Until recently, Hong Kong equated formality with status and sophistication. In recent years, however, the city’s drinking and dining scene has flourished, led by innovative establishments that have regional authenticity and a sense of cultural identity at their core.
6 MUST-VISIT SPOTS FOR EATING AND DRINKING IN HONG KONG
Indonesian import Potato Head brings a relaxed Balinese vibe to Hong Kong’s hip Sai Ying Pun neighborhood.
Conceived as a multiconcept space, the achingly stylish space combines a retail store, a restaurant serving dishes from its native archipelago, and a bar where classic cocktails are given an aromatic twist, as in its Indo Bloody Mary, spiced with sambal, tamarind, and fresh red chili.
However, time is best spent in the music room, a “secret” space dedicated to acoustic integrity, where audiophiles will appreciate the extensive vinyl library, and aesthetes the Wes Anderson– inspired midcentury interiors.
THE OLD MAN
Ernest Hemingway serves as the inspiration for The Old Man (a play on the writer’s The Old Man and the Sea), a compact cocktail bar from a trifecta of industry veterans: Roman Ghale, Agung Prabowo, and James Tamang.
An abstract mosaic in the novelist’s form watches over the bar, where masterful hands mix exceptional drinks, each of which is named for a Hemingway tale. Those lucky enough to get front-row seats should ask the bartenders to mix up some off-menu Hemingway favorites.
DR. FERN’S GIN PARLOURDon’t be put off by its shopping mall location. Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour is one of the city’s best hidden bars. Behind an unassuming door marked “Consulting Room,” staff in white lab coats wait to ensure that you receive proper treatment for whatever ails you in the form of a libation— gin-based, of course. With over 250 bottles to choose from, there is one for every palate, as well as impeccably executed versions of the classics.
After outgrowing its original (and cramped) Sheung Wan site, Hong Kong’s original hipster hangout recently upsized. Thankfully, it lost none of its effortless cool in the process.
Unfortunately—despite being able to accommodate significantly more diners—the wait times are just as long, which should be seen as testament to the quality of Yardbird’s yakitori offerings rather than reason to complain. Prized for its chicken skewers, the additional floor space is reflected in an expanded menu, which boasts delicately flavored seasonal dishes, all best washed down with the restaurant’s excellent selection of sake.
5 HAPPY PARADISEFrom May Chow, Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2017, a plaudit awarded by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Happy Paradise is also her most audacious endeavor. Mini mosaic tiles, terrazzo surfaces and unapologetic neon lighting assert this bold eatery’s proud Hong Kong identity from the outset, and the contemporary interiors are complemented by Chow’s inventive neo-Cantonese cuisine. At once nostalgic and entirely unique, dishes range from the simple—like char siu (barbecue pork) egg rice—to the adventurous, such as pig’s brain served with burnt pear vinaigrette— with plenty of elevated, reinterpreted classics in between.
NEW PUNJAB CLUB
campy service make New Punjab Club, the passion project of local group Black Sheep Restaurants, utterly charming.
Serving cuisine purely from the Punjabi region of northern India and Pakistan, vibrant tandoori, fragrant chaat and silky smooth makhani are big draws, with each dish taking its heritage seriously.
The restaurant is nothing if not playful, however, and a roving gin trolley ensures that a good time is had by all.