Never one to shy away from new openings, the dining scene in Hong Kong continued to thrive in 2019. We witnessed the launch of some very exciting new concepts as well as restaurants that travelled from overseas to join our dynamic city. From contemporary French cuisine and a luxury smokehouse and grill, to a modern approach to Japanese sushi and even a wine-focused eatery — we had it all, and then some. But if you’re wondering which ones came up top, then read on for our top eight restaurant openings of 2019.
Shane Osborn, the Australian chef behind one Michelin-starred Arcane and Netflix’s Final Table contestant, did it again with his second establishment Cornerstone. Occupying a smaller 24-seat space on Hollywood Road, the modern bistro feels more relaxed but is every bit as fantastic. Offering all-day dining, the menu is short, concise and filled with items that showcase the season’s best produce, in true Australian style. Simple, but refined, and extremely satisfying, the food hits all the right notes and dishes are updated regularly. Signatures include a Salmon with herb cream cheese, homemade malt bread and cornichons, as well as a hearty mushroom Tagliatelle with optional white truffle (when the season is right).
Cornerstone, 49 Hollywood Road, Central
When former Rhoda chef Nathan Green left the Ritz-Carlton, we all waited in anticipation to find out where he might turn up next. Thankfully, fans of his work will be pleased to know he did not go far. For he is now the Chef de Cuisine of the American grill, smokehouse and butcher concept Henry. Located in yet another opening of the year, Rosewood Hong Kong, Henry offers a menu inspired by the flavours and ingredients of America’s southern states. From premium cuts and signature meats such as the 44 Farms Texas whisky and ash-aged beef, T-bone and porterhouse, to dishes including a Butcher’s shop terrine, Henry’s burger and an indulgent Mac & cheese with devilled lobster.
Henry, Level Five, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 3891 8732
Hong Kong has many French fine dining options to choose from, but when the restaurant is led by seasoned chef Olivier Elzer, it’s worth paying extra attention to. Recently awarded its first Michelin star, L’Envol offers innovative French gastronomy with curated tasting menus. During our first visit, we enjoyed beautifully presented dishes that were executed with precision and always remained balanced in flavour. The menu changes seasonally, but is always excellent, and is offered in an equally impressive restaurant which comes complete with its own French cheese cave.
L’Envol, 3/F, The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai; +852 2138 6818
It was only a matter of time that celebrated chef Julien Royer of Odette, Asia’s Best Restaurant 2019, would spread his culinary wings to our shores and he did so with Louise earlier this year. The concept is inspired by the traditional French cuisine that Royer was brought up on, and is now led by Executive chef Franckelie Laloum. The menu showcases honest cooking with a modern twist using the best (and local where possible) ingredients. Highlight dishes include the sautéed Hong Kong frog legs with parsley and garlic chips, Angel hair pasta with Kristal caviar, and the roasted Hong Kong yellow chicken with Nigata rice en cocotte.
Louise, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central; +852 2866 0300
If you were to guess the meaning of this restaurant’s name, you probably wouldn’t have thought it was connected to Mono-ha, the 1960s Japanese art movement. But this contemporary French restaurant is indeed inspired by the same essentialist approach. Hence, offering a single ingredients-driven tasting menu, which changes with the seasons. Furthermore, Petrus alum chef Ricardo Chaneton who also came from Mirazur; the World’s Best Restaurant 2019, uses his background and memories to add South American nuances to his cuisine. The result of which is stunning. Think Ocean crudo with perfectly cooked seafood brightened with leche de tigre and a Miéral pigeon dish served with a deep and flavoursome 26-ingredient mole.
Mono, 5/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central; +852 2200 7000
Another new Hong Kong restaurant to be awarded its first Michelin star is overseas import Roganic. Hailing from London, acclaimed chef Simon Rogan has brought with him a restaurant that offers contemporary British cooking with the same farm-to-table concept as its sister. Having visited both restaurants, we got to know Rogan’s cuisine quite well and found that his focus was always on letting the flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s apparent in his exceptionally executed menu with seasonal dishes such as the leek, turnip and yellow chicken or Seaweed custard with beef tendon and pike perch.
Roganic, Sino Plaza, UG/F 08, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2817 8383
As the new Amber and Sushi Shikon marked its place in The Landmark Mandarin Oriental this year, so did French neo-bistro Somm. Offering an incredibly diverse selection of over 1,600 champagnes, wines and sakes, the restaurant also serves up some really fantastic dishes too. A concise and seasonal menu currently includes items such as freshly shucked Ebisu winter oysters or signature dishes such as Japanese Pork Belly with BBQ Sauce & Hakata Cabbage. All dishes can be thoughtfully paired with the sommelier’s choice or guests can experiment themselves, making it the ideal restaurant for both wine newcomers and connoisseurs alike.
Somm, 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central; +852 2132 0055
8. The Araki
One more restaurant coming in from the British isles is Mitsuhiro Araki’s namesake The Araki, which opened recently in Tsim Sha Tsui’s 1881 Heritage. Having previously been awarded three Michelin stars in both Tokyo and London, one wonders if the stars will follow. The concept remains the same in the Hong Kong outpost and offers Araki’s renowned style of sushi which honours the origins of Edomae. It therefore makes use of local seafood such as fresh Hong Kong tiger prawns, mantis shrimp and clams. Paving the way for non-Japanese sushi masters. Expect more than the sushi you know, as that is certainly what we experienced here.
The Araki, Block, House 1881, G/F, Stable, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 3988 0000