­ese choice din­ing spots con­firms the city's spe­cial place as a foodie haven

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Reg­gie Ho

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

BO­QUE­RIA

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

BLT Steak

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.

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