Where to eat now | '7 New Menus to Tempt your Taste Buds this Summer' (Lifestyle Asia)
Summer is a time for rest and relaxation, which for us means revisiting some of our favourite restaurants to scope out what’s new on the menu. The hot weather usually translates to lighter, fresher fare, and while many of these new offerings will leave you feeling satisfied yet guilt-free, we’ve also included a few indulgent options for those days when you need a proper comfort meal. Whether you want to enjoy a five-star spot with a view or prefer a neighbourhood hideaway, here are seven new summer menus to tempt your taste buds from some of our favourite Hong Kong chefs.
Revitalising Menu at Café Gray Deluxe
Price: HK$395 for 2-course or HK$445 for 3-course lunch/early supper menu, HK$680 for 4-course dinner menu
Rumour has it that chef Gray Kunz from Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House embarked on a healthy lifestyle retreat a few months ago and was inspired by the refreshing yet balanced meals served while he was there. He’s brought the concept to his eponymous restaurant on the 49th floor of The Upper House with a new menu dedicated to vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and sustainably sourced dishes. There are few higher-end healthy food options in Hong Kong, and this one is a welcome new addition to the scene.
The Revitalising Menu will change on a regular basis, but on our visit we had a refreshing avocado ceviche, roasted organic carrots with an Earl Grey tea vinaigrette on herbed quinoa, and an iced bitter chocolate ball with cocoa nibs and cherries. These healthier options pack in the flavour, with the roasted carrots being especially impressive with their caramelised exterior and soft, sweet flesh, balanced out by a tangy vinaigrette and pickled peaches. Each dish we had from chef Kunz’s menu felt both virtuous and filling. For added choice, you can also swap out a dish from the Revitalising Menu and replace it with one off the regular set menu.
Café Gray Deluxe, 49/F, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2918 1838
Low-Carb and Low-Cal Menus at The Restaurant by The Kinnet
Price: HK$238 for 2-course menu, HK$268 for 3-course menu
For those unfamiliar with The Kinnet, it’s a health and fitness centre in Sheung Wan focused on a holistic approach to healthy ageing. The vibe of the whole building is bright and modern, and its casual all-day dining restaurant is no exception. A colour palette of blue, green and gray provides a relaxing, inviting atmosphere for a post-workout snack or a healthy lunch for nearby office workers.
The regular menu offers a tempting selection of salads, sandwiches and protein made with a fresh and modern approach. With the help of in-house dietician Gordon Cheung, however, The Restaurant by The Kinnet has recently released two new menus: one focusing on dishes with low carbohydrates, and the other on dishes with low calories. Cutting down on carbs becomes fairly easy when you can enjoy the complex and spicy flavours of Tom Yum with flaky cod, or tender chicken with Thai basil on fluffy cauliflower rice. Meanwhile, those saving on calories can enjoy satisfying bowls of whole-wheat pasta tossed with a vibrant tomato sauce, and organic chicken paillard with assorted fresh veggies.
The Restaurant by The Kinnet, 3/F, 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3968 7623
Price: À la carte menu
This Wan Chai favourite is going into its third year and third menu, the idea being to completely re-haul its food offerings every year. While we appreciate chefs that stay creative and look for new ways to delight guests, it can be difficult to say goodbye to favourite dishes. That said, fans of this industrial-chic, modern Korean spot will find much to love on the new menu, which includes twists on popular Korean classics as well as completely new creations.
One thing to note: the fish and meat dishes are especially good. Yukhoeis a much-loved Korean-style beef tartare, but the version at Momojein is given a deliciously spicy kick with homemade chilli oil and Korean maesil (plum blossom extract). While the kalbi itself boasts a classic marinade, it’s accompanied by a pumpkin-mustard sauce and a coriander salad that provide two unique ways to eat this perennial favourite of Korean BBQ. Other dishes worth trying include the smoked Iberico pork belly, and the spicy bell pepper tuna which is marinated in a earthy gochujang sauce.
Momojein, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2789 1949
Chef Willy’s New Menu at La Paloma
Price: À la carte menu
Founded by renowned Spanish chef Willy Trullas Moreno, La Paloma remains one of the best options in town for affordable modern tapas. This colourful spot in Sai Ying Pun doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this translates directly to the fresh, innovative and approachable menu.
The man himself was in town last month to showcase his new dishes, and we were able to get a sneak peek of the exciting new menu. Some of the items, such as the delicious Spanish bluefin tuna “explosives”, are reminiscent of existing dishes (the ever-popular “explosive” smoked salmon puffs with chipotle cream). Others, such as mini oxtail tacos with smoked cream or tuna tataki with garlic-almond cream and grapes, offer new flavour combinations while retaining the same fun-loving spirit that has made La Paloma’s food such a perennial hit.
La Paloma, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2291 6161
Colonial Tastes Menu at The Envoy
Price: À la carte menu
This summer, The Envoy’s chef de cuisine Chetan Kohli has created a menu inspired by “colonial tastes” with flavours and ingredients drawn from across Asia. You’ll find a little bit of India, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China in a menu that goes hand-in-hand with a collection of new craft cocktails inspired by The Jungle Book.
We recommend the butter chicken lollipops bearing a lip-smacking crispy skin, the spiced popcorn shrimp with an aromatic sambal sauce, and the Chinese herbal tea deviled eggs, offering a twist on the classic hors d’oeuvres. For those looking for something more substantial, the bangers and mash comes with a delicious caramelised onion jam, lending sweetness and tang to cut through the rich meat. Chase it down with the Stranger Fruit cocktail, an intriguing blend of coriander redistilled Beefeater gin, passion fruit purée, simple syrup, egg white, Angostura aromatic bitters, and seven spice powder.
The Envoy, 3/F, The Pottinger Hotel, 74 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2169 3311
Price: À la carte menu
Open for eight months now, Mama Malouf has been steadily serving up some of the best new Middle Eastern food in the city, featuring the homestyle Lebanese dishes that chef Alex Malouf grew up eating. After taking in feedback from guests, the menu has almost doubled in size this summer with a host of flavour-packed new dishes, encompassing almost a dozen mezze (Middle Eastern snacks) options, an extended list of mains, and a rotating daily shawarma (spice-marinated meats) selection.
Start your meal with the dips and cold mezze dishes, which are perfect for light summer grazing. From the dips, the baba ganoush is a must-try item with the unconventional addition of mint and roasted green chillis adding a unique flavour dimension to the cooked-down eggplants. If you want to continue the healthy streak through the mains, go for the burrata salad with creamy cheese spilling over a vibrant bed of eggplant, tomato and parsley. For dessert, a simple panna cotta made healthier with a yoghurt base and burnt honey is a delicious end to the meal.
Mama Malouf, G/F, 93 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2817 3828
Truffle Menu at Rhoda
Price: $1,498 for 7-course menu
There’s no arguing that Rhoda in Sai Ying Pun was one of the hottest new openings of 2016: When the open-fire-loving eatery arrived on the scene, gastronomes raved about the intensely flavoured, charcoal-flavoured plates coming out of chef Nate Green’s kitchen. The talented chef’s passion for cooking is evident in his flagship project in conjunction with JIA Group, and he continues to experiment via an à la carte menu that changes weekly at the restaurant.
For a limited time only this summer, you can indulge in a 7-course Black Périgord truffle menu celebrating the expensive seasonal black tubers. We stopped by recently to sample the tasting menu, and found each dish to be more flavour-packed than the last. The raw Hokkaido scallop was served on a bed of smoked cod roe and topped with Sturia caviar and shredded truffle — delicious, umami-laced bites. This was followed by Irish Black Angus beef, given texture and contrast with tangy pickled walnuts and earthy truffle shavings. The main event, Irish Black Angus tenderloin, was faultless and served on a delightful cauliflower mash seasoned with marmite. Finally, we didn’t know their famous vanilla cheesecake could get any better — until we tried this version with shaved truffles, truffle oil and black cherries.
Rhoda, 345 Des Voeux Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2177 5050
This article first appeared on LifestyleAsia.com.