Terrifying tipples to toast Halloween

Uma Nota - Carvāo Nero (Final)
A deathly concoction at Uma Nota

Brazilian-Japanese street-food favourite Uma Nota has whisked up a spooky Carvao Nero for October 31. It’s a heady mix of basil-infused Germana Soul, cherry liqueur, cassia syrup, lemon juice, basil and activated charcoal.

6pm-late,  Oct 29-Nov 4, 38 Peel Street, Central. uma-nota.com

Pirata Halloween cocktail 2018
He who dares… Pirata’s ghoulish gin-based offering

Meanwhile, over in Wan Chai, Pirata is offering an Italian Halloween vibe. The Mask of Venice has a sweet and sour flavour from the combination of Luxado Gin infused with black charcoal, coffee liqueur, Amaretto Disaronno, lemon juice and Chinoto.

6.30-10.30pm, Oct 31, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. pirata.hk


The Optimist has transformed into a lab this year, with a heady Magia Verde cocktail presented in two vials. Mix up blood-red sherry Solera, kumquat liqueur and sweet panda syrup with lemonade and a splash of lemon juice.

6-10.30pm, Oct 31, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. theoptimist.hk


Madame Ching Halloween cocktail 2018
Spicy treats at Madame Ching

Madame Ching has a Halloween treat with an Asian punch. Witches Brew contains gin, lime juice, egg white, raspberry and a kick of spicy homemade sauce.

6-10.30pm, Oct 31, 5 Star Street, Wan Chai. madameching.hk

Lamma Fun Day is back this weekend

Lots of fun for the whole family

Check out Lamma Island’s annual beach music festival this coming Saturday. Lamma Fun Day raises money for child welfare projects in Nepal as local musicians volunteer their time to play at what has become Hong Kong’s longest-running outdoor live music event.

Along with the tunes, enjoy market stalls, arts and crafts activities, a licensed bar, beach volleyball and children’s games.

The day kicks off with an eight kilometre and 14km Lamma8 and Lamma14 trail run on the south of the island before participants return to the scene of the action on Tai Wan To Beach.

Organisers have been working hard to keep the event as environmental as possible – free water is available from giant carboys and food is served in biodegradable containers. Drinks will receive a $10 discount if you bring or reuse a cup at the bar. Volunteers from local environmental group Living Lamma will be cleaning the beach both before and after the event.

Almost $1.7million has been raised since the first Lamma Fun Day in 2000. Let’s make 2018 a good one. Free, 11am-11pm, Oct 27, Tai Wan To Beach (aka Power Station Beach), ferries depart from Central Ferry Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan. facebook.com/LammaFunDay

Belinda Bath open house

Many of Bath’s personal artworks will be for sale

They say all good things have to come to an end, and in this case is sadly seems to be the truth. Talented local artist Belinda Bath will be relocating back to Australia this Christmas, along with her successful photography business Belinda Bath Images.

But all clouds have a silver lining and Bath will be hosting an open house to pass on the artworks that have been hanging on her own walls and that she can’t fit in the packing case. Also for sale is a plethora of trinkets and homewares Bath has collected over the years to style her products.

There are small imperfections on some pieces, prices are as marked and all artworks will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Cash or cheque is preferred, although bank transfers will be accepted for larger amounts.

Hong Kong’s loss, as they say, will be Melbourne’s gain. We wish her good luck and hope to see her back in the territory soon.

10am-5pm, Oct 27 & 28, Aria, 33B Tower 6, 51 Fung Shing Street, Ngau Chi Wan, Kowloon.  belindabathimages.com


Autumn brunching back on the menu

A bao blow-out at Old Bailey

Old Bailey in Hollywood Road’s Tai Kwun complex is rolling out an all-you-can-eat, freshly-made dim sum weekend brunch, with no less than four different types of xiaolongbao.

The restaurant’s dim sum chef has created a special Bak kut teh xiaolongbao specifically for the weekend brunch, inspired by Southeast Asian pork rib soup. Further dumpling delicacies include pan-fried Iberico pork dumplings and Yangzhou-style glutinous rice siu mai. There’s a good choice of sharing dishes, and to round things off, chocolate chiffon cake and Rolling Donkey (glutinous rice cake rolled with with red bean paste and toasted peanuts).

The Bao Brunch is available from Nov 3, 12-3pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, $480 per person including free-flow non-alcoholic drinks and house made kombucha. $220 per person for free-flow Perrier Jouët champagne, Bloody Marys, spritzes and wine. oldbailey.hk

Meanwhile, Fang Fang’s autumn brunch menu is available from this weekend. It includes welcome snacks, sharing starters, one main course and dessert.  The free-flow deal includes Moet Chandon champagne, beer, white and red wines, sake, alcoholic iced teas, Bloody Marys, Bellinis, Margaritas and Mojitos.

12-3pm, Saturdays, $358 per adult, $210 per child; $280 per person for free-flow. fangfang.com.hk

Taste of London’s Savoy Grill comes to Hong Kong

The Savoy Grill’s Ben Waugh will be serving up an all-British menu in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Test Kitchen is hosting Brit Ben Waugh from the UK’s Savoy Grill next month.

Test Kitchen is an experimental space in Sai Ying Pun founded by foodie Vincent Mui. He invites up-and-coming chefs from all over the world to helm the Test Kitchen space for a limited period of time.

“Our goal is to discover talented chefs and… give them a stage to share their passion with diners,” he says.

Waugh joined the Gordon Ramsay Group in 2010 as junior sous chef at the Savoy Grill, London.  He then became head chef at maze Grill Park Walk, before returning to Savoy Grill in 2017 as executive head chef.

He will be leading Test Kitchen pop-up as part of the Gordon Ramsay Group initiative, ‘Where is my chef?’ that sends their chefs around the world to explore international food trends.

His seven-course prototype menu for Test Kitchen includes foie gras and pigeon terrine, shellfish tortellini, Beef Wellington, a citrus delice and assorted British cheeses.

$1,080 (seven-course tasting menu), $480 (wine pairing), Nov 7-11, Shop 3, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun. testkitchen.com.hk

Diwali divas

A Diwali pop-up opens in Central this week

Channel your inner Diwali diva this week as local event specialist Mums@PLAY hosts a three-day Fashion & Fun Pop-Up to highlight the Indian festival of lights.

Diwali celebrates the glory of light over darkness and hope over despair; event organiser Mehroo Turel hopes to make this an accessible Diwali event for Hong Kong’s mums, as well as catering for the territory’s substantial Indian population.

“We hope visitors will enjoy  browsing out curated range of ethnic Indian and fusion products,” says Turel. Shop precious stones, ethnic ‘kundan’ jewellery, traditional ‘gota’ pouches and bags, cotton and linen saris and festive ‘diyas’ (lamps) and homewares. A Diwali-themed party is planned for October 25.

Free entry, 11am-8pm, Oct 25-27, Usagi, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central. mumsatplay.com

This year Diwali is celebrated on Nov 7.

Six sexy venues for duck and dim sum

By Carolynne Dear for Hong Kong Living

TCL Interior Shot
Hollywood nights – The Chinese Library, Tai Kwun

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

Cocktails with a view at Madame Fu

Madame Fu

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 - Chifa opens its doors to Hong Kong's Peel Street (2)
Those dumplings aren’t going to make themselves. Hard at work in the kitchen at Chifa

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

Pinot Duck

Pinot Duck - Mini Duck Burger (2)
Quacking good duck burgers at Pinot Duck

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


Madame Ching

Madame Ching - Suckling Pig, HKD210 (3)
Madame Ching’s suckling pig

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