Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Philip Schaetz, VP, sales and marketing, Marco Polo Hotels
Authentic Italian, Vietnamese with a twist, ‘simple’ Chinese, Balinese chic and grandmother’s specials are among hotelier’s culinary recommendations
While I almost always try everything even in the most exotic places, I do enjoy some dishes that others may consider boring. I love an authentic bowl of spaghetti bolognese or boeuf bourguignon.
My long-standing favourite is Gaia Ristorante (Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, tel: 2167 8200). I really think it is the best and most authentic Italian restaurant in town with fantastic service. They always offer fresh seasonal highlights such as white truffles in summer or white asparagus in spring, combined with excellent wines.
In addition, I love Chom Chom (58-60 Peel Street, Central, tel: 2810 0850). There’s always a great vibe and amazing fresh Vietnamese street food with a twist. They don’t take reservations but waiting outside with a cold beer and a fun crowd is always inspiring.
Where I take visitors depends on where they are from and their level of adventure. For first time visitors to China, I love taking them to Chongqing Szechuan (27 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2810 8868). I call it “Chinese for beginners”. It is a cute little restaurant with a lovely atmosphere and good food that is not too crazy. Their “baby chicken” (it’s actually frog legs) are to die for and Brenda the host is simply fabulous.
Rhoda (Upton, 345 Des Voeux Road West, tel: 2177 5050) a fairly new restaurant in Sai Yin Pun, is a place that I fell in love with instantly. The food is honest, hearty and made with super fresh ingredients. The name of the place is derived from the chef Nate Green’s grandmother – so no wonder everything feels home-made. My favourite is the open-fire roasted chicken which sits there for hours and is the juiciest little beast I ever had. I also love their creative cocktails.
I was instantly drawn to Potato Head (100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2858 3036) when it first opened, knowing it so well from Bali. The atmosphere is just great and in fact reminds me very much of some of the cool hang-outs in my home town of Berlin. Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s signature metal frames hanging from the ceiling, comfy lounge chairs and different colours and patterns on the walls make it a very relaxing place. Combined with fresh Indonesian food, it is a fabulous experience when you just need to chill by yourself or hang out with a bunch of friends.
I love hanging out in nature away from the hustle and bustle so Cococabana (Shek O Beach Building, Shek O Beach, tel: 2812 2226) at this time of the year is great. A simple grilled dorade with a salad and bottle of rosé in the sun – done.
I am most excited working on The Murray at 22 Cotton Tree Drive, opening in October this year in Central. We’re transforming the old government office building into a top hotel. It will have five restaurants and bars, including a stunning rooftop bar and restaurant with breathtaking views. I can’t wait to enjoy this venue myself.