Favourite Hong Kong restaurants and bars of James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions
Japanese fusion, seafood, classic and foreigner-friendly Cantonese, French rotisserie chicken, and an American bar complete with hot dogs are the favourite spots for veteran theatre producer James Cundall
James Cundall is CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which has been presenting top musicals and shows in Hong Kong and Asia for 25 years. Their current blockbuster, Evita, is on at the HKAPA Lyric Theatre until June 10.
I travel a lot so I have to be careful with food. My trips are like marathons – my last trip was Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila – so I have to control myself. Occasionally, I’ll have a night off but I try to eat clean. And I don’t eat carbs now. But I still enjoy food and Hong Kong is full of great restaurants.
Zuma (Shop 501-503, 5/F The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 3657 6388) is a particular favourite. It’s got a great bar, with alfresco seating if it’s not too humid. It serves great Japanese-fusion food, wagyu beef and sushi. You always see a lot of pretty people there. Mostly, it’s fun and it’s consistently good.
For a more business-oriented meal, I might go to the place formerly known as Bentley. That’s where I used to lunch all the time when I was a banker. Now it’s called Dot Cod Seafood (B4, Landmark Prince’s, 10 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2810 6988). That’s where I first met Sir David Tang, who helped me a lot when I started. I considered him my non-voting executive chairman. I loved him. He was a client and at our first meal, he was so rude to me. Then during coffee, I began being rude to him. Then he said, now we speak the same language and we can be friends. This place is special to me not only for good food but for memories.
I am a member of the China Club (13/F and 14/F Old Bank of China Building, Bank Street, Central, tel: 2521 8888) and the whole experience with all the modern Chinese art and setting is superb. The dim sum is also as good as anywhere. The food is what I call foreigner-friendly Chinese food, great for overseas guests. I’ve taken Cameron Mackintosh, Roger Taylor from Queen, and others here and everyone has an incredible time. The staff is great and the balcony terrace is just amazing. Standing there at night you feel the pulse and energy of the city. It’s breathtaking.
One of the first places I went for dim sum is Tsui Hang Village (three locations including 2/F New World Tower, 18 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2524 2012). I think Hopewell Holdings’ Gordon Wu took me here. Also, Maxim’s Palace (2/F City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central, tel: 2521 1303) with the trolleys is always good.
For a quick meal, I might pick up something from La Rotisserie (various locations including 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 9791 9045). They do very good French takeaway with chicken and quiche.
One of the newest places I discovered is in the back of the MO Bar upstairs. Please Don’t Tell (Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 15 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2132 0110) is an American speakeasy. It’s the first of its kind outside New York. It’s a bar but they do great hot dogs. It’s an experience – a really small place, but exciting.