Beach Buns

Sa­man­tha Leese

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

one are the days when go­ing out for a great meal meant dress­ing up, sit­ting up straight and keep­ing track of your forks. Set at the far end of the bright and airy ground-floor prom­e­nade of The Pulse in Repulse Bay, Hotshot is the lat­est ex­am­ple of a global trend that’s been catch­ing on fast in Hong Kong: good food served in stylish, ca­sual places.

With a hip surf-shack feel, a cool pop sound­track and an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of world-class street art on ex­posed con­crete walls, Hotshot is a gas­tro-diner, ac­cord­ing to chef Wes Long.

In­side, “SEA SEX SUN” is spelled out over­head in vinyl records and skate­boards painted by artists such as Jeff Koons and Takashi Mu­rakami. Mis­matched cafe­te­ria chairs sur­round communal wooden ta­bles, where vin­tage nap­kin hold­ers urge “Have a Coke” and the pa­per menu fea­tur­ing Hotshot’s car­toon duck mas­cot dou­bles as a place mat. The bar­tender works out of a shiny Airstream trailer, mak­ing mint iced teas and spiced straw­berry milk­shakes, with or with­out rum, as an over­sized ceil­ing fan slices through the early sum­mer heat.

“From the very be­gin­ning, the idea was to do some­thing spe­cial, some­thing dif­fer­ent, to re­de­fine what dining is about,” says Ar­turo Sims, food and bev­er­age manager at Le Comp­toir, the restau­rant group that owns Hotshot. “Th­ese days, you can­not just sell food in your restau­rant any­more. That’s not the game. The game right now is about sell­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Le Comp­toir, whose flag­ship, Bibo, made a splash with food­ies and art lovers alike when it opened in She­ung Wan in 2014, is ex­pand­ing rapidly. Hotshot will be joined by two new restau­rants at The Pulse this sum­mer— Ocean and Tree, serv­ing seafood and Ba­li­nese cui­sine re­spec­tively—as well as a Nikki Beach-like rooftop project that’s hush­hush for now.

Sims, for­merly a manager at the Press Room Group, has worked in fine dining for more than 10 years. He moved here from Switzer­land, where he stud­ied at the pres­ti­gious Lau­sanne Ho­tel School. To stay com­pet­i­tive in a “restau­rant won­der­land” such as Hong Kong, he says, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the same guy who has lunch at a lo­cal cha chaan teng might turn up at your restau­rant and pay $3,000 for din­ner. “Fine dining is truly about cater­ing to and adapt­ing to [the cus­tomer] as an in­di­vid­ual. One size does not fit all.”

Sims has en­joyed get­ting to know the dif­fer­ent sides of his regular clien­tele, who come to Bibo af­ter work in high heels and Hotshot on the week­end in flip-flops. “I don’t know any­body who doesn’t like to eat in a ca­sual restau­rant.” He be­lieves what dis­cern­ing cus­tomers value when dining is to

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.