With the excitement of the holidays behind us and our hard-won lai see money safely tucked in our pockets, we treat ourselves to the latest and greatest that the city’s culinary scene has to offer. Here are the most exciting new restaurants and dining pop-ups opening in Hong Kong this March.
Long-awaited and hotly-anticipated since it was first announced late last year, The Aubrey has finally opened at the Mandarin Oriental. Presented by Maximal Concepts— the restaurant group behind Mott 32, Limewood, Stockton, and more—this unconventional Japanese izakaya commands stunning views over the Hong Kong Island skyline and the Central Harbourfront, making a grand entrance with three distinctive bar experiences, a drawing room, and a dining lounge that evokes memories of Ginza.
Designed with the nineteenth-century European art movement of Japanism in mind, The Aubrey boasts sumptuous colours and curves, a touch of greenery, and plush patterns for a sensual journey to Nippon. Japanese techniques and ingredients take centre stage here for both the bar programme and dining experience, led by Devender Sehgal, formerly of Otto e Mezzo Bombana, and chef Yukihito Tomiyama, who was most recently at Macau’s one-Michelin-starred Shinji by Kanaseka. From the main bar and the Champagne and sake bar to the omakase cocktail bar, Sehgal and his team will offer a signature menu that highlights highball and chūhai cocktails and sparkling sakes.
Tempt your taste buds with chef Yukihito Tomiyama’s world-class sushi and sashimi skills, who presents sophisticated bento boxes for lunch and delights from the robata grill over dinner, amongst others. Specialising in traditional Edomae sushi-making and grilling over binchō-tan charcoals, you’ll embark on a flavourful journey that takes you from land to sea and back. And the best part? Sustainability at the forefront of the izakaya concept, from eliminating single-use plastic to prioritising the use of eco-friendly bamboo and paper products and compostable clingwrap.
Stand-out items on the menu include the charcoal chicken karaage with yuzu mayo ($158), A5 Miyazaki Wagyu sando ($678), Wagyu oxtail & bone marrow fried rice ($278), saikyo miso sablefish ($418), and the white miso soufflé ($118).
The Aubrey, 25/F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central | (+852) 2825 4001
Looking for an all-new, pet-friendly dining destination? Cabana Breeze, led by Moroccan executive chef Faycal El Moujahid, offers both indoor and outdoor alfresco seating for gatherings of all shapes and sizes, and you’ll get to take in gorgeous sunset views and the silhouette of the Hong Kong International Airport in the background. (Remember when flights and travel were a thing? Now there’s a wistful reminder.) Set against accents of elegant marble, polished brass, and decorative bamboo, the vibrant colour palette of Cabana Breeze couples beautifully with furnishings of rattan chairs and sofas, creating a tropical paradise for you to spend a leisurely evening sipping on fruity cocktails.
Dive into beachside living in Tung Chung with Mediterranean-inspired coastal fare, igniting a passion for seafood that comes in the form of starters and main dishes like the Hawaiian tuna poké in a ginger and ponzu sauce, the chitarra pasta with lobster, grilled Morrocan octopus with tomato & black olive dressing, crab salad with mango, papaya & avocado, and the impressive seafood tower for two. Pair your meal with treats of the tiki persuasion from the custom drinks trolley, such as the Maui margarita and the Cabana Colada, served in a whole coconut.
Cabana Breeze, Shop G12–G15, T-Bay, 9 Yi Tung Road, Tung Chung | (+852) 2777 8980
For those who live close to Festival Walk, you’ll be delighted to know that the stalwart Kowloon Tong shopping mall—the destination of many after-school hangouts—is refreshing its F&B offerings. Presented by Lubuds Group, who also operates restaurants like Zushi Ana, Sushi Senju, and Chuan Palace, as well as four concepts at 1881 Heritage, Toriten dishes up authentic Japanese fare, and its wide range of specialities will cater to even the pickiest of eaters. Do they have yakitori on the menu? Check. Donburi? Yes. What about sushi? You got it. And donburi? Ditto! All items are prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients from Japan to ensure the highest quality and standard.
Whether you are in for an intimate affair or visiting with friends and family, the bar seats, table seats, and private rooms offer customisable dining options, creating a comfortable yet elegant atmosphere with soft glow lights, dark wood accents, and patterns inspired by shōji screens. Tuck into premium donburi items like the decadent lobster & assorted sashimi donburi ($498), the scallop & salmon roe donburi ($298) that is generously smothered in roe, and the melt-in-your-mouth flamed Wagyu beef sashimi donburi ($398), made with A4 Saga Waygu beef and spread over Koshihikari rice, an exceptionally sweet and supple rice that is flavoured with red vinegar, sugar, salt, and Japanese cooking sake.
Casual meals can be had in the form of skewers and ramen, such as the shrimp rolled with perilla & chicken skin ($78), chicken kidney with garlic salt ($38), beef tenderloin with wasabi ($88), prawn in miso soup ramen ($128), and white pepper soup ramen ($128). For fancier affairs (that still come at an affordable price point), turn to Toriten’s omakase sets, such as their signature omakase ($980) with three kinds of seasonal sashimi and 11 kinds of seasonal sushi, the 10-piece sushi omakase ($680), or the six-piece sushi omakase ($380).
Toriten, Shop G25, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong | (+852) 2337 8223
Right next door to Toriten is Moon Palace, another new F&B concept by Lubuds Group. Presenting refined Cantonese cuisine in an upscale dining environment, Moon Palace is the perfect stage to showcase the talented craftsmanship of chefs Lee Chi-kwong and Chan Sai-fai, who cut their teeth at Fook Lam Moon, Golden Valley, and Wing Lei Palace in Macau respectively. At this new venture, the two chefs work in tandem to highlight their decades of experience in the kitchen, as well as introduce an artisanal twist to authentic Chinese cooking and traditional dishes.
Expect Cantonese dim sum, nourishing stews and soups, and novel gastronomical approaches, such as the deep-fried pigeon wrapped in taro ($168), pork knuckles with Chinese yellow wine in a casserole ($198), and a masterfully prepared double-boiled chicken soup with black garlic & Polygonatum root ($488). Lunchtime dim sum is a sumptuous affair and should not be missed; overseen by chef Chan Sai-fai, the experience features memorable creations like the stuffed crab claws with minced shrimp ($58), the innovative pan-fried millet cake ($48), turnip cake in Chuichow style ($58), and pan-fried dumplings with bamboo shoots ($48).
Moon Palace, Shop G25, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong | (+852) 2337 8213
If the name Leonard Cheung does not ring a bell, be sure to remember it now. With humble beginnings hosting exquisite private dinners all throughout last year, he might be one of the most accomplished chefs in Hong Kong that you have not yet heard of—but that’s all about to change with his new venture, Cultivate, as he sets out to re-define “fine-casual” and interactive dining. Following his classical training in Michelin-starred restaurants, he then cut his teeth at Blue Supreme and Otto e Mezzo Bombana, and Cultivate will showcase the fruits of his labour and his restless, creative mind. Presenting his skilful handling of flavours through evolving eight-course tasting menus ($1,288) that cycle through five bold, transformative themes, the initial offering will focus on spring-inspired recipes and culinary concepts.
Paired with an all-American and Italian wine list, featuring the best labels from Napa Valley to New York’s Finger Lakes and popular regions like Piedmont and Tuscany, Cultivate will offer a six-glass wine pairing ($780) to complement the tasting menu. Teetotallers can opt for the elixir pairing ($550), a collection of non-alcoholic drinks that are crafted to match each course. Reservations at the 22-seat restaurant—dressed in muted hues and natural textures—are accepted 45 days in advance and must be booked through Cultivate’s online system.
Cultivate, G/F, 29 Elgin Street, Soho, Central
We could always use new watering holes in our lives, and with the addition of The Last Resort to our favourite street in Soho, it seems that the age of the dive bar is making a grand return. Led by the powerful hospitality trio of Tracy Villegas, Ashim Gurung, and JJ Quintero, The Last Resort takes the best elements of Canadian neighbourhood bars and marries them with delectable bites of chef Jowett Yu’s creation. Step through their understated doorway to be greeted by floor tiles in the shape of a Canadian flag, a comfortable lounge and bar, a throwback playlist of 1980s bangers, and cocktails and bevvies so affordable that you’ll want to knock back two or three—or even more, on a good night! And our favourite part of the décor? Perusing the wall of portraits featuring Canadian superstars and trying to guess their names!
Choose your poison from cocktails like whiskey apple ($50), bourbon coke ($50), vodka cranberry ($50), rum sour ($50), and more, and reminisce about your old university days with classic drinks like the Long Island iced tea ($50), the perpetrator of many black-out nights. Keep the hunger pangs at bay with Chef Jowett’s outstanding fried three-yellow chicken (starting from $150), battered with a unique blend of 12 spices and chillies, alongside fried potato wedges ($50) with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce, and parcels of deep-fried scamorza ($40). We think we might have found our new go-to for happy hours and after-work tipples...
The Last Resort, 52B Peel Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 2442 2440
Want a cookie? Local sweet treat brand Cookie Vission is taking its phenomenal line of sugary specialities from online shopfronts and temporary pop-ups to a permanent brick-and-mortar location in Tai Hang! Featuring Cookie Vission’s signature line of baked goods as well as exclusive in-store selections, founder Winnie Pang is sharing the (delicious) love with her fresh-out-of-the-oven delights—and as long-time fans of her creations, we could not be more thrilled. Feast on their classic cookies (starting from $40)—baked fresh every hour—and choose from eight to 10 daily flavours, including the chocolate chip pecan, Nutella hazelnut, Portuguese egg tart, matcha green tea, and more.
To celebrate the occasion, Cookie Vission has invented a new hybrid dessert called the Pookie ($55), a unique amalgamation of cookies and puff pastry where the classic cookie is enveloped in a caramelised pastry wrap, ensuring a crisp exterior and soft interior for the ultimate textural adventure. Pookie flavours rotate, with a baked cheesecake & chocolate chip Pookie to kick things off. Quench your thirst with a Big Boy milkshake ($128) and opt for monthly flavours like the irresistible cookies & cream Big Boy milkshake, made with classic chocolate cake, chocolate fudge sauce, whipped cream, a slice of chocolate layer cake, and mini cookies!
Cookie Vission, 6 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2129 0338