Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of art consultant Lamia Mahjoub, migrant from Paris
Casual Italian and house sake in Kennedy Town, old-school breakfast in SoHo, tasteful cocktails in Central and a mind-blowing culinary experience in Kowloon make the Art-Lease.com manager’s favourites list
I’ve been in Hong Kong for more than six years. The culinary scene has grown so much in that time – you can always please your palate with diversity. For breakfast, I’m quite old school and a loyal lover of the Brunch Club (70 Peel Street, SoHo, tel: 2526 8861) It’s been open for ages and to me represents more than just a dining place – it’s been a refuge, a starting place before weekend activities, a first breakfast place with a boyfriend and a place to meet friends to share gossip. I love the small outdoor area.
I love Italian food but it’s not always easy to find a casual Italian restaurant in Hong Kong – until I discovered Mangiare (44-45 Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2388 3861 [no reservations, except for groups of eight or more, firstname.lastname@example.org). Friends and I always bring our own wine and chef Luca can help you select one of the yummy dishes – you can’t beat the octopus salad. The ambience is so relaxed and cosy – it almost feels like I’m in an Italian home.
We all have those days where you say to yourself: “I need a cocktail now!” The go-to place to quench this craving is 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Shop 202, 2/F Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2537 8859) where the bartender Devender [Kumar] creates amazing, delicate and tasteful cocktails. He is creative and inspired, and I love his cocktail “the Optimist” made with Bacardi Carta Blanca, fresh basil and lime juice.
Tosca (102/F, The Ritz-Carlton, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2263 2270) is one of the most exquisite restaurants I have been to. The interior is refined, the service excellent and the view of Hong Kong Harbour stunning. Chef Pino Lavarra is one of my favourite chefs – his dishes are colourful, delicate and tasty. It’s just a mind-blowing culinary experience. My favourite dish on the menu is the chitarra spaghetti – house-made pasta with basil chlorophyll, swordfish carpaccio, calamari ragout and black olive oil. It’s to die for.
I recently tried Shiba (11 Smithfield, Kennedy Town, tel: 3568 2425). It’s small and intimate and has an extensive menu – both for the food and sake. The staff is friendly and their beef and cheese roll is so yummy. Everybody must experience the house sake.