By Carolynne Dear for Hong Kong Living
The Chinese Library
Deliciously decorated in sumptuous style – think velvet-upholstered chairs and thick carpets in vibrant shades of jade green and aqua – The Chinese Library is very much the last word in old-world colonial charm. Huge floor-to-ceiling shuttered patio doors lead from the dining room onto elegant verandahs with views over Hollywood Road to one side and the old Parade Ground at the front of the building.
This Aqua-owned restaurant is situated on the top floor of the old Police Headquarters of Tai Kwun heritage complex and was inspired by the personal library of Chinese cookbooks belonging to Aqua Group founder, David Yeo. All the favourites are covered, from Cantonese to Chiu Chow and Sichuan to Shanghainese, with the very traditional alongside some more inventive dishes – and (of course) plenty of dim sum. If you have overseas guests in town this winter, this is a restaurant that will impress.
In an east-meets-west melange, Aqua has opened British-style Statement is in the next wing, separated by the rather fabulous Dispensary cocktail bar.
Dim Sum is served 11am-3pm; lunch 12-3pm; afternoon tea 3-5.30pm; dinner 6pm till late; Balcony dining (small plates) 12pm until late. chineselibrary.com.hk
Hong Kong’s current darling, the highly instagramable Madame Fu has been photographed to within an inch of its life since its opening earlier this summer – and with good reason. The modern Cantonese restaurant is designed by Hong Kong’s Christian Rhomberg and occupies the entire third floor of the former Barrack Block at Tai Kwun. The huge area has been divided into seven lavishly decorated rooms, including a wrap-around verandah, main dining room, two private dining rooms, a lunch room, library and glorious Pink Room.
Lavish attention to detail, gorgeous soft furnishings in velvets and silks as well as much colourful artwork has made this one of Hong Kong’s most glamorous spaces.
And with a restaurant helmed by award-winning Argentinian chef Connie Aldao-Worker, the food is very much up to parr. Northern Chinese specialities and dim sum abound. madamefu.com.hk
Chifa opened its doors earlier this summer and is a perfect stop-off for a bao-based feast.
‘Chifa’ is a culinary tradition based on Cantonese elements fused with traditional Peruvian ingredients. Many Chinese immigrants from Guangdong settled in Peru in the late nineteenth century and Chinese-Peruvian food has become one of the most popular cuisines in modern-day Peru.
Chinese dumplings are at the heart of Pirata’s chifu offering, along with Peruvian dipping sauces. Their violet xiaolongbau has become a bit of an Instagram star – the pink hue is created from a beetroot sauce. The open-style kitchen in a traditional dumpling house setting keeps the space buzzing and it’s handily located in the heart of SoHo on Peel Street. chifa.hk
Also relatively new on the Hong Kong foodie scene, Pinot Duck has opened in Wan Chai following a successful three years with its inaugural restaurant in Stanley.
As the name suggests, Pinot Duck focuses on doing two things really well. The duck-focused menu showcases different parts of the bird, and is divided into tasters, snacks and a selection of smaller and larger dishes that make it perfect for family-style dining. The experimental dishes are paired with carefully-selected Pinot grape wines. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – Pinot Duck promises a ducking good time. pinotduck.com
Named after the famous female pirate who once commandeered the China seas, Madame Ching sits in the trendy Star Street neighbourhood around the corner from Pacific Place. Opened in June 2018, the small-yet-fearless restaurant serves up Chinese-fusion dishes accompanied by an extremely popular experimental cocktail menu.
The menu has been put together by Vietnamese but North American-raised head chef Son, and is inspired by Madame Ching’s sea-faring conquests. Seasonal sharing dishes include crispy General Son’s chicken, uni served with brussel sprout leaves and creme fraiche and suckling pig. madameching.hk
Following a dramatic refurb, Hutong at One Peking has reopened with a stylish Chinese-inspired interior – think birdcage bar, traditional stone ‘Moon Gate’ framing the lounge area, colourful Lai See tree and a 70-year old hand-crafted wooden ceiling lovingly transported to Hong Kong from a heritage Shanxi house. Add in a chilli-infused cocktail menu and a delicious lineup of new dishes and you’ve got yourself the perfect ‘impress-the-guests’ location. Helming the kitchen is chef Martin Mak, a specialist with over 40 years experience in barbecued meats, so you can rest assured your Peking duck – hand-carved at the table – is in safe hands. Expect plenty of tasty northern Chinese favourites and dim sum – but with sexy, sexy views over Victoria Harbour, the food only just gets a look-in. hutong.com.hk