WHERE CULI­NARY STARS DINE

Hong Kong’s cel­e­brated chefs and restau­ra­teurs let on to where they go for great meals

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS - WORDS EVE­LYN CHEN

Hong Kong’s cel­e­brated chefs and restau­ra­teurs let on to where they go for great meals

Hong Kong is known as one of Asia’s culi­nary cap­i­tals, a city that pul­sates with count­less eater­ies and glis­tens with Miche­lin-starred din­ing in­sti­tu­tions. But have you ever won­dered where the chefs and restau­ra­teurs of the city’s most feted restau­rants eat? We spill the beans here.

RICHARD EKKEBUS OF AM­BER

“I love to eat at She­ung Hei, a clay­pot rice restau­rant where the rice is still cooked over char­coal in the tra­di­tional man­ner,” says Richard Ekkebus, the culi­nary di­rec­tor of Am­ber, a two-Miche­lin­starred fine-din­ing restau­rant in The Land­mark Man­darin Ori­en­tal.

“Clay­pots are a typ­i­cal win­ter dish in Hong Kong, and a gen­er­ous meal starts from just HK$40.” His all-time favourite dish there is the eel clay­pot rice. “Ask them to open the lid, pour the soy sauce and close the lid again for five min­utes be­fore tuck­ing in. You will not re­gret the golden brown rice crust!” But for those who en­joy a glass of wine or beer with their meal, Ekkebus cau­tions, “They do not have an al­co­hol li­cense, so it is just hot tea!” She­ung Hei, G/F, 5-7 Mer­cury Street, Tin Hau.

Tel: +852 2979 0908 UMBERTO BOMBANA OF

8½ OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA Af­ter spend­ing 25 years in his adopted home­town of Hong Kong, Umberto Bombana, chef-owner of the three Miche­lin-starred 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana—ranked No. 4 on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restau­rants list—has gained a keen ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Can­tonese cui­sine.

“I go to Celebrity Cui­sine in Cen­tral ev­ery month,” says Bombana who en­joys the “tra­di­tional Chi­nese dishes han­dled with good tech­niques” at this clas­sic Can­tonese restau­rant. “I al­ways or­der dishes like bird’s nest stuffed in chicken wings and braised beef brisket with turnip in clay­pot,” he says. Just like no one should step into his per­pet­u­ally booked flag­ship in Cen­tral without a reser­va­tion, Bombana’s ad­vice is to al­ways make ad­vance book­ings at Celebrity Cui­sine, par­tic­u­larly be­fore fes­tive pe­ri­ods such as Mother’s Day and Chi­nese New Year.

Celebrity Cui­sine, 1/F Lan Kwai Fong Ho­tel, No. 3 Kau U Fong, Cen­tral.

Tel: +852 3650 0066 DANNY YIP OF

THE CHAIR­MAN

Hong Kong may be teem­ing with great seafood restau­rants but when Danny Yip, owner of The Chair­man, wants the fresh­est catch, he heads to Waterside Seafood

at Lau Fau Shan, a small fish­ing vil­lage in the New Ter­ri­to­ries.

“Waterside Seafood is an ex­tremely local restau­rant for local seafood lovers,” says Yip, whose restau­rant is No. 47 on the Asia’s 50 Best list. “It is ex­tremely hard to get wild seafood these days, but many Main­land Chi­nese fish­ing boats still un­load some of their catch at Lau Fau Shan,” says Yip. He heads to Waterside Seafood Restau­rant reg­u­larly for the “good steamed fish, local prawns and small fatty crabs”. When mak­ing reser­va­tions, seafood con­nois­seurs should also take a leaf out of Yip’s book: “Al­ways re­serve the local catch as these are very lim­ited in sup­ply.”

Waterside Seafood Restau­rant, 44 Lau Fau Shan Main Street, Lau Fau Shan. Tel: +852 2472 1011

HIDEAKI SATO OF TA VIE “Neigh­bor­hood is a smart French-in­spired bistro that is known to local food cognoscenti, but re­mains a hid­den se­cret to most food­ies from abroad,” says Hideaki Sato of Ta Vie, a two-Miche­lin-starred Ja­panese-French restau­rant in Cen­tral.

“I like to eat here be­cause the cooking by chef-owner David Lai is tasty and hon­est,” he says. “Lai is very knowl­edge­able about French cui­sine and local in­gre­di­ents, and he ex­presses his cui­sine without any fan­fare.” Sato-san has many favourites from Neigh­bor­hood’s sea­son­ally re­freshed menu, amongst them truf­fle juice-poached Bre­ton ar­ti­choke and Du­casse-style warm veg­etable dish served in truf­fle jus. How­ever, he cau­tions, “The restau­rant is very small, and it’s very dif­fi­cult to find the place!”

Neigh­bor­hood, Man Hing Lane, Cen­tral. Tel: +852 2555 2202 VICKY CHENG OF VEA

“I have never been to restau­rant Rech

at the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong when it was Spoon,” says Vicky Cheng, re­fer­ring to the new French seafood restau­rant by Alain Du­casse that took over the for­mer space of Spoon. “But now that I’ve dis­cov­ered it with my fam­ily, I love the amaz­ing view, the friendly staff and how they al­ways wel­come my baby with crayons and kid-friendly cut­lery,” says the chefowner of the one-Miche­lin-starred VEA on Welling­ton Street.

“The oys­ters and spelt are amaz­ing, as are the small plates of raw and mar­i­nated seafood starters,” adds Cheng, who also rec­om­mends that din­ers re­quest for win­dow seats when mak­ing reser­va­tions. “The restau­rant is beau­ti­ful but they have ex­tremely lim­ited win­dow seats.”

Rech, In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong, 18 Sal­is­bury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: +852 2313 2323

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