Favourite restaurants of long-time Hongkonger Peter Sargant, for whom it’s not what’s new to eat, but who you know that counts
I don’t really care what’s new, I eat where I know someone, says banker, human rights activist and Aids Concern board member. He tells us his go-to places for lunch, a casual bite, a drink and when entertaining out-of-town guests
I’m not a foodie, but I love to eat so I often struggle with menus. I can never decide what to choose as I really want everything. But generally, I return to places with people I know and friends I trust. I don’t really care what’s new, I go where I know someone.
Finds (1/F The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2522 9318) is one of those places. What chef Jaakko Sorsa does with salmon is incredible. I also knew one of its original founders, Colette Koo. We do a lot of reunion dinners there with friends.
Orange Tree (5/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, tel: 2838 9352) is another favourite. [Before moving to Lan Kwai Fong] it used to be up on the Mid-Levels escalator and every year, owner Pieter Onderwater helps us host a Christmas dinner, cooking a big turkey with his unique personal touch.
I am almost reluctant to tell you how much I love Kiyotaki Japanese Restaurant (10 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2877 1772). It has some of the best Japanese food I’ve tasted outside of Japan. Chef Yeung Chi-wang is amazing and he does everything himself. It’s like being welcomed into his home. His sake-marinated abalone is a must have. It’s surprisingly delicate and remarkably soft.
The Pirata Group has opened some amazing restaurants, and Pici Pasta Bar (16 Francis Yard, Wan Chai, tel: 2755 5523) turns out if some of the best pasta outside of Italy.
Another absolute fave is Dandy’s Organic Cafe (108 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2815 8221). I eat there two or three times a week. Chef Vivi does amazing salads and healthy food. I like to say when I’m sick, she prescribes my dinner. She’ll tell me, “Oh, you look tired, you should eat more of this or that.”
I have to mention Gaia Ristorante (Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, tel: 2167 8200). I love manager Pino Piano and his team. Some of them have been there since it first opened 16 years ago. It’s not just for fancy meals, as I am just as likely to stop in for a drink and pizza at the bar.
For visitors, I would suggest The Monogamous Chinese (59 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, tel: 2523 2872). They do amazingly authentic Sichuan and Peking dishes. The lunch is great value. Also, any of the InterContinental Hong Kong Hotel restaurants are fantastic, but I would recommend the Lobby Lounge (18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2313 2323) to catch the sunset. They also do great hot chocolate.
On Lantau, I like The Gallery (26 Tong Fuk Village, tel: 2980 2582), a little restaurant that does brilliant roasts, steaks and barbecue. I also enjoy Cococabana (Shek O Beach Building, Shek O, tel: 2812 2226) which is great for alfresco. I’ve known the owner, Jean-Paul Gauci, for a long time.
For a casual bite, I like Ce La Vi (25/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, tel: 3700 2300). Simon McKinless and his team really know how to pamper. After lunch, go [upstairs] to the Sky Deck for cocktails and the view.
For bars, top of my list is always The Globe (Garley Building, 45-53 Graham Street, Central, tel: 2543 1941) which has the best Bloody Mary. Also, any of bartender Antonio Lai’s places such as Ori-Gin (48 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2668 5583).