India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Wine & Dine
March 18, 2012

Hungry for Hong Kong

Text by Shaista Vaishnav.

The jewel of the Orient happens to be brimming with more than 11,000 restaurants and bars that leave you hankering for more. Verve discovers one of the world’s dining capitals, bite by bite…

A platter of fruits, delectable mini-burgers and tall mugs of beer all look up at me waiting to be devoured. But I’m too busy devouring the view across the harbour. Hong Kong’s breathtaking skyline is comparable only to Manhattan’s. Some evergreen Beatles numbers belted out by a live band at a fun sea-front café called The Doghouse, Tsim Sha Tsui, completed my absolutely perfect evening. Like most evenings in Hong Kong. With enchanting sea-front or roof-top bars almost everywhere you go in Central or Kowloon and a multitude of food hubs to choose from, even a few weeks spent here barely reveal the tip of the culinary iceberg.

In a city where offerings are almost as varied as its melting-pot of inhabitants – from Malaysian to Filipino, Vietnamese to Mexican, Japanese to Moroccan – there’s bound to be something for every palate. Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s celebrated party-zone is full of surprises at every corner, with multi-cuisine restaurants and theme bars. While Soho is where you can step onto the world’s longest escalator and travel up to find cosy eateries representing almost every cuisine around the globe. Tourists love to book a table at Hong Kong’s major attraction – the floating restaurant Jumbo and rightly so. The interiors are as opulent as any Oriental palace and the Peking duck and dim sums are still to die for. Shopping hubs like Causeway Bay, Temple Street and Mongkok complete the street food experience, with tasty fish balls, bubble tea, egg tarts and warm waffles with butter or honey. And if fine dining is what you’re after, then Hong Kong will spoil you for choice.

When it comes to wining and dining, Hong Kong is on top, literally. With its multitude of roof-top bars, the stars are almost always within reach. At Ozone for instance, located on the 118th floor of the swanky Ritz-Carlton, if the wind doesn’t blow you away, its array of cocktails and snacks will. Officially known as the highest bar in the world, Ozone is stocked with the best spirits available in Asia and dishes out lip-smacking Asian tapas and Japanese fare. We loved their colourful signature cocktails, christened Senses and Aria 118 respectively; and the delicious Diver Scallops and Dungeness Crab Fritters that served as accompaniments complemented them perfectly. Of course, the panoramic view of Western Asia completed the experience.

Tott’s and Roof Terrace, at the Mandarin Oriental, selected as one of Hong Kong’s Best Restaurants in 1996 and 1998 to 2011 by a Hong Kong glossy, not only offers exhilarating views of Victoria Harbour but also a live band every night and a delectable Sunday Champagne Brunch, complete with a buffet of fresh seafood, a selection of made-to-order main courses, scrumptious desserts and free flowing champagne. Sugar at the East Hotel, Taikoo Shing Road, is yet another lesser-known roof-top bar, well worth the journey to its slightly far-flung location. Simply because the wine and view keep you in a high and happy place.

While Hong Kong never fails to disappoint a lover of world cuisine, it also reflects Cantonese culinary mastery at its finest. Two-Michelin-star awarded Ming Court, in the Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, crafts dishes of outstanding quality. Chef Tsang Chiu King’s mouth-watering pan-fried chicken skin filled with minced chicken and black truffles accompanied with sliced pumpkin; stir-fried sliced garoupa with assorted mushrooms and dried shrimp roe and stir-fried fresh shrimp with egg white are just some of the restaurant’s award-winning signature dishes. While the Ming Cellar’s latest wine list, housing over 430 wine labels from over 100 regions, not only organises wines geographically, but also sorts them by variety, flavour and grape, includes rating scales and offers Cantonese cuisine pairing suggestions.  All this is augmented by the ambience – a fascinating collection of replica Ming Dynasty pottery and ink landscape paintings by contemporary Chinese artists.

But for those with champagne tastes and beer budgets, Hong Kong leaves its best still. Step into Tim Ho Wan – the world’s most economical Michelin-star restaurant and you’ll see why. The food is well worth queuing up for, something you’ll be assured of when you dig into the fresh steamed shrimp dumplings and baked buns with BBQ pork. While every dish, from congee to the sweet buns will leave your heart full and your pocket light. The city’s famous chain Tsui Wah is also a favourite with locals and you’ll find it packed and buzzing any day of the week. Hong Kong’s culinary offerings have the same effect on you as the city. Leaving you satiated on a heady mix of delicious…yet always longing for more.

Delighting the senses

Safari. Liaison. Nordic. Mirage. Just some of the uniquely themed suites at one of Hong Kong’s most fascinating boutique hotels – The Luxe Manor, Tsim Sha Tsui. An intriguing celebration of the abstract and the extraordinary, with a delightfully rich, eclectic mix of Oriental and European interiors, The Luxe Manor is devoted to delighting all your senses. Nestled amidst the bustling nightspots of Knutsford Terrace, it boasts 153 stunning guest rooms and six themed suites, each offering an adventure and experience of its own. And when you can tear yourself away from the rooms, step into Dada for a drink. The Luxe Manor’s bar and lounge, is creatively reminiscent of the elusive Dada art movement, catering to the stylish segment of both the luxury leisure and business travellers. The hotel also offers culinary experiences like no other. Three-star Michelin Chef Bonelli not only offers extraordinary dishes but entirely new dining experiences at GE, Luxe Manor’s new-age restaurant. While FINDS, the hotel’s iconic Nordic restaurant features Scandinavian cuisine with fascinating molecular mixology by Chef Jaakko Sorsa. Luxe Manor’s charming allure even carries on to its three private dining rooms, each of which is an artistic manifestation of Heaven, Hell and Eden. All of which leave you spellbound.

Divine dining districts
Lan Kwai Fong,  Soho, O Deck Discovery Bay Gough Street and Kau U Fong,  Knutsford Terrace and Observatory Court,  Lei Yue Mun, Sai Kung, Ashley Road, Starstreet Precinct

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