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Five hip new Hong Kong restaurants to try

29 May 2013

Mayta Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar

When did it open? April 2013

Where is it? 3/F, Grand Progress Building, 15 Lan Kwai Fong, Central

What does it serve? Sharing is the name of the game here. A selection of small and large plates are served, filled to the brim with ingredients and flavours that express the multicultural spirit of Peru, blending the Spanish, Japanese and Chinese influences in the country’s cuisine.

General vibe: Internationally recognised maestro of Peruvian cuisine Jaime Pesaque heads up the kitchen here, as well as having established Nuna in Uruguay, Suviche in Miami, and two restaurants in Peru. The restaurant’s interior combines wooden furnishings with Peruvian art touches to a modern, yet atmospheric effect. The venue seats 84 guests.

Recommended dish: Try one of the ceviche dishes – Peru’s answer to sushi. The Unifa (HK$148/US$19) features cubes of plump, tender salmon covered in lime juices and nuts – a treat for the tastebuds.

Details: Open 12 noon to 3pm daily for lunch; 6-11pm for dinner, tel; +852 2790 0928. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.

www.diningconcepts.com.hk

Sal Curioso 

When did it open? November 2012

Where is it? 2/F, 32 Wyndham Street, Central

What does it serve? Tapas, platters to share and mains from the grill. There’s a lot of seafood and barbequed meats, with a distinct Latin and Central American flavour.

General vibe: The husband-and-wife team of Chris Woodyard and Bronwyn Cheung have created this quirky and whimsical eatery based on a fictional character’s – Madam Sixty Ate – former lover. The Spanish Sal Curioso, as he would be called, is inventive, imaginative and original – just like the décor and the food served in this venue. Mosaic bar tiles and optical wallpaper adds eccentric flare to the overall Latin feel of the restaurant. There are three distinct seating areas that can house up to 100 people in total.

Recommended dish: Ribs & More (pictured) consists of smoked barbeque ribs (pork or beef), smoked tomatoes, chickpea friccasee and Carolina barbeque sauce. The price is HK$250 (US$32) with pork and HK$280 (US$36) with beef.

Details: Open daily, lunch 12pm- 3pm, dinner 6pm-12pm, tel; +852 2537 7555. Reservations are advised on weekends, but walk-in is available for those willing to wait.

www.curioso.com.hk

Stone Nullah Tavern

When did it open? March 2013

Where is it? G/F space on 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai

What does it serve? Contemporary American fare, constantly changing according to season and the produce available from the local farms where the chefs purchase their ingredients. Sharing is again the encouraged dining format – don’t expect oversized American portions here!

General vibe: This venue gives off a distinctly welcoming, relaxing, “tavern” kind of atmosphere. This is emphasised by the expansive shopfront at street-level, in the buzzing up-and-coming Queen’s Road East area of Wan Chai. This hip 70-seat eatery is a hot topic amongst those in the know. The bar, visible from the street, is a major focal point, with a selection of American beers on tap as well as whiskies, rums and bourbons from boutique brands.

Recommended dish: The Cheddarwurst (HK$150/US$19) homemade pork sausage with garlic, sage and melted cheese is devilishly divine. It’s served with sweet picked apples and a homemade English style mustard.

Details: Open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday), from 6-11pm, tel; +852 3182 0128

www.stonenullahtavern.com

Catalunya 

When did it open? April 2013

Where is it? G/F, Guardian House, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai

What does it serve? Contemporary Spanish derived from authentic Catalan recipes, and cooked up by a team of internationally renowned chefs from, amongst others, the touted El Bulli restaurant, in a tapas style.

General vibe: Catalunya is made up of about 750 sqm of interconnected venues housing 140 seats. It is the sister restaurant of the hugely popular Catalunya Singapore, and serves up an extensive selection of Spanish wines as well as tasty tapas. Clean wooden lines and minimalist décor set the scene for this culinary adventure.

Recommended dish: Catalunya tomato tartar (pictured) costs HK$100 (US$12.88) and perfectly showcases the restaurant’s experimental style.

Details: Open daily 6pm till late, tel; +852 2866 7900

www.catalunya.hk

22 Ships

When did it open? November 2012

Where is it? 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai

What does it serve? Trendy tapas is again how the Spanish cuisine at this hotspot is served up. Michelin Star Chef Jason Atherton creates inventive dishes with a twist. Great for sharing.

General vibe: This is top-grade fare served in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The venue has been full virtually every night since opening, with many return guests touting the tastiness of the tapas. The open kitchen is the epicentre of the restaurant around which a buzzing, lively atmosphere circulates.

Recommended dish: A meat eater’s favourite is the Spanish breakfast, chorizo and potato (pictured), which costs HK$98/US$12.60, while vegetarians appreciate the perfectly seasoned Tuna Tataki, avocado, tomato and soy (HK$118/US$15).

Details: Open Monday to Saturday from noon-3pm and 6-11pm, and Sundays noon-3pm and 6-10pm, tel; +852 2555 0722. No reservations are taken, and it gets busy so be sure to get there early to avoid disappointment.

www.22ships.hk

Look out for the buzz on the street, a feature on the up-and-coming Hong Kong neighbourhoods of Wan Chai, Sheung Wan and Tseung Kwan O on P28 the June edition of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

Alex Andersson

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