Continuing my reviews of the Hong Kong dining and boozing scene (I started with fab wine bars Le Cabane and Le Quinze Vins), here are a few mentions.
First of all, a proper old school tea house: Luk Yu. This is a large art deco-style building, and since the 1930s it has served tea and dim sum with no frills. You don’t stay long here (and you can’t: we got a table for an hour – this is a popular place), but the dim sum is just lovely.
We went to a couple of other tea house chains in Kowloon, and ate very well for virtually nothing.
Next, two restaurants quite similar in their approach. Ho Lee Fuk is a bustling basement Chinese-fusion restaurant that is packed with tourists and ex-pat westerners. This is not authentic Chinese, but the cooking is excellent, with lovely flavours, beautifully presented. I liked the wine list too: conventional and not long, but with some nice bottles from good producers. We chose the Benanti Etna Rosso, which was fresh, nicely defined and quite elegant. Cocktails were excellent.
The downside? They turn the tables ruthlessly here and operate a no booking policy for parties of fewer than 5. This makes good business sense, but it feels like you are being used a bit. You are paying special night out prices for a table you only have for 90 minutes. Bill was HKD1817 (£175), and we didn’t go crazy. Overall: this is worth a splurge because the food is so good, but it’s testing the margins of value.
Mott32 is similar, in that it’s Chinese fusion cooking, but it’s done even better. This is a fancy joint at the bottom of the Standard Charter building near Central MTR, and the dining room just looks beautiful. We managed to snag a booking at 2130 on a Sunday evening, phoning up mid afternoon, and it was thoroughly worth it. I really enjoyed our meal. We began with cocktails, which were creative and delicious. Then a succession of dishes, each perfectly executed and compelling. And tasty as.
Deserts were pretty spectacular, too. This is a glitzy, high-end place aiming at the luxury dining market, and it’s brilliantly done.
Our wine choice from a good but not great list was the fab Petalos from Alvaro Palacios: fresh, floral and fruit driven.
Finally, DiVino. We stumbled across this Italian wine bar/bistro, and had an enjoyable afternoon. We ate a little bit, but mostly drank. The wine list here is pretty good, with Italy a strength, as you’d expect. The staff were very good, and handled the wines well on a very hot, humid afternoon, using ice judiciously.
We started with Massolino’s Langhe Nebbiolo 2013. I really love Massolino. It’s a beautiful expression of Nebbiolo.
Then it was off to Tuscany for the Ca Marcanda Promis 2015 from Gaja. This is ripe but focused: a really nice balanced wine that tastes like a slightly amped up high-end Bordeaux.