TOP TABLES – Winter Eats
Kaiseki dining at Gassan
Embracing the social spirit of kaiseki culture, Gassan presents a theatrical Japanese fishing village dining experience from its location at H Queens Central.
Featuring a traditional yakatabune houseboat, the dockside theme is the brainchild of restaurant group The Food Story, which owns another Japanese joint, Hiyama, in Harbour City. Focused on kaiseki ryori banquet-style cuisine, the main open dining area resembles a quiet outdoor park and serves up multi-course sets and a la carte specialties showcasing jet-fresh fish flown in from Japan. Traditional Japanese cooking methods define each course, including sakizuke amuse bouche pickles, suimono soup, tsukuri sashimi and simmered takiawase, a shokuji rice specialty. If you love a tipple, the wine cellar houses more than 300 bottles and 50 labels of sake and whisky. thefoodstoryhk.com
Dish to try: The Sakaemasu Premium Junmaidaiginjo Nama (2019) is sharp, sour and fruity, enhanced with rich umami from gohyakumangoku sake rice.
Spanish Bodega Majo Opens in SoHo
Hong Kong’s Woolly Pig newest dining destination is the Majo Tapas and Paella Bar, a vibrant joint located in the heart of SoHo. Majo offers diners and happy hour goers of all persuasions and appetites an innovative menu of approachable Spanish fare, including tapas, Spanish hams and cold cuts, as well as classic Spanish sharing dishes that pair well with signature tipples. A true showstopper at Majo will be the paella selection, created and executed by executive chef Alberto Sancassani, who is passionate about all things paella. Majo will also offer an extensive selection of Spanish boutique wines with many labels available by the glass. woollypig.com.hk
Dish to try: Sample some authentic paella in the heart of Hong Kong.
Mamma’s Debuts At Basehall
A spin-off of Mama Always Said in SoHo, Mamma’s at Basehall serves up hearty, Italian dishes in cool, laid-back fashion at its pop-up pasta kitchen in the upscale food hall, where it opened late last year.
Expect platefuls of pesto orecchiette, lamb lasagne and aperitivo cheese boards for that home-cooked feel. For an indulgent lunch, Mamma’s set menu includes parma ham & focaccia or Caprese salad to start, a pasta special, and fresh lemonade or sodas. Heading over for dinner or a relaxed weekend lunch? Then make the experience even more authentic with a glass (or bottle) from its Italian house wine menu.
An izakaya meets a speakeasy at Kacho Fugetsu
Missing that izakaya vibe? Then pull up a stool at contemporary urban izakaya & cocktail lounge Kacho Fugetsu, which recently opened at Cubus in Causeway Bay. Signature dishes include matsuba crab roll with sea urchin topped with caviar, steamed wild-caught Tasmanian abalone with sake, pan-seared amadai with sweetcorn sauce, steamed hand-caught bay lobster with homemade spicy sauce, and Japanese pot rice with foie gras and eel. For a memorable feast, a thematic omakase chef’s choice menu is available on request and served in a private room for up to eight guests. Head down two floors to Kacho Fugetsu’s 23/F cocktail lounge, a darkly theatrical speak-easy, to sample Japanese canapes and an extensive sake list alongside Japanese gin and vodkas. kachofugetsuhk.com
Dish to try: The matsuba crab roll with sea urchin topped with caviar delivers a high-end take on a classic sushi bite.
Wine pairings and fusion fare at Bacchus
Serving up modern Asian-influenced French cuisine and seasonally driven wines, Bacchus aims to educate local diners on wine with renowned sommelier Hervé Pennequin curating one of Hong Kong’s most extensive and esoteric wine lists, with more than 800 labels from around the world to choose from. Consultant chef Laurent Varachaud and executive chef Mickael Messina (see interview p86-87) have melded the iconic flavours of their childhood with Asian influences. Start the night with the signature opera of duck foie gras, with layers of classic duck foie gras, joconde sesame biscuit and red wine jelly, with a side of sancho pepper, or the Japanese sea urchin & black angus beef sirloin rolls. Mains include Alain Senderens’ Apicius Duck Magret Revisited, a tribute to the late chef’s’ signature duck dish based on an Ancient Roman recipe that features spiced honey roast duck breasts, injected with additional Japanese flavours on the side. Similarly, the poached Macao dover sole in filets and sake creamy sauce is another classic French dish given a Japanese twist, topped with umibudo sea grapes and sake sauce. bacchus.hk
Dish to try: We reckon Senderens’ Apicius Duck Magret Revisited is a must-try – he was famed for his Asian-inspired dishes and known as the Picasso of French cooking, after all.
Ask For Alonzo Launches in SoHo
Hong Kong hospitality group, Deadly Rabbits, has opened its fourth iteration of popular Italian eatery Ask For Alonzo in SoHo.
What’s on the menu? Signature dishes like roasted Italian suckling pig and Alonzo’s carbonara return on the à la carte dinner menu, and can also be enjoyed at lunch, with the main dish transformed into a roasted Italian suckling pig anini or paired alongside selected starters and desserts like tomato bruschetta and Alonzo’s signature tiramisu. Pasta lovers will also appreciate the rotating seasonally driven specials, including spiralotti with nduja, sundried tomatoes, baby spinach and ricotta cheese.
Next up for Deadly Rabbits is Porkcentric, a nose-to-tail pork concept where meat lovers can find sustainable pork dishes. In addition to the launch of Ask For Alonzo SoHo and Porkcentric, Deadly Rabbits will launch Japanese comfort food restaurant Don Sando in 2022. askforalonzo.com
Dish to try: Don’t miss Alonzo’s signature dish, the roasted Italian suckling pig.