JAMES WARD, ASHER GOLDSTEIN & SIMONE SAMMURI
When it comes to opening restaurants, quality always trumps quantity. This year, one new opening impressed us all with its confident concept, solid execution and heartfelt authenticity.
Francis, a tiny Middle Eastern restaurant on the slope of St Francis Street in Wan Chai, is a project by three determined food and wine lovers who had each made their mark in Hong Kong’s
competitive dining scene in the past. Asher Goldstein and Simone Sammuri both worked at Sydney import 121BC, as chef and sommelier, respectively; James Ward brings the front-of-house
perspective given his lengthy tenure as restaurant manager at Aqua Restaurant Group and Le Comptoir. Their combined experience and know-how has laid the foundation for Francis, which has not only brought fresh flavours and rare, intriguing wines to the fore, but set a new standard for how fun and invigorating good restaurants can be—just walk by any day of the week to
witness the revelry that spills out into the Star Street neighbourhood.
Francis, G/F, 4-6 St Francis Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
RUNNER-UP When it comes to quantity that doesn’t compromise on quality,Black Sheep Restaurants has it all. In 2018, cofounders Chris Mark and Syed Asim Hussain launched Fukuro and Artemis & Apollo, with more ventures on the horizon.