Hong Kong dining recommendations

Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Peter Wood, author and photographer

Writer who lives in Kennedy Town picks his favourite haunts in the up-and-coming area and tells us where he takes clients he wants to impress, where to spoil yourself and spend a leisurely Sunday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 4:06pm

I’m a bit of a homebody these days. Home being Kennedy Town. It’s not surprising, really, when you look around at what has happened in the area of late. There are some really good places to eat and chill. And I just love the neighbourhood – full of families and a smattering of expats.

If I have a few hours to while away on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I like to go to Shoreditch (18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2242 3777). The space is airy and designed like a gastropub, although I hate that term. They have an excellent pork belly with crispy skin, but one of my favourites is their cullen skink. This is a thick Scottish soup using smoked haddock and it is surprisingly good. I guess my Scottish roots are beginning to show.

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Staying in Kennedy Town, I recommend The Butcher & Baker (On Fat Building, 55 Cadogan Street, tel: 2591 0328).It is a bit of London’s Notting Hill in Kennedy Town. I just love the atmosphere and the decor – they have a great butcher on one side run by a couple of knowledgeable expat butchers who smoke their own bacon, make their own sausages and are surprisingly affordable. The bakery is OK and perhaps could offer a few more breads, but they have a cut flower shop at the entrance which completes the whole feel.

I was surprised that they had a few different things on their menu – my favourite being the crushed avocado bruschetta. One small complaint is the portions. I’m not keen on American supersizes and find the mains can be overwhelming. Butcher & Baker is BYO which helps the wallet. They also have an ice cream bar which is popular with the kids.

Why every Western chef wants a Kennedy Town restaurant

Also in Kennedy Town is Picnic on Forbes (38 Forbes Street, tel: 2855 0810). The decor is cool, the staff friendly, and the premise is to offer you a picnic basket of food, which is quite playful. The food however, is anything but playful – I loved every dish and what I ate was really quite sophisticated.

If I need to impress a client for lunch I highly recommend The Pawn (62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 3444). Since being taken over by one of my favourite British chefs, Tom Aikens, the business lunch menu is a killer. Aikens offers modern British food. Service can be a trifle slow but the experience is all good and surprisingly affordable.

My 20 years in Kennedy Town, a Hong Kong dump turned destination

On a high note, I love Cafe Gray Deluxe (Level 49, The Upper House, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 3968 1106). It’s not cheap but occasionally we all need to splash out. The killer views, sensational grub, superb wine list and fun staff are top notch.

Hong Kong photographer Peter Wood on his wild Rhodesian days

Now for something old: whenever I want to just read the paper, have a good laugh and watch life go by, I love Sunday afternoons at good old Staunton’s Wine Bar & Cafe (10 Staunton Street, SoHo, tel: 2973 6611). Along the escalator in SoHo, this is the best location for checking out the gorgeous, glamorous and weird people heading home. Popular with the gay guys on Sundays, I guess I can say it is my kind of watering hole. Just bring back the Stella Artois, please.