Guide to eating in Hong Kong (Gourmet Chick in Hong Kong)

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Happy Chinese New Year! In celebration of the Year of the Dragon I’ve compiled this post on where to eat in Hong Kong (that’s not dim sum).  My friend Terry refers to Hong Kong as “urban paradise”.  He’s right and the city is a special type of paradise for those that love their food.  I’ve already shared my tips for the quintessential Hong Kong dim sum experience so here is my guide to where else to eat from Michelin star restaurants to hidden suburban haunts.

Wet markets in the back streets of Hong Kong

1.  Tim’s Kitchen
Theoretically a private kitchen Tim’s Kitchen is for all apparent purposes a restaurant and a Michelin starred one at that.  Apparently some of the best dishes need to be ordered ahead but we were suitably wowed anyway by the on menu options of the pork and chicken.  Tim’s Kitchen lacks in atmosphere and has a stilted formality to it but it was the best meal we ate in Hong Kong that wasn’t yum cha.

Half a crispy chicken (HKD$180) had moist, tender flesh and golden, crackling skin however it was in the porky part of the menu that Tim’s Kitchen really impressed.  Stewed eggplant (HKD$60) was topped with minced, slightly charred pork creating a brilliant textural contrast and fantastic flavour combination.

Crispy chicken at Tim’s Kitchen

The palpable statement making dish was the honey glazed barbecue pork (HKD$88) a hunk of glazed pork complete with crisp, shiny crackling and tender, pink meat.  It went straight for the jugular with big, bold and unforgettable flavours.   Like the setting the wine list at Tim’s Kitchen is no nonsense with a short selection, we ordered one of the cheaper bottles, a reasonably priced Chateau Les Reuilles (HKD$180).   Tim’s Kitchen is a restaurant where the focus is firmly on the food but oh, what great food it is.

Essentials
Details: Tim’s Kitchen, Shop A and 1/F, 84-90, Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Ph: (852) 2543 5919
Damage:  Reasonable.  Our bill for three with wine came to HKD$695 ($89/£57).
9/10

The open kitchen at Cafe Grey Deluxe is raised above the diners

2.  Cafe Grey Deluxe
Cafe Grey Deluxe is a place to take people to impress them and to be impressed yourself.  It has the most spectacular views of any restaurant in Hong Kong with a truly magical panorama of skyscrapers and lights twinkling at night across the harbour.  The restaurant itself also shimmers and sparkles with lots of glossy, modern surfaces and is dominated by the theatre of a raised open kitchen.

Cafe Grey Deluxe is all about fine dining which is unstitched and relaxed.  There was textural fun to be had with the starter of foie gras two ways, seared and in a rich roulade on top of salt baked beets and doused with cranberry vinigarette.

Foie gras two ways at Cafe Grey Deluxe

Of the mains, the half roast chicken restored my faith in the dish with its crisp skin and juicy meat paired with roasted vegetables and a rich tarragon jus.  It was simple but great food, in contrast to the salmon “Amandine”, a decent fillet of salmon which was overpowered by the accompanying bitter caramelized endives and capers.  In this case, less would have been more.

The triumphant part of the meal was dessert, the rich smell of the bitter chocolate soufflé hits you first before you delve into the fluffy soufflé to discover sticky berries hidden at the bottom.  It was both decadent and delicious.  The wine list at Cafe Grey Deluxe sits comfortably beside the spotlight hogging food, encompassing over 300 labels.  I particularly enjoyed the subtlety and minerality of the Limoux Chardonnay.

Bitter chocolate soufflé at Cafe Grey Deluxe

The prices are steep at Cafe Grey Deluxe (views like that don’t come cheaply) but if you can’t afford a meal there it is still worth popping in to the bar for one of the excellent cocktails such as the Hong Kong High Ball (HKD$120).

Gourmet Chick was a guest of Cafe Grey Deluxe.

Essentials
Details: Cafe Grey Deluxe, 49/F, Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong (Ph 2918 1838).
Damage: Budget Breaking.  However on this occasion I did not pay.
8/10

Our squirming crabs ready to be cooked at Under the Bridge Spicy Crab

3.  Under the Bridge Spicy Crab
There are several under the bridge spicy crab restaurants in a row so you have to make sure you get the right one.  The drawcard here is the truly enormous crabs which are cooked with chilli and crunchy, deep fried garlic.  We also loved the clams fried with chilli and bean sauce ($HKD60), the deep fried squid and the special rice ($HKD68).  For a full pictorial run down of the menu see Follow me Foodie’s review.  Great for big groups and for a noisy meal with lots of beers but make sure you check what the market price of the crab is before ordering two (we didn’t!) as I have a feeling they took advantage of the lack of clarity on price, charging us HKD$600 for each crab.  Still, it was worth it.

The cooked crab at Under the Bridge Spicy Crab – amazing

Essentials
Details: Under the Bridge, Shop B, G/F, 401-403 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Ph: 2834 6818)
Damage: Pricey.
8/10

4.  Posto Pubblico
This Hong Kong restaurant is based on a New York osteria has a cool buzzy feel to it thanks to its Soho location and simple decor of exposed brick walls and bare tables.  The mantra here is local and organic with a menu that is constantly changing to reflect the seasons.  The best dishes were the starters to share of the creamiest burrata I have ever tasted.  Served as a salad with slices of fresh tomato the burrata  was home made and literally weeped onto my plate.

The lighting was moody at Posto Pubblico so my photos are awful.  Instead this is the view from Hotel LFK where we stayed. 

I am also still dreaming about the huge softball sized veal meatball with its dense, tightly packed meat and oh-so-fresh chunky tomato sauce.  My main of ravioli (HKD$145) stuffed with pork, veal and beef and doused in a creamy gorgonzola sauce was technically very good but overwhelmingly rich and so did not live up to the heady heights of the starters.


Essentials
Details: Posto Pubblico, 28 Elgin Street  Central, Hong Kong, Ph 2577 7160
Damage: Pricey.
7/10

5.  Nagomi
There is a certain level of obsession with Japanese food in Hong Kong and so the city boasts some great Japanese restaurants.  Out in Happy Valley (and conveniently located for a feed before a night at the Wednesday night races) Nagomi is a cheap and cheerful little Japanese restaurant which rewards careful ordering.

California rolls at Nagomi

The menu reads like a straightforward collection of Japanese dishes rather than a venture into the unknown but the food is simple and well executed.  The stand out dishes worth seeking out on the menu were the spicy tuna rolls (HKD$58) and the eel rice box (HKD$130) with its silky smooth eel.  The sashimi was spankingly fresh, a thick tranche of glistening pale pink and pearly white fish, while edamame beans (HKD$25) were crisp and covered in chunks of crunchy sea salt.  There is little wow factor at Nagomi but what it does, it does well.

Essentials
Details: Nagomi, Flat C, Yee Fung Building, 1 Village Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong (Ph 2838 3848)
Damage: Reasonable
6/10

My map of Hong Kong

 
View Gourmet Chick Hong Kong in a larger map 



Gourmet Travel Tips

  • Cathay Pacific flies to Hong Kong from Australia from $1150 return and from London British Airways flies there from London from £569 return.
  • We stayed at Hotel LFK which is bang in the middle of Hong Kong’s party hub, the Lang Kwai Fong area.  Our deluxe suite was huge and stocked with everything you could ever want from a bath and rain shower stocked with Molton Brown goodies to free wifi and an in room coffee maker.  The room rate also includes cocktails each night in LFK’s glamorous “Restaurant slash bar” Azure and the views over the city skyline are stupendous.  Details: Hotel LFK, 33 Wyndham Street, Lang Kwai Fong, Hong Kong (Ph +852 3518 9688 ) Rooms start from HKD$2,998/£245/$379) a night. 
Our room at Hotel LFK
  • The must do activities in Hong Kong are to catch a tram up to the top of the Peak to check out the skyline, a night out at the Happy Valley races on Wednesdays and of course shopping, shopping and more shopping.
  • For something different catch a ferry over to Lantau and do a hike, we hiked the Lantau peak and then caught the cable car back.  We also did a day trip to Macau which I would avoid as it is a pretty soulless place and the immigration queues on the weekends are horrendous.
  • For researching a trip to Hong Kong I found E-Ting, Tom Eats Jen Cooks, Hollow Legs and Mr Noodles very helpful thanks also to our Hong Kong friends, hosts and tour guides Jac, Mossy, Nick and Fabian.

13 comments

  1. Fantastic! Love lists like these 🙂 Thanks for the great compilation!

  2. Teehee, is it bad that I spent this post scouring for dessert? 😉

  3. Dear Cara,

    On behalf of IHM & Posto Pubblico, we just want to quickly drop you a note to thank you for featuring our restaurant in your write up from your recent trip to Hong Kong. We hope you have enjoyed our food, service & ambiance of our restaurant. Please do also pay us a visit on your next trip to our other restaurant, Linguini Fini (www.linguinifini.com / @Linguini_Fini).

    We look forward to welcoming you back to our restaurant and should I be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact myself directly.

    Yours Sincerely
    Geoffrey Wu

    Director of Communications
    IHM
    geoffrey.wu@ihm.com.hk
    @Geoffrey_Wu

  4. I can’t wait to go back to Hong Kong one day-it has been way too long! 🙁

  5. You ate bloody well in your short trip to HK! Under Bridge Spicy Crab is a true HK institution. Next time you go, order the mantis shrimp – known colloquially as pissing prawn – it also comes with the garlic chilli crispy bits!

  6. There is just SO SO SO SO much to eat in HK isn’t there??? I miss it already and I was there not very long ago!!

  7. Cannot wait to get back there one day. This is such a great incentive.

  8. Oh my goodness that spicy crab looks amazing. I’ve only ever whizzed through HK airport as a stopover, never had a chance to visit the city yet – would love to.

  9. Ah – some obvious choices in there. But I have to agree Posto Publicco is amazing, really good food but what is outstanding is their service! What about dim sum, no recommendations for Hong Kong?

  10. MsIhua – Nothing like a good list.

    Hannah – I hope the chocolate soufflé picture satisfied you then

    Lorraine – I know, such a fun place to visit.

    Mr Noodles – I think I would order the pissing prawn just so I could say the name.

    Catty – You could spend years there and not do all the eating you wanted to. My wish list was so long.

    Tori – Such a fun city. I am already scheming as to how to go there again – perfect stop over for the London to Oz trip.

    Katy – It was brilliant – garlic, chilli, crab – what’s not to love?

    Bluebalu – I did a separate post on dim sum – here it is – http://www.gourmet-chick.com/2011/12/guide-to-eating-dim-sum-in-hong-kong.html

  11. Went to Spicy Crab Under the Bridge yesterday! Really good fun, it was a little quiet as we went at lunch but on your advice we only ordered one crab between the two of us and it was just right. The spice level was really spot on as well. The only thing i did find a little cheeky was charging for the small pot of peanuts that get dumped on your table automatically and the tea. But otherwise a great recommendation.

  12. Dex – glad to hear you liked it. Yes charging for the nuts is a bit cheeky I agree.

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