Hong Kong’s Newest Culinary Hotspots

Paul Ehrlich

 

From creative comfort food to new twists on tapas, four new Hong Kong restaurants court diners most tastefully.

 

 

Comfort

 

This casually styled restaurant by Michelin-star chef Harlan Goldstein is aptly billed as “food for friends;” hearty, down-home and delicious comfort food to be shared and enjoyed by food lovers. Here, familiar dishes veer into new territory with Goldstein’s own tasty touches; others inspired by recipes from his global travels.

 

You can easily survive on just sharing starters, like the hot and spicy patatas bravas, one of Goldstein’s favorite Spanish dishes; Japanese Wagyu beef croquettes; Mexican pulled pork tacos with cumin sour cream and spiced avocado; crispy soft shell crab with Asian slaw and spicy sriracha mayo; slow-cooked and smoked pork ribs with balsamic syrup; and tiger prawns and chorizo with crispy garlic. 

 

But forge on to the mains, which should not be missed. Billed as “Kick Ass MaC & Cheese,” this creamy delicious kid-friendly dish is here made with Argentinian pork sausage, organic mixed cheeses and crumbs; or grilled king prawns in Singapore black pepper sauces served with fried buns, which, Goldstein notes, he learned how to make “from my Uncle Raymond in Singapore;” or roasted salmon steak with Thai yellow egg crab curry and crispy garlic bread, a dish he mastered “from my Thai chef Pachuen at the Aberdeen Marina Club.”

 

Other standouts include slow-cooked beef cheek with mash and gravy; melt-in-your-mouth pork belly bao bao with hoi-sin sauce; and Japanese wagyu beef croquettes. Or the excellent McHarlan umami burger, piled high with truffled mushooms, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked gouda and shichimi mayo. The staff are friendly and motivated with a likeable informality that defines the dining experience.

 

 

Congress Plus

 

Literally spoiled for choice with 120 buffet items, Congress Plus is a foodie’s fantasy. The restaurant features an extensive variety of international cuisines that are creatively designed using a selection of healthy and sustainable “green” ingredients presented at “live cooking” stations by award-winning chefs. The sprawling 20,000 sq. ft restaurant seats about 300 persons with stunning views of Victoria Harbour from an expansive wall of windows. The contemporary cityscape decor incorporates “green” materials, such as re-used wine bottle screens for decorations and bamboo flooring.

 

While the selection is overwhelming, the restaurant takes an ethical approach to what’s being served. For example, the sustainable seafood ranging from New Zealand black abalone to whelks, scallops, clams and snow crab legs, is based on guidelines from World Wildlife Fund and Marine Stewardship Council, and fresh and healthy ingredients—including their own grown herbs—are used, along with organic produce, and avocado and olive oils.

 

Start your indulgent journey with more than 50 appetizers, including sushi and sashimi; 36-month aged Iberico ham; chorizo sausages; tapas of sea grape, tomatoes, tofu and mushroom; and Maine lobster with udon and soba noodles. Or dip into some soups, like the signature seafood soup with whole black abalone.

 

Also leave room for the Wagyu beef, Peking duck, roasted and Hainan chicken, and/or pan-fried king prawns. But remember, this is marathon dining, so relax and pace yourself; there’s still over 30 dessert items to make a sweet finish. Advice: between buffet stations enjoy one of the organic and biodynamic red and white wines, and take in the breathtaking view of one of the world’s most famous harbors and the bejeweled skyline of Kowloon across the water.

 

 

Sushi To

 

Sushi To, also by Harlan Goldstein, is a 6,800 sq ft Japanese restaurant with modern Japanese-style furnishings, teppanyaki and sake bar, sushi bar, two modern private dining rooms, and an outdoor cocktail terrace with 29th-floor views that can also be seen inside through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Expected from Goldstein, the food is expertly executed; unique, redefined dishes with bold, delicious ingredients.

 

Start with a jet-fresh sashimi platter or some funky maki rolls with their creative combinations. The Magic Mushrooms will get your taste buds high with its savory mix of porcini, shiitake mushroom, crispy tempura flake and white truffle mayo. Balancing flavor with flair, try the botan shrimp with tuna tartar and salmon roe.  The same with the creative Nigiri sushi: unctuous seared salmon with grain mustard mayo and caviar, or the delicate white soy-marinated tuna with salted konbu seaweed and sesame.

 

Moving down the menu, it’s hard to go wrong. The range of robatayaki, a Japanese method of slow-grilled cooking, includes succulent miyazaki black pork loin steak with black truffle miso sauce; broiled saikyo miso-marinated silver cod; 30-day aged Australia lamb rack with spicy chili and red miso sauce; and 60-day aged grilled beef rib eye teriyaki steak.

 

Teppanyaki temptations include South Africa abalone, sea urchin, salmon roe and green seaweed sauce; Boston lobster with black crab roe and sea urchin butter sauce; Hokkaido king crab with mushroom, asparagus, and crab miso butter sauce; and French foie gras with fig, Japanese yam and black caramel sauce. If befuddled by the choices, try one of the set-course menus. And compliment your dinner with one of the 20 different sake. Knowledgeable staff are glad to recommend perfect pairings.

 

 

Supergiant

 

Located in the retro Chinese glam Mira Moon boutique hotel, Supergiant’s cuisine is a perfect match with its creative selection and presentation of Spanish tapas.

 

Amid a décor of white sculptures, black chandeliers, and flickering candles—or under the stars on the outdoor patio—choose from a menu that captures the spirit and flavor of authentic tapas-style dining along with fusion-styled and Asian-flavored creations.

 

Mix it up, however, with some of the yummy side bites, like thin slices of Serrano ham; crispy calamari and onion rings with black ink yuzo sauce for dipping; or Spanish sausages baked with shitake mushrooms and herb focaccia. Then try the lightly seared tuna bedded over sliced potatoes and piquillo peppers or pan-fried squid with artichoke and ink sauce. More? There’s also a range of main courses. Two that particularly stand out are king prawns and chorizo on a bed of risotto, and slow-cooked, crispy skin suckling pig with zucchini and apple puree.

 

Adjacent to the restaurant is a cocktail bar, perfect for drinks before or after dinner. But no need to leave your table; order with your food one of the delicious signature cocktails, such as A Geisha’s Kiss (sake, orange juice, grapefruit, lime and rose syrup), Supergria (red wine, rum, Cointreau and orange), or Fernando de Magellan (tequila, triple sec, pineapple and pineapple juice). Or choose from an impressive wine list.

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Paul Ehrlich is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

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