2018 Best Restaurants In Hong Kong (By Hong Kong Tatler’s T.Dining)

Yesss, these awesome guys are some of the most talented chefs in Hong Kong, and the recipients of Hong Kong Tatler's 2018 T.Dining Best Restaurant Awards- Max Levy of Okra and Daniel Calvert of Belon, along with Son Pham of Co Thanh Restaurant, and the guys from Ho Lee Fook! (At our ''unofficial" after party at La Cabane, Soho!)

Hi guys! Apologies for being so quiet, it’s been a lot of nonstop travel for me lately. I was most recently just in Hong Kong for the 2018 T.Dining Best Restaurants by Hong Kong Tatler Awards Ceremony— and that was so much fun!!! It was such an honor to have been invited by editorial director for food and wine, the incredible Charmaine Mok, who planned a super food-filled itinerary for us, as part of T.Dining Week 2017!

Let me run you through the winners first before sharing with you some of the fun stuff we did!

The grand ballroom of the Kerry Hotel was the venue for the awards. Over 800 people were in attendance! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
The grand ballroom of the Kerry Hotel was the venue for the awards. Over 800 people were in attendance! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

The 2018 T Dining Top 20 Best Restaurants in Hong Kong are:
Amber
Arcane
Belon
Caprice
Epure
Frantzen’s Kitchen
Godenya
Golden Flower
Haku
Jade Dragon
Neighborhood
Okra Bar
Ronin
Samsen
Serge Et Le Phoque
Shinji by Kanesaka
Ta Vie
Tate Dining Room & Bar
The Tasting Room
VEA

Special Awards:

Best pastry chef: Nicolas Lambert, Caprice
Restaurateurs of the year: Black Sheep
Best cocktails: The Old Man
Best interior design: Tate Dining Room &Bar (designed by JJ Acuna)
Best new chef: Daniel Calvert, Belon
Best service: New Punjab Club
Local champion: May Chow
Sustainability champion: Peggy Chan
Best new restaurant: Samsen

With Asia's Best Female Chef 2016 our very own Margarita Fores, Hong Kong Tatler's editorial director for food and wine (and the woman behind T. Dining Hong Kong!), Charmaine Mok (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
With Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016 our very own Margarita Fores, Hong Kong Tatler’s editorial director for food and wine (and the woman behind T. Dining Hong Kong!), Charmaine Mok (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Jim Löfdahl (Frantzen's Kitchen) and Agustin Balbi (Haku) (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Jim Löfdahl of Frantzen’s Kitchen and Agustin Balbi of Haku (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Vicky Cheng of VEA and wife Polly (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Vicky Cheng of VEA and wife Polly (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
JJ Acuna and Vicky Lau won Best Interior Design for Vicky's Tate, which JJ (who's also Pinoy) designed!
JJ Acuna and Vicky Lau won Best Interior Design for Vicky’s Tate, which JJ (who’s also Pinoy) designed!

Now I wanted to share with you about some of the activities we had during T.Dining Week 2017 in Hong Kong, which led up to the awards:

DIMSUM DUETS

Dimsum Duets was such a super collaborative event to celebrate the art of dimsum. Chefs who do Cantonese-style cooking (Lee Man-sing of Mott 32 and Leung Fai-Hung of Hoi King Heen at Intercontinental Grand) were paired with chefs who do non-Chinese-style cooking (Max Levy of Okra; Daniel Calvert of Belon; Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room & Bar; and May Chow of Little Bao) to create bites that encapsulate this spirit of learning and collaboration. All 10 dimsum courses were delicious; but my personal faves though were the BBQ puff with unagi and foie gras (by Max Levy + Lee Man-Sing) and the fried toast roll with hairy crab roe (by Leung Fai-Hung).

BBQ Unagi Puff with Unagi and Foie Gras by Max Levy of Okra and Lee Man Sing of Mott 32 (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
BBQ Unagi Puff with Unagi and Foie Gras by Max Levy of Okra and Lee Man Sing of Mott 32 (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Dimsum Duets is all about collaboration: Max Levy of Okra and Vicky Lau of Tate helping each other out (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Dimsum Duets is all about collaboration: Max Levy of Okra and Vicky Lau of Tate helping each other out (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Fried toast roll with hairy crab roe by Leung Fai-Hung of Intercontinental Grand. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Fried toast roll with hairy crab roe by Leung Fai-Hung of Intercontinental Grand. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

HONG KONG TASTEMAKERS: MINA PARK (SOOK), VICTORIA CHOW (THE WOODS) AND JANICE LEUNG-HAYES (TONG CHONG STREET MARKET)

Mina Park (Sook), Victoria Chow (The Woods) and Janice Leung-Hayes aka E-Ting (Tong Chong Street Market) are three fabulous ladies shaping the Hong Kong food scene with really special experiences.

Mina Park serves up Korean-inspired dishes at Sook her private kitchen (also her beautiful residence!) in Wan Chai. It’s a 360-degree experience merging delicious food with design, service and heart. (*Manila peeps, she did a pop-up at Toyo Eatery not too long ago!)

Mina Park (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Mina Park (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Mina's Sook private kitchen in Wan Chai is also her residence. How gorgeous, right?! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Mina’s Sook private kitchen in Wan Chai is also her residence. How gorgeous, right?! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Delicious and beautifully plated! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Carrot, ginger and turmeric soup, so delicious and beautifully plated! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

Victoria (Tori) Chow’s The Woods in Central has been a long-standing cocktail bar. She recently opened The Woods Annex, a by-appointment-only intimate tasting room (up to only 8 guests!) which offers spirits-tasting behind her shop which sells her canned cocktail brand called Kwoon by The Woods.

Victoria Chow (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Victoria Chow (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
A spirits-tasting session at The Woods could run the gamut from gin to whisky to tequila to mezcal (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
A spirits-tasting session at The Woods could run the gamut from gin to aged gin (I liked this N0. 209 barrel-reserve gin from San Francisco alot!) to tequila to mezcal (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
The Woods Annex is located right inside Victoria's new shop Kwoon by the Woods, which sells her brand of canned cocktails, a first in Hong Kong. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
The Woods Annex is located right inside Victoria’s new shop Kwoon by the Woods, which sells her brand of canned cocktails, a first in Hong Kong. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

Janice Leung-Hayes (also known as  E-Ting) is one of Hong Kong’s most prolific and respected food writers. She put up Tong Chong Street Market in 2015, working with farmers who harvest and grow from Hong Kong, as a platform for food education. It runs on weekends all throughout the ber months, don’t forget to check it out! PS Here are some fab off-the-touristy places she took us to as well!

Janice Leung-Hayes (Also known as E-Ting) founded Tong Chong Street Market as a platform for food education- where people can learn about the ingredients they consume daily (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Janice Leung-Hayes (Also known as E-Ting) founded Tong Chong Street Market as a platform for food education- where people can learn about the ingredients they consume daily (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Janice showed us where to get the best egg waffles-- Master Low Key in Shau Kei Wan-- so perfectly crispy! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Janice showed us where to get the best egg waffles– Master Low Key in Shau Kei Wan– so perfectly crispy! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Janice also took us to a delicious noodle shop where locals frequent called On Lee Noodle Shop-- their fish balls, fish cakes and beef briskets are delicious! Come here if you're looking for something slightly off the beaten path (Photo by Cheryl TIu)
Janice also took us to a delicious noodle shop where locals frequent called On Lee Noodle Shop– their fish balls, fish cakes and beef briskets are delicious! Come here if you’re looking for something slightly off the beaten path (Photo by Cheryl TIu)

T. DINING BEST RESTAURANTS: VEA AND HAKU

VEA

I first went to VEA quite literally when it opened in 2015. Back then, the focus was on an ‘integrated’ dining experience i.e. cocktail-pairing tasting menu. Since then, chef Vicky Cheng’s cuisine has evolved to Chinese x French (honoring his Chinese roots with his French training), earning him a Michelin star, and a spot on the radar of The World’s 50 Best Discovery Series (Asia).

This sea cucumber dish was particularly interesting to me because it’s something so prevalent at Chinese restaurants. At VEA, it’s refined to a crisp (roasted), stuffed with flowery crab, sitting on house-made rice noodles on a sauce made from crab and 12-year-old shaoxing wine.

VEA's Roasted Sea Cucumber stuffed with flowery crab, served with rice noodles and chicken fat (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
VEA’s Roasted Sea Cucumber stuffed with flowery crab, served with rice noodles and chicken fat (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

HAKU

Haku is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that opened just this July 2017 in Habour City and has been touted as one of the hottest Hong Kong restaurant openings of the year. The concept was curated by Hideaki Matsuo from Kashiwaya,  Osaka, whose restaurant holds 3 Michelin stars, and is executed by executive chef Agustin Balbi (formerly of The Ocean). While they do have ala carte, the 8-course dinner Tasting Menu is priced at HK$1380, and you get to sit at the sushi-style and watch the chefs at work. For instance, this is so bling and I’ll probably never look at tuna/ beef tartare the same way again:  Chutoro tuna from Nagasaki  mixed with Polmard beef and topped with Kristal caviar, and served with light potato crisps.

Tell me, how am I going to look at tuna tartare the same way again?!😱😱😱 At Haku (which just opened in July 2017), chutoro tuna from Nagasaki is mixed with Polmard beef and topped with Kristal caviar- and served w/ light potato crisps. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Tell me, how am I going to look at tuna tartare the same way again?!😱😱😱 At Haku (which just opened in July 2017), chutoro tuna from Nagasaki is mixed with Polmard beef and topped with Kristal caviar- and served w/ light potato crisps. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

T. DINING BEST COCKTAIL BAR: THE OLD MAN

The Old Man is probably my favorite new cocktail bar in the city now. Hong Kong’s 1st Ernest Hemingway-inspired barpened in Aberdeen, Soho just this July 2017, serving cocktails inspired by his novels– but with an Asian twist– by Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale. I loved The Sun Also Rises (a kind of negroni but with a curry infusion) The Snows of Kilimanjaro (marshmallow gin topped w/ gruyere cheese). Hemingway’s portrait is front and center on the wall– made from recycled materials. The bar is designed so guests can stand anywhere– even behind the bar. They chose to reference to “The Old Man and the Sea” as it’s a story also of hard work, perseverance and dedication– similar to their story of opening their 1st bar in HK. A must to check out when you’re in town!! Tip: Lines snake on weekends, so come on a quiet night like a Monday.

(3)The Old Man packed to the brim even on a “quiet” Monday night. The bar is designed so guests can stand even behind the bar. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
The Old Man packed to the brim even on a “quiet” Monday night. The bar is designed so guests can stand even behind the bar. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Loved these cocktails: (1)The Sun Also Rises (a kind of negroni but with a curry infusion) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (marshmallow gin topped w/ gruyere cheese) (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
Loved these cocktails: (1) The Sun Also Rises (a kind of negroni but with a curry infusion) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (marshmallow gin topped w/ gruyere cheese) (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

WHERE WE STAYED: KERRY HOTEL

The newly opened Kerry Hotel by Shangri-La, Hong Kong’s 1st urban resort.

The Kerry Hotel which opened just last April 2017 is Hong Kong's first urban resort. This was my beautiful room looking out to the harbour! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
The Kerry Hotel which opened just last April 2017 is Hong Kong’s first urban resort. This was my beautiful room looking out to the harbour! (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)

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