Hong Kong and its residents have been widely celebrated for its resilience — and its restaurant scene is no different.
Despite recent months of uncertainty, the wave of new restaurant openings in Hong Kong continue unabated, adding ever more variety to this international dining hub.
Whether you choose to dine out or in, here are five new offshoots and sister brands of MICHELIN-featured restaurants that offer even more delicious reasons to tuck in.
Address: Shop 7E187A – 7E187B, L7, East Wing, Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1, Lantau Island
Sushi is traditionally considered in Japan as a meal that should be slowly savoured — and not a concept you will expect to find at the throbbing heart of one of Asia's busiest airports.
But sushi chef Takashi Saito of two-MICHELIN-star Sushi Saito begs to differ. Earlier this year, chef Saito and his team launched Sushi Taka, a sister brand to his legendary Sushi Saito in Tokyo, which has a two-MICHELIN-star branch in Hong Kong.
The eatery is hard to miss: it is set in the middle of the food court on the departure level of the Hong Kong International Airport and its attractive lunar-shaped sushi counter is designed to draw attention to its chefs working in the middle of it.
“Since the opening of Sushi Saito in Hong Kong in 2018, I have always been hoping to create a sister brand for it. When we came across this location at the airport, we felt that it would be a good opportunity for us to reach a wider international audience,” chef Saito says.
While a meal at its MICHELIN-star flagship at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong can easily set you back over a thousand Hong Kong dollars per meal, the most expensive item at Sushi Taka is the deluxe sushi set of twelve pieces for HK$468 (US$60). Or you can order the sushi pieces à la carte starting from HK$68.
For chef Saito, apart from broadening the reach of customers for the brand, the opening of Sushi Taka serves another purpose for him and his apprentices.
“Many apprentices spend years in the kitchen learning the basics such as handling raw fish and making sushi, but rarely have a chance to serve customers at the itamae (in front of the chopping board),” which typically only has space for one or two chefs, chef Saito says. “The philosophy of Sushi Taka is to give young masters a chance to serve at the itamae as the final stage of their apprenticeship.”
Sushi Taka is helmed by Korean-born chef, Masa Lee, who had worked in Tokyo’s Sushi Saito for three years, followed by another two years in its Hong Kong branch. The eight front-row seats by the itamae are best reserved ahead of time. Otherwise, diners can also opt to have their sushi platters anywhere in the food court, or as a takeaway.
The decision to put his name to the restaurant reflects his personal guarantee of quality, according to chef Saito.
“I dare to say that the sushi created here is the best amongst others in the same price range,” chef Saito says firmly. The rice and vinegar used at Sushi Taka is the same as that of Sushi Saito, while their fish — albeit of a different grade — comes from the same award-winning fish wholesaler, Yamayuki, from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
Apart from sushi, Sushi Taka also offers sashimi, udon and donburi with further plans to add onigiri rice balls to the menu. The restaurant also offers a daiginjo sake pairing option for those with a little more time before their flights.
More branches of Sushi Taka are being blueprinted for Japan and Hong Kong, chef Saito hints. Watch this space.
Note: The opening hours for Sushi Taka is 6am to 11pm. Following Japanese tradition, sushi will not be served until 11am. Only udon will be served during breakfast.
Ming Court Wanchai
Address: Level 2, Great Eagle Centre, 23 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
When it first opened in 2005 as the first high-end Cantonese restaurant in Mongkok, Ming Court helped to change Hong Kong resident's perception of the neighbourhood. Now, the Langham Hospitality Group has opened a new branch of the one-star restaurant in Wan Chai to allow residents of Hong Kong island the chance to get a taste of Ming Court without having to cross the harbour.
The team at Ming Court Wanchai are all familiar faces: culinary director Tsang Chiu King was a core founding member of the original Ming Court in Mong Kok and guided the restaurant to its one and two star accolades in the past. After his last appointment at The Langham, Shenzhen, he relocated back to Hong Kong to take up the role as Culinary Director of Ming Court Wanchai. Executive Chef Chan Hon Cheong, meanwhile is a former teammate of Tsang's at Ming Court Mong Kok and previously the Chef De Cuisine of the MICHELIN-Plate One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
Accordingly, the restaurant's menu reflects the best of old and new: it features long-time favourites such as Scrambled Egg White with Shrimps and Perilla Leaf Crisp alongside innovative new creations such as Sautéed Tiger Prawn Slices with Asparagus, Steamed Scallops stuffed with Minced Shrimp and Crab Roe designed for Wan Chai's corporate crowd and young families.
The two men have also unveiled several new initiatives at Ming Court Wanchai. One of their proudest concepts is the “Chef’s Table”, an exclusive dining room that has a gigantic window looking into the kitchen, allowing diners to watch the skilful chefs prepare their next course while they eat. Guests are also welcome to visit the kitchen and interact with the chefs.
In addition, the restaurant has concocted several Chinese tea-based cocktails to pair with Cantonese-style bar bites, which chef Tsang hopes will set off a new dining trend. To cater to the rising crop of environmentally conscious diners, Ming Court will also work with Green Monday to create a series of vegetarian dishes, while staff uniforms are made with recycled water bottles and eco-friendly tencel fabrics.
The restaurant's minimalist and stylish interiors are designed by award-winning interior designer Steve Leung. Apart from the main dining area, there are six sound-proof banquet rooms, making it an ideal location for private functions or gatherings. “Even the sound of mah-jong games cannot penetrate these walls”, the restaurant manager says.
Address: Shop OTG 63, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
If you have been to San Sebastián in Spain, the name Amelia might ring a bell. The three-month-old restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui is the first Asian branch of the one-MICHELIN-star restaurant of the same name in San Sebastián. The restaurant serves Italian-inspired modern European cuisine and is christened after chef owner Paolo Airaudo's daughter Amelie.
It first opened in April 2017 and clinched one MICHELIN star in October the same year. The Argentinian-born Italian chef subsequently opened another Italian-Latin American restaurant, Da Terra, in London last year, which also won a MICHELIN star in the same year. Recently, Airaudo has decided to enter the Asia market and to open their first Asia branch in Hong Kong.
In line with chef Airaudo's love for playing with different cooking techniques and simple ingredients, Amelia’s dishes reflect his minimalist approach: a single ingredient may be puréed, sliced or pickled to portray its different textures and flavours. "Trying to get the most out of a single ingredient not only helps to champion a sustainable dining culture, but also presents a fun challenge for the kitchen," Airaudo says.
Dishes in their Hong Kong branch are equally straightforward and recommended dishes includes the Scorpion Fish With Tomato, Crème Fraiche And Dill as well as the Grilled Eggplant With Hazelnut, Stracciatella And Kalamata Olives. San Sebastian signatures such as the Home Made Bread With Butter And Bone Marrow also makes an appearance on the Hong Kong menu, along with a dessert of Caviar, Banana And Rum Ice Cream that showcases the chef's bold and playful approach to booking.
The 130-seater Hong Kong outpost is much larger than the San Sebastian original, and offers stunning views of Victoria Harbour through the restaurant windows.
Address: Shop 3020, Level 3, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central
After branches in Singapore and Toronto, Japan's one-MICHELIN-star ramen chain Sobahouse Konjikihototogisu has recently opened their first branch in Hong Kong at the IFC Mall. The chain's original branch in Shinjuku, Tokyo was awarded the Bib Gourmand distinction in 2015 followed by one MICHELIN star in the MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019, making it just one of the two MICHELIN-starred ramen shops in the Japanese capital.
Executive chef and founder of the ramen house, Atsushi Yamamoto has come a long way since opening in January 2006 with only eight seats and no publicity. There were times when he had to stay overnight at the restaurant and even almost went bankrupt. Still, he persevered with his aim to create "the most unique ramen in Japan" and carved out a niche for himself in the highly competitive ramen market in Japan by eschewing the conventional pork broth to make his ramen soup base with clams, pork and fish for added layers of complexity.
Eight years on, the crowds — and the accolades — still keep coming for his umami-rich bowls of comfort food topped with luxurious black truffle paste, dried porcini powder and dried porcini mushrooms oil.
The menu in Hong Kong offers five ramen options, including their best-selling Shoyu Hamaguri Soup Ramen made in-house with 100% premium Hokkaido wheat flour and served with three condiments and recommended instructions to "admire the ramen" by feeling it, taking in its aroma and sipping its soup before tucking in.
Apart from the signature order, other soup bases include flavours such as Shio Hamaguri, Tonkotsu, Tonkotsu Smoke & Pepper and Spicy Tonkotsu. They also offer a limited selection of donburi and snacks such as Slow Cooked Char Siu Mini Don and Fried Hanamidori Chicken.
EXTENDED READING: 7 MICHELIN-Recommended Ramen Joints In Tokyo
Hot 'N' Meen
Fans of popular Old Bailey Street restaurant Chilli Fagara can now have their Sichuan cuisine fix without having to leave their home or their office desk. The MICHELIN Plate restaurant this month launched their new takeaway-only brand, Hot ‘N’ Meen, which specialises in various cold starters, soup noodles and dry noodles.
Opened in 2006, the restaurant has built a loyal following for its Sichuan cuisine that you can order according to how much spice you are game for — be it “Ma” (numbness), “La” (spiciness), and “Tang” (hot but not spicy nor numb).
According to the restaurant's executive chef Chan Kai Ying, the new brand will diversify the restaurant's offerings by including non-Sichuan and non-spicy options for customers old and new. Incidentally, the well-timed delivery concept is also helping to cater to an uptick in demand for takeaway food — particularly individual portions — due to the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak.
The menu has been pared down to comprise ten noodle options and six appetisers, such as Jade Vegetables with Sesame Oil as well as Pork and Vegetable Dumplings in Artisanal Chilli Sauce. Among the noodle choices are popular Sichuan classics, including Dan Dan Noodles with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimps Served in Spicy Peanut Broth, along with non-Sichuan variations such as Beijing-style Noodles in Soybean Paste or the non-spicy Spring Onion Noodles with Scallion Oil and Dried Shrimp.
Chef Chan says that the restaurant has put in extra effort to ensure that the standard of cooking of Hot ‘N’ Meen mirrors that of Chilli Fagara, such as packing orders in takeaway boxes that keep the noodles separate from the soup in order to prevent them from becoming soggy during delivery. “When the food arrives, our customers can simply mix the different ingredients together easily and enjoy,” chef Chan said. Hot 'N' Meen is currently only available at Deliveroo.
This story is written by Mandy Li and translated by Billy Kwan. Click here to read the original article.