If you’re after a special occasion spot that doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious, The Flying Elk is for you. Opened back in the summer by three-Michelin star Swedish chef Björn Frantzén, the restaurant stole our hearts with its modern, Nordic-style comfort food. Dishes such as the 24-Hours Pork Cheek Open Sandwich ($185) and the Swedish Coffee and Tahiti Vanilla Crème Brûlée ($60), along with the show stopping Baby Chicken and Lobster “Pot-au-Feu” ($795) were favourites of ours for dinner, but make sure to also stop by and try out its recently launched “Lunch on the Fly”. The friendly and well-informed staff, creative cocktails, and relaxed setting are sure to have you coming back for more.
The Flying Elk, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.theflyingelk.com/hk
A recent opening, and one that we have already been back to try more than once, Artemis & Apollo stood out for us as one of the best new restaurants to open in the latter half of 2018. As ever with Black Sheep Restaurants, the food is high quality, the interior is slick and the service is knowledgeable and attentive. We suggest coming hungry, as the menu (that’s made up of classic Greek fare) is sure to pique your interest. We love the freshly baked pittas ($28), creamy hummus ($48), and the garlicky tzatiziki ($38), but when it comes to the mains, our stand-out dish is the Pork Souvlaki ($88). Tender, juicy and full of flavour, we enjoyed it most wrapped up in a warm pitta, with salad and a handful of Greek fries ($48). As with most newly opened eateries, you may have to wait a while for a table here, but we promise it will be worth it.
Artemis & Apollo, GF 9&11, Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.artemisandapollo.com
Rarely a weekend goes by when we don’t find ourselves at Bakehouse. Opened back in January of this year, and helmed by Chef Grégoire Michaud, this bakery is far from run of the mill. All of its baked goods are made fresh onsite every day, and whilst its sourdough ($30) is some of the best in the city, we love trying out its new and creative twists on the classics which can often be found in the well-stocked cabinet. Must-tries of ours include the Sourdough Egg Tart ($12), Double Chocolate Cookie ($18), Almond Danish ($30) and Chocolate and Hazelnut Doughnut. If you’re wanting to eat in, the bakery also serves up delights such as Country Sourdough French Toast ($88) and Potato Rosti with Jamon Serrano, Manchego Cheese and Poached Egg ($128) in house, but be sure to get there early to beat the inevitable queues.
Bakehouse, 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.bakehouse.hk
The very first time we walked into this Pirata Group restaurant on Star Street, we got a good vibe (and that was before we even got to the food). Madame Ching serves up modern Chinese cuisine in a cosy, stylish setting, and we love that you can watch the chefs at work through a window. Our go-to on the menu is the crispy General Son’s Chicken ($95), which comes with just the right amount of spice to keep your chopsticks coming back from more. Of course the BBQ roasted meats also stand out, with the pork belly ($130) and roasted duck ($180) being particular favourites. Can’t make up your mind? We always go for the Ching’s Banquet Menu at $350 per head. A selection of dishes from each section of the menu will be brought sharing-style to the table. Make sure you come hungry because the food keeps on coming!
Madame Ching, G/F, 5 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2577 7227, www.madameching.hk
Another standout of the year for us has got to be Fukuro. The cosy ambience combined with the outrageously delicious food make it the perfect spot for an intimate birthday dinner or date night. Even though the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, don’t let that be a deterrent as the menu items are well worth the wait – we still think about the Crispy Caramel Buttercorn ($78), the Spinach Ohitashi ($78), and our personal favourite, the Hamachi Collar ($158), although you can’t really go wrong with any of the offerings. What makes Fukuro stand out even more is the remarkable service from the staff, who go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable the minute you walk in, from giving us complimentary snacks to munch on while we waited for our table, to cheerfully guiding us through the many menu items. It’s a spot we continue to go back to time and time again.
Fukuro, 1-5 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong, www.fukuro.com.hk
Although The Wise King opened in the summer, we only recently got around to trying out this cocktail bar, but will sure be going back soon. We’re always suckers for a hidden bar, and this spot is definitely worth seeking out. Truly fit for a king, the interiors are romantic and cosy, and upon entering, you instantly feel like you’ve stumbled upon a drinking lounge of times past – with the dim lighting only adding to this. On our visit, the expert bartenders even rustled up a drink for us that wasn’t on the menu – but the signature drinks menu includes creative cocktails that are as rich in flavour as they are in stories.
The Wise King, 25 Staunton Street, Basement, Tsung Wing Lane, Central, Hong Kong, www.thewiseking.com
Opening in December 2017, Pici Central fast became one of our favourite casual lunch and dinner spots for 2018. And there are oh so many reasons why it’s on our list! On the decor side, we’re a huge fan of open kitchens. We love watching food being prepared and are always totally mesmerised by the chefs expert pasta making skills. Restaurants with both indoor and outdoor dining are also always high on our list with the unpredictability of Hong Kong weather – so that was another box that Pici ticked. Add a great playlist and high ceilings and we’re all in! But the food here is what really sets it apart – with unpretentious, simple dishes cooked and presented well. The Burrata with tomato, olive and rocket ($95) is so creamy you can almost spread it. The Classic Lasagne ($120) is also a solid favourite, but the desserts here are simply to die for, and we would happily go there just for the Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis ($55) – not to mention the heavenly Tiramisu ($55)! Our top tip? Come hungry and opt for the tasting menu ($280 per person), and try a selection of starters, pastas and desserts.
Pici, G/F, 24-26 Aberdeen Street, SoHo, Hong Kong, www.pici.hk
Kailash Parbat is a North Indian eatery that has been around for more than 65 years, but it made its debut in Hong Kong this year, with stunning interiors and the cutest food displays. We always go for our favourite Chaat (a snack-like Indian street food), Pani Puri ($70) and Bombay Bhel Puri ($70), which are served on little rickshaw cycles – but end up eating almost everything we can from the street food menu. We’d recommend going with a group and ordering as many starters as possible – desi food is for sharing and Kailash Parbat is a great place for it.
Kailash Parbat, 302, 3/F, Multifield plaza, 3-7 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.kailashparbat.com.hk
This Tai Hang restaurant opened in March and schooled us all on how to nail casual neighbourhood dining. Specialising in laid-back Aussie-style fare, Elementary won us over with dishes such as its Elementary fried cauliflower ($88), Chilli crab pasta ($148), and homemade ice cream sandwiches ($58) – not to mention its epic Fancy poutine, with fries, oxtail gravy, blue cheese and runny egg ($158). We also love stopping by here for brunch (served weekends and public holidays, from 9am to 3pm) and indulging in the Breakie Burger ($108) or the Elementary Fried Toast ($138). The relaxed vibe, friendly staff and fresh food will ensure you come back.
Elementary, 15-16 School Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, www.elementary.hk
We’re always fans of Middle Eastern cuisine, and FRANCIS hit the nail on the head with its authentic Tel Aviv-inspired offerings when it opened back in January. The hummus ($80) is some of the creamiest we’ve tried in the city – topped off with a chickpea and lamb neck ragu, and eaten with plenty of still-warm pitta it’s dangerously addictive. Make sure to save room though, as other meze dishes such as the Grilled Octupus with harissa and burgul potato cake ($170) are worth a try. What we loved most about FRANCIS was how delicious its vegetable dishes were. Far from side dishes, the Sweet Potato with paprika, israeli couscous and feta ($90) sung off the plate. Not sure what to order? Let the pros do it for you with the restaurant’s “Let Us Cook” menu (priced at $360 per person), and be sure to wash down your feast with a glass of wine from the well-curated list.
FRANCIS, 4 & 6 St. Francis Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.francis.com.hk