Seven to savour: newly opened Wan Chai restaurants and bars and what to eat and drink at them

The dining scene in Wan Chai is among the most exciting in Hong Kong right now, with a plethora of new openings in recent months – so many it’s hard to sample them all

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 12:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 12:19pm

There are so many new places to eat and drink opening in Wan Chai it’s hard to keep track of them all. But we do our best. Our reviewers visited these seven places in the past three months alone. Click on bar and restaurant names to read reviews in full.

Crabtain Restaurant

As the name suggests, this newcomer specialises in crustacean dishes. They’re delicate, delicious and affordable. We loved the trademark crab congee (HK$325 for four people), which is strong and sweetly flavoured. The menu features a range of crab dishes, and some non-crab ones too. We liked the fried sirloin (HK$78).

Djapa

A Japanese-Brazilian fusion bar and restaurant, Djapa in Lee Tung Avenue serves drinks downstairs and food upstairs. At the bar, Brazil is represented by cocktails – all veering towards the sweet – such as the creatively named Blushing Geisha, which comes garnished with a thong, while Japan is represented by whiskies. Upstairs the walls feature some serious contemporary Japanese art, and it extends to the food with dishes such as suntanned crabs (HK$128) – three deep-fried baby crabs served on a “beach” made of cassava flour “sand”, garnished with salmon roe and a cocktail umbrella.

Mirage

An island bar carved out of the Renaissance Harbour View hotel’s first floor lobby, Mirage serves some beautifully presented dishes. Don’t expect a laid-back lounge, though. Galician octopus (HK$128) was nestled in a smooth potato-based sauce seasoned with paprika. We liked the meatiness of the lamb cutlets seasoned with Madagascar salt and spices (HK$148). Of the signature cocktails, the best we tried was I’m Hallucinated (rum, fermented honey, spice, citrus and passion fruit), which was nicely balanced and complex.

Bib n Hops

“Demon Chef” Alvin Leung’s casual Korean restaurant has some interesting ingredient combinations that are worth trying. Mulhoe (chilled fish soup, HK$128), featuring buckwheat noodles, maple-smoked salmon, sliced pears and strawberries in a cold anchovy broth is highly recommended. Bibimbap with Peruvian spiced pork belly (HK$148) came sizzling hot in a stone bowl with jalapeno aioli sauce on the side.

A.O.C.

Cramped but laid-back, this small cafe in Thomson Road serves good quality food at very attractive prices. Six freshly shucked oysters (HK$88) were briny and refreshing. We enjoyed the rustic flavours of the black pudding skewer (HK$78) with confit apple wedges and pickled onions. The griddle-grilled beef sirloin steak (HK$168) looked tempting. Duck confit (HK$198) was disappointing, though.

Bistro Seoul

It’s easy to be sceptical of modern Korean restaurants. However, we enjoyed our meal here. The Korean pan-fried potato pancakes (HK$68) would have made a Jewish grandmother proud. Charcoal-grilled Iberico pork cheek with spiced grated radish (HK$128) was fantastic – our favourite dish of the night. But the pan-fried thin-cut Korean beef brisket (HK$398) was disappointing.

Samsen

Samsen has been receiving a lot of hype for its Thai street food by ex-Chachawan chef, Adam Cliff. The green mango salad with tiger prawns and crispy shallots (HK$108) was a great mix of textures and sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours. The meat in the wagyu beef boat noodles (HK$128) was good, and we loved the thick, rich, deeply flavoured sauce. For dessert, pandanus coconut dumplings in warm salted coconut cream (HK$52) were delicious.