Mayta Every dish at Mayta is bam, in your face, always screaming for your tastebuds’ attention. Peruvian cuisine is a mish-mash of cultural influences, and Mayta takes this to heart by giving each dish a creative twist: quinoa salads mixed with miso dressing or crispy pork steamed buns dipped in a sambal-style chili sauce can all be called Peruvian, apparently. Our group swooned over the crispy suckling pig with Andean potato stew—the pork was equal parts tender and sweet, with the fatty bits melting in our mouths like liquid gold. The arroz con pato (duck leg with rice) refused to be outdone, served on a delightfully thick risotto-like base and with a bit of a kick from every corner of the flavor spectrum. 3/F, Grand Progress Building, 15 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2790-0928. Quemo We laughed for our whole meal at Quemo, entertained by the Spanish staff who were alternately efficient, charming, buffoonish—and always hilarious. The superb “Oyster Bocata” was an lightly battered oyster lined with barbecued foie gras in a sweet bun. Egg “timbal” was a posh, delicious take on a stock Spanish eggs-and-potatoes breakfast, enlivened with Serrano ham and sweet pepper. But most of our love—in fact, all of it—goes to the “Presa,” a barbecued iberico pork loin that was about as good as we’ve ever had: perfectly rare, tender, with a gorgeous char—and a dark, deep, sweet reduction alongside. But at just over $600, it’s a long ways from the cheapest steak you can buy. 5/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai, 2836-0699. Motorino Motorino has achieved popular and critical acclaim for some of the Big Apple’s most highly prized pizzas. Their first expansion into Asia is this centrally located eatery right by the SoHo escalator. We split both the margherita pizza—buffalo mozzarella, pecorino and basil over a tasty tomato base—and cremini mushroom, which comes with generous chunks of fungi alongside sausage, garlic, olives and a sprinkling of fior di latte mozzarella. Both pies came with fresh ingredients providing a sweet kick on top of a soft crust that was lightly charred over the outer edge and saturated in olive oil. Perfect. 14 Shelley St., Central, 2801-6881. Stone Nullah Tavern Located in a historic part of Wan Chai (next to the Blue House), the dimly lit country farm-inspired tavern décor is the perfect place to hang out and look trendy. Before the food we have to compliment the service—the friendly, attentive and super knowledgeable staff created such a comfortable atmosphere. The hearty mac and cheese is made with sharp cheddar and topped with egg yolk. The Texas-style “chicken fried” steak is tenderized beef cooked in the same manner as Southern fried chicken. Both are worth multiple visits. The foie burger topped with caramelized onions came recommended, and we enjoyed every bite of the heart attack-inducing fattiness. G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, 3182-0128. Il Milione With an orange-hued room created by the dizzyingly fascinating oval-shaped light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, this Umbrian resto is both an intimate hangout and a sophisticated venue. Starters first: a mild and milky burrata with turnip salad, pan-fried roots and wild mint tasted as interesting as it sounds. Both the chewy grilled cuttlefish and the caramelized foie gras were delicioso, with the latter practically melting on contact. Meanwhile, the Sicilian red prawn spaghetti had every single strand soaked thoroughly with savory, fishy essence.The hearty lamb chops in pistachio were cooked just right. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean seared sea bass was a meaty and smartly seasoned piece, complete with light and crispy skin. G/F, G16-21, Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Rd., Admiralty, 2481-1120. MIC Kitchen With demon chef Alvin Leung’s protégé Lo Ka-ki at the helm, we’re seeing innovation here like we haven’t seen in years. This is the true marriage of east and west, without the tack factor. We started with a pure, clean beef tendon broth that warmed the heart; a refreshingly creative hamachi ceviche with iced wasabi and a bit of tangy yuzu foam; and a delicious Iberico dish paired with porcini-braised vermicelli. We were huge fans of the handmade pasta with red prawn and prawn-chili oil: the prawns were succulent and the noodles rich, with marine-savory notes. The tender Iberico with hawthorn jelly was another not-quite-western dish that worked surprisingly well: same went for the fatty, sweet cod with black bean and honey glaze. We also had sides of truffle turnip cake (delish) and salted fish mash (stinkily pleasant, like an aged cheese). Our dessert of palm sugar ice cream with coconut-milk-jelly-things that exploded in the mouth was an easy, creamy-sweet win. G/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming St., Kwun Tong, 3758-2239. The Boss Run by a few of the guys who used to head up Michelin-starred Sun Tung Lok, The Boss is not your average Chinese diner. A conch soup was delicate and pure, whetting our appetites for the sweet and sour pork. The pork was coated in a thin, crispy batter, striking that perfect balance between sweet and tangy. Then it was onto fresh morning glory served in a homemade fish soup. The broth was opaque and looked like runny fu yu (fermented tofu) sauce, although it was magnitudes milder in flavor. Dim sum came last, on a single long rectangular plate. The first was a prawn-based siu mai, filled to the brim with tender, white meat. Then there was a scallop and prawn-stuffed clear-skinned dumpling, also generously filled with crunchy veggie bits and tender meat and delightfully “fishy” in flavor. A promise to the boss: we’ll return. LG/F, Peter Building, 58-62 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2155-0552. Sijie Sichuan Restaurant OK, so we’re a bit disappointed that Sijie’s new location feels more like a proper restaurant now than a no-frills private kitchen. But the quality of the dishes and the hospitality of the waitstaff haven’t changed since their good ol’ days on Lockhart Road, and that, at the end of the day, is what matters. We dove right into a refreshing and surprisingly mild dry-mix chili noodle with spring onions on top, which consisted of smooth, thin and starchy strands topped with a sandy-textured chili paste. But the jawdropper, inevitably, was the giant bowl of mouthnumbing spicy broth filled with fish fillets and glass noodles and with gazillions of de-seeded chilies floating on top. The tender fish and fat, sloppy noodles kept beckoning, and we kept going. 10/F, Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa St., Causeway Bay, 2802-2250.