Once again Hong Kong is proving itself as a leading player on the global restaurant scene with a dizzying array of new restaurant openings, from Michelin-starred fine dining to hole-in-the-wall takeaways, here are some of the more high-end eccentric places that we recommend across the city in 2018:
This super trendy place is actually a three-in-one endeavor. Aqua Spirit is the breathtakingly chic lounge upstairs, and Aqua Tokyo and Aqua Roma are the restaurants downstairs. Since this place opened in 2000, Aqua has been one of the outstanding dining and nightlife destinations in Hong Kong taking full advantage of the prime location on the uppermost floors of the iconic ‘One Peking’ building near the Kowloon waterfront. Aqua offers spectacular views through soaring glass walls, looking out across Victoria Harbor, and to the Hong Kong Island skyline and beyond. With an accomplished combination of outstanding contemporary interior design, and a sophisticated dining and nightlife concept, Aqua provides a memorable experience for the most discerning global travelers or local residents. Occupying a cavernous, glass-encased space within the upper two levels of the tower, the restaurant at Aqua serves from two kitchens – Aqua Roma offering the finest modern Italian cuisine; and Aqua Tokyo presenting an inventive traditional Japanese cuisine. The chic nightspot – Aqua Spirit – features luxurious bar and lounge seating, and with nightly performances from high-profile resident and international DJs, aqua spirit, is one of the most glamorous nightlife venues in Hong Kong. Coming here is not simply a case of filling up on food, but an entire delicious experience with few equals in Hong Kong.
BIBO is set inside a historic building on Hollywood road, which hosts a Parisian type saloon with beautiful marble flooring and tasteful light fixtures at the entrance. Designers had a tough job of connecting French cuisine with street art, so a story from the past was invented, where the restaurant was supposedly installed inside the deserted regional main office of a fictional French company, CGFT – “La Compagnie Générale Française de Tramway” and so all furnishings that are used, timetables, ticket machines and other decorative details are all incorporated within the design to support the invented history. Art adorning the space is, as the story tells it, the work result of many artsy squatters who used to gather in what was an “abandoned” building, living, eating and painting. Looking from afar, the restaurant gives impression of a harmonious whole, but details reveal all the thought that went into the interior – Menus are printed in the form of vintage train schedules, for example. Brass piping reminds of subway ventilation systems, evoking the underground nature of street art, and the combination of specially made furniture, such as the stacked marble bar, supporting the artwork, is filled with evocations of neglected spaces, dark urban corners suitable for street creativity. While each table in the space has been rendered individually. One of the best features of the restaurant is a dimly lit library, with sofas, carpets and artwork, leading into the main area. BIBO, the first street art restaurant, is modern, elegant and visually exciting, inviting the hip, the classic and the evergreen crowd to come and enjoy the exquisite French menu.
- CASTELLO 4
So what makes Castello 4 such a unique place? Located within a commercial building in the heart of Hong Kong, Castello 4 Italian restaurant and bar welcomes its guests with an astounding visual impact that appears when the elevator doors open. The designers really managed to transform this unit – within an ordinary building – into a revolutionary hall with the intention to amaze and draw attention in an instant. This place really brings you a unique dining experience; offering classic European cuisine with a Mediterranean twist and a smorgasbord of sensations for your palate. Nestled in the metropolis of Causeway Bay next to Times Square, the place defines stylish elegance and contemporary designs, insulating you from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area.
In Mandarin, Hutongs refer to the typically narrow streets, alleyways and old courtyard housing which mainly represented the heart and soul of old Beijing – there are now only a few left. But here in Hong Kong, Hutong takes the form of something very different – a gem of a Chinese restaurant with a Hutong setting straight out of old Beijing! While Hutong already opened back in 2003, it still stands at the forefront of Hong Kong’s restaurant design scene, because the space is so amazingly decorated and truly presents itself as a little courtyard house in Beijing with wooden doorways, birdcages, dividers made to look like grey brick walls with circular doorways, as well as antiquated Chinese timber furniture that is rustic in style. With its handcrafted red lanterns and many ornate stone archways this eatery really pays homage to ancient oriental glamour and it transports you way back in time. Apart from the décor which is majestic, Hutong also stands-out with a top-notch Chinese menu, with a definite wow factor, that is certain to impress as well as a delightful city view. If you ever are in Hong Kong for a visit, this Beijing-style Hutong in the heart of the city is a perfect place for a wonderful evening.
Few people would visit AMMO and not be a bit taken aback by the space, as there really is nothing else like it in Hong Kong. Designed by Joyce Wang, whose previous projects included the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, the restaurant is theatrical. The design is inspired by Alphaville, a 1965 sci-fi by Jean-Luc Godard, and the spiral staircases that hang halfway down the ceiling are just one of the more dramatic and beautiful aspects of the design. Done in shades of copper and bronze, AMMO is particularly beautiful and warmly lit at night, although we will also enjoy going during the day time, where the greenhouse-like structure of the restaurant allows you to enjoy the foliage that surrounds the building. AMMO has an excellent wine by the glass menu, perfect for those who just want to pop in for a few drinks after work and nibble on some tapas. By the bottle, the price range is more than reasonable, and the wine list is also super user-friendly, with tasting notes and points awarded to each of them. The service at AMMO is good, but not flawless – given the impressive decor and generally good quality of the dishes here, this is very good value for money and explains why AMMO is always packed.