Now that Art Month is behind us, it is time to get excited for the new restaurants that are opening in Hong Kong in April.
This month, we welcome the first of many big openings, including The Merchants, in a newly dedicated space on the 45th floor of Gloucester Tower at The Landmark in Central - where three other fine-dining concepts, including The Cristal Room by Anne-Sophie Pic, will open later in the year.
Making a splash in the Carnival By Food Fiesta food hall in Taikoo is Kuma-Chan Onsen - one of the most Instagrammable exports from Hokkaido, Japan - which specialises in hotpot.
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Elsewhere, food hall BaseHall 2 in Central welcomes a new speakeasy, where bartending power couple Ezra Star and Beckaly Franks, as well as bar manager J Franks, aim to delight cocktail lovers.
The Merchants has opened its doors in an exciting new culinary destination: Forty-Five, on the 45th floor of Gloucester Tower at The Landmark in Central on Hong Kong Island.
The restaurant, which promises a refined and contemporary taste of Shanghai, seats up to 100 guests and features four private dining rooms.
The menu lists over 100 dishes as well as dim sum, highlighting seasonal ingredients with flavours influenced by those of Jiangsu and Zhejiang in eastern China.
Signature dishes include jasmine-tea-smoked duck, osmanthus honey glazed Jinhua ham with crispy bean curd sheet and stir-fried shredded Mandarin fish.
45/F, Forty-Five, Gloucester Tower, Landmark, Central
Hong Kong's newest dining sensation is Kuma-Chan Onsen, a bear-themed hotpot restaurant from Hokkaido, Japan. This playful restaurant has taken social media by storm with its teddy-bear-shaped collagen jelly, which melts into a tasty broth when hot water is added to the pot.
The broth comes in seven flavours, including soy milk and miso, and diners can select from a range of meats, including wagyu beef and chicken meatballs. The hotpot experience also includes a vegetable platter and a choice of Japanese udon or rice.
Carnival By Food Fiesta, Shop 255 & 266, 2/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo
Kontrasto, a new Italian restaurant on Hollywood Road in Central, is headed by Italian chef Fabiano Palombini, previously of Castellana.
The dinner tasting menu features seasonal and signature dishes. Palombini's VirtU, a nostalgic dish from his hometown, combines seafood and fresh, house-made pasta. Another highlight is the wagyu beef, served with Kristal caviar and white asparagus.
The restaurant's wine list runs to 260 bottles, and wine pairings are curated by sommelier Leo Fernando.
G/F, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road Central
Cielos is a new addition in Happy Valley that offers authentic Italian cuisine and a warm neighbourhood vibe.
Chef Nandito and Alberto Perez, a truffle specialist, have created a menu full of home-made Italian dishes, artisan beer imported from Italy and a variety of Italian wines.
The restaurant's highlight is the daily home-made burrata cheese, courtesy of Nandito, which has a fresh, milky flavour. The menu includes dishes such as linguine al pesto, beef tartare, la carbonara quella seria and tagliolini 'nduja and clams.
4 Blue Pool Rd, Happy Valley
Cafe Bau, a farm-to-table concept restaurant by "demon chef" Alvin Leung, serves a range of his signature bold, creative dishes made using locally sourced ingredients - a challenge to the import-heavy trend in Hong Kong's dining scene.
A seven-course tasting menu features dishes such as hand-cut macaroni cacio e pepe with preserved clams and crispy chicken wings, and slow-cooked ox brisket with taro and red wine shallot sauce. Local produce is featured in desserts such as honeycomb and honey gelato with seasonal fruit.
Shop 8, Podium 1/F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
For those familiar with quality yakiniku - Japanese grill - restaurant Nikushou in Causeway Bay, its latest venture, Uza, at new food hub Foco in Central, will be of interest.
The name is a mash-up of unagi or freshwater eel and izakaya, a Japanese neighbourhood bar, so guests can expect a full range of izakaya favourites such as sashimi, grilled and tempura dishes as well as a selection of eel dishes.
10/F, Foco, 46-48 Cochrane Street, Central
La Rosabelle Restaurant & Bar in Alto Residences, Tseung Kwan O, will put its own twist on dishes from around the world, such as Japanese uni - sea urchin - toast and escargots de Bourguignon.
Meat lovers can indulge in a half-kilogram (one pound) US black Angus T-bone steak or a Spanish Iberico pork Tomahawk steak, while seafood lovers can try typhoon shelter crab linguine. The desserts are equally tempting, with home-made tiramisu, and cinnamon apple and blackberries crumble with vanilla ice cream, among those on offer.
Shop 4, G/F, Alto Residence, 29 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O
The brainchild of Hong Kong bar industry veterans Beckaly Franks, Ezra Star and Michael Larkin, Artifact Bar is the latest addition to Hong Kong's bar scene, tucked away at BaseHall 2 in Jardine House, Central.
The stunning interior takes inspiration from water reservoirs. The drinks menu focuses on brown spirits such as brandy, gin, rum and whisky from around the world, and cocktails that tell stories about time, the ocean and the Earth. The elevated bar food is designed by chef Kiyoshi Sato.
Shop 5 & 7, LG/F, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central
Tucked away past the Blue House heritage building in Wan Chai is Niku G, a freshly launched yakiniku restaurant. It offers premium quality A5 wagyu beef, lobsters and oysters flown in from Japan's Mie prefecture.
Niku G's omakase-style dining experience offers two menus with five to seven courses in each set. Niku G also serves shabu-shabu - Japanese hotpot - and sukiyaki, or simmered meat and vegetables, and has a focus on teppan-style cooking, which uses a flat iron plate grill.
G/F, 2 Kat On Street, Wan Chai
Popular Wan Chai Middle Eastern restaurant Francis has a new sister outlet in the form of Francis West in SoHo. It focuses on the fragrant spices and smoky flavours of the Maghreb region, consisting of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco.
Chef Asher Goldstein has created an array of dishes designed for sharing, including the Francis classics of hummus, cigars, smoked carrots and knafeh - a Middle Eastern dessert. Sommelier Simone Sammuri's small but high-quality selection of wines has been sourced from the coastal regions of the Mediterranean.
42 & 44 Peel Street, Central
La Paloma restaurant's new bar space, El Bar, has been subtly separated from the main dining room, and offers a wide range of Spanish wines, cava, gin and tonics, and vermouths. These are served with a selection of tapas and bar snacks such as cockles with espinaler sauce and fried cured pork torreznos.
1/F, 189 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Aeon in Tuen Mun, in the New Territories, is set to introduce its second Komeda Coffee shop in Hong Kong. The Japanese chain opened its first coffee shop in Nagoya in 1968, and has since expanded throughout Japan and to Asia, with more than 30 shops in Taiwan and Shanghai.
The retro-looking interior creates a welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy a range of dishes, including Napolitan spaghetti and its signature Shiro Noir - milk-flavoured soft serve ice cream on top of a loaf of Danish bread.
G/F, Aeon, Phase 1, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, 1 Tuen Shun Street, Tuen Mun
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