Hong Kong wellness entrepreneur shares her favourite restaurants – for Italian, Chinese, Japanese, health lunches, and desserts
Neelam Harjani’s work life revolves around yoga and health seminars. She enjoys authentic Cantonese food, pizzas, teppanyaki, fancy French and, of course, healthy, organic whole food and vegetarian delights
A former investment banker, Neelam Harjani is co-founder of Inspire Yoga HK, a platform for private yoga instructors. She is also co-organiser of Inspire Wellness Seminars, a series of workshops on health and well being.
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so meals are central to our social plans. As a mother of two and entrepreneur, I love settings that remove us from the daily grind of urban life.
One of my most loved restaurants is Amalfitana (28 Beach Rd, Repulse Bay, tel: 2388 7787). The backdrop of the beach and the wood-fired pizza transports me back to Rome where I had my honeymoon. My daughter loves the baby Oliva bambino pizza. They also have incredible fresh salads.
I tend to be a traditionalist, preferring authentic flavours.
For Cantonese, Fook Lam Moon (35-45 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 0663) does not disappoint. The crispy skin roast chicken, vegetable dumplings, braised tofu and aubergine in clay pot and steamed fish with spring onion and ginger are highlights. They showcase quality ingredients and refined cooking techniques. The nostalgic setting is classy without being pretentious.
For Japanese, we’ve been going to Nadaman (7/F, Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2820 8570) for years. It’s my top spot on the island for teppanyaki. Their signature cod cooked in a copper pot with sake and soy is divine. My son loves the Japanese fried rice.
For visiting friends I choose places with a hip vibe to showcase the city’s energy, like Brickhouse (20 D’Aguilar St, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2810 0560) that serves casual meals and great cocktails. I love the Mexican street corn, beetroot fries and the spicy chocolate cake.
For more sophistication, On Dining (29/F, 18 On Lan St, Central, tel: 2174 8100) is my go-to reservation. It’s great to have drinks on the lovely terrace before moving to the main dining room. The lamb chops are a must.
For special occasions, Café Gray Deluxe (Level 49, The Upper House, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 3968 1106) always delivers. It has a great brunch menu. The kingfish with saffron and tomato reduction keeps me coming back. The generous six-flavour sorbet platter has the whole family smiling.
Newly opened The Tai Pan (The Murray Hotel, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, tel: 3141 8888) feels very opulent. Stand-out dishes include the contemporary onion soup, and sea bass with black mushroom consommé.
For desserts, Lotus Garden (63 Sing Woo Rd, Happy Valley, tel: 2891 5569) hits the spot. Get the sago and coconut with watermelon in the summer and the moreish sago pudding with mashed lotus seed paste during the winter. I like Summer Ice (Full Harvest Building, 6-18 Hau Wo Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 5541 0655) for fluffy matcha waffles and purple yam latte.
There are plenty of healthy and delicious options around Hong Kong. For breakfast meetings, Grassroots Pantry (108 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, tel: 2873 3353) is a winner. The mouth-watering glow juice (beetroot, apple, carrot and turmeric) and house-made roasted granola is a perfect start to the day.
My top healthy lunches are Maison Libanaise (10 Shelley St, Central, tel: 2111 2284) and Kyoto Joe (2/F, 1 Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2804 6800). Both places offer great value sets with lots of vegetarian options.
For a clean dinner try Pure Veggie House (3/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Rd, Mid-Levels, tel: 2525 0552). The ingredients are organic with no MSG.