Restaurant guide proves more filling than a notepad

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 5:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 5:13am

A chief executive's desire to serve up a corporate gift that was better than a writing pad was the inspiration for a guide to the best Hong Kong's food scene has to offer.

Launched yesterday, the South China Morning Post's 100 Top Tables 2014 guide features 100 Hong Kong restaurants and 20 from Macau. The selected restaurants were chosen by a panel, which visited and reviewed restaurants throughout the year.

The idea came to SCMP Group CEO Robin Hu when he joined the company in 2012. When he asked his secretary if there were corporate gifts for customers and partners, she found some writing pads. When he asked for something a little grander, she found larger pads.

"I honestly, truly needed something bigger," Hu said yesterday at an awards ceremony for the featured restaurants. Following some thought about what would make a truly useful gift for business leaders, he added, "we launched this little guidebook to celebrate Hong Kong's culinary scene".

The first guide last year featured 90 Hong Kong and 10 Macau restaurants. Winnie Chung, the Post's editorial director for specialist publications, said the list was expanded this year to reflect the growth in the restaurant scene. All the hand-picked entries were awarded certificates.

The guide was unique in that all of the reviewers were long-term residents of Hong Kong, said Chung. "We're all well-versed with Hong Kong's dining scene and taste."

Among the featured spots is One-thirtyone, based in Three Fathoms Cove, Sai Kung, which offers contemporary French cuisine with a changing menu based on seasonal produce.

Peking Garden in Central is a popular family spot. Its signature beggar's chicken comes with a golden hammer, used to break its bread shell.

"There were overseas diners who came as a dating couple then returned several years later, bringing their children," said Pauline Yeung Wai-po, of Maxim's Group, which supervises the restaurant. "The award is encouraging for us."